Executive producers John Hay and Stephen Lambert tell EW that stunt doubles replaced eliminated contestants when they fell for 'the safety of the players.'
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Squid Game: The Challenge episodes 1-8.
No, Squid Game: The Challenge players did not actually fall through glass from an extended height during the Glass Bridge challenge — despite what you see in episodes 7 and 8.
While most of the players died on the scripted Squid Game drama, producers took every measure to make sure no actual deaths occurred on Netflix's reality show spinoff. So even though it looked like eliminated players fell about 20 feet in total darkness after choosing to jump on the wrong glass square, producers reveal to EW that stunt doubles were brought in to film every fall instead.
"The fall itself was done by a professional stunt person for the safety of the players," executive producer John Hay tells EW. "Obviously, that's paramount for us. There was a large airbag underneath, but that also needs to be done by professionals."
But Hay clarifies that while the fall is dramatized using stunt doubles, everything else you see in Glass Bridge is real. "The order of the pattern of the [glass squares], which is a pass and which is a fail, is all predetermined before they've stepped on the bridge," Hay says. "And their reactions and their peers' reactions to stepping on a fail door and being eliminated are all real. And then, at the last minute, we swapped them out, and a stunt person did the fall."
As for how far the stunt person fell from the bridge? "It was a safe distance," executive producer Stephen Lambert tells EW. "The way it's filmed makes it look like it's further than it actually was."
The actual height of the Glass Bridge was not exaggerated, however. "The bridge itself was at height," Hay says. "That was important to us that the sensation of being high on a bridge was there, but obviously, the fall had to be a safe distance. There's a large airbag underneath, that was all tested and checked. It was incredibly important to us that the gameplay was totally authentic. But we have, as Stephen says, made it look like they fall a little bit further than they do."
Having to pause the game to swap in a stunt person to film each fall "didn't in any way break the spell of the game," Hay adds. "It was a very quick swap and fall, and they reacted all the way through that unbroken run. At that stage, they're quite close to the money, so their elimination really landed with an impact for all of them."
What shocked producers while filming Glass Bridge was the way in which the players decided to work together and have every person only make one jump, rather than putting all the risk on the players at the front of the line.
"They decided as a group to come up with this system where they would only each have to take a 50/50 chance — with one exception, of course," Lambert says, referring to Player 278/Ashley, who didn't step up during her turn, causing Player 301/Trey to jump multiple times and resulting in his elimination. "That was very clever of them. They did that very quickly, and it wasn't something we were necessarily expecting, and it actually made it much fairer."
Hay agrees, adding, "One of the most surprising and fascinating aspects of the way that the game played out was that this thing that's set up to be the war of all against all, in its latter stages actually produces cooperation and self-sacrifice and teamwork. It's a very interesting insight into human psychology."
The season finale of Squid Game: The Challenge premieres Wednesday, Dec. 6, on Netflix.
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