HBO’s upcoming Parasite television series is an original story set in the same world as the film. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, who co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won, Parasite follows a poor family who deceives their way into becoming employed by a wealthy family. Since premiering at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or, the black comedy has racked up a number of accolades. Most notably, at the 92nd Academy Awards, Parasite became the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Given its success and box office gross of $258 million against a $15 million budget, some form of a continuation for the movie was not altogether surprising. That continuation would come in the form of a television series spinoff, as HBO announced in January 2020 that the project was in early development. Adam McKay, who directed Vice and The Big Short, would serve as executive producer alongside Bong. Still, in the midst of conflicting reports about the spinoff’s premise, it was not entirely clear if the HBO series would directly connect to the Oscar-winning film. Now, thanks to new comments from McKay, that aspect has been clarified.
During an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, McKay spoke about his experience working on the Parasite spinoff. The executive producer spoke excitedly about what has been accomplished so far, noting that the writers’ room has been staffed and also revealing that he finished outlining the series with Bong. Though he stopped short of revealing story specifics, McKay did clarify how this version of Parasite would connect to the movie. He said, “It’s an original series. It’s in the same universe as the feature, but it’s an original story that lives in that same world.”
Based on what McKay says, it’s possible that the characters in the HBO spinoff will find themselves reacting to the events of the movie. It could be the case that the show’s wealthy family will attempt to avoid being deceived or that another poor family might be inspired to pull off a similar scheme. At this early stage, with so little revealed about the plot of Parasite, it’s difficult to know the benefit of the show being connected to the film. But, at the very least, it’s now confirmed that the spinoff will have a direct link to its origins rather than simply using the brand name of Parasite to tell an entirely separate tale of the class struggle.
That was among the fears of Parasite fans when the spinoff was first unveiled. Another fear is that, regardless of any link to Bong’s film, the series is simply an attempt to milk the history-making success that was accomplished. While those concerns are certainly valid, there is plenty that the show could explore. In the era of COVID-19, at a time when the world’s richest individuals have only added to their wealth, while many everyday individuals find their struggles mounting, class divides are more relevant than ever.