The most thrilling show of the year so far, the Netflix k-drama Squid Game has also become the streamer's most surprising viral hit. The series follows adult contestants in a Battle Royale-type Game, with several rounds based off traditional Korean and global children's games (like Tug of War and Red Light, Green Light). Though the death game premise has been done before (Battle Royale or The Hunger Games), the characters in Squid Game aren't forced to play for survival. They've volunteered, gambling their lives on the chance to win $38.5 million dollars.
Squid Game quickly rose to no. 1 on the Netflix Top 10 after premiering September 17, where it has remained as it gets more and more buzz on social media. Though the show is not an easy binge, due to the graphic violence and heavy moral dilemmas, its excellent characters and terrifying games has viewers considering whether they would make it through the deadly competition, as well as just how much money a life is worth. In between telling everyone they know about the show, fans are also asking for a second season. Here's what we know so far about a possible continuation of the hit thriller.
Squid Game Season 2 has officially gotten a green light.
After months of speculation, Netflix has finally announced the renewal of its most-viewed original show, nine months after the release of its mega-hit first season. In addition to a brief teaser featuring the iconic Red Light, Green Light doll Young-hee, the streaming giant released a statement, signed by creator Hwang Dong-hyunk and directed to the show's fans.
"It took 12 years to bring the first season of Squid Game to life last year. But it took 12 days for Squid Game to become the most popular Netflix series ever," reads the letter. "As the writer, director and producer of Squid Game, a huge shout out to fans around the world. Thank you for watching and loving our show."
The statement goes on to confirm that Season 1's winner Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) and Game master Front Man (Lee Byung-hun) will return. It also teases another cameo by Gong Yoo, who played the recruiter in season 1, and hints that the next game will involve a new robot mascot.
"And now, Gi-hun returns. The Front Man returns. Season 2 is coming. The man in the suit with ddakji might be back. You'll also be introduced to Young-hee's boyfriend, Cheol-su. Join us once more for a whole new round."
The Season 1 finale sets up a possible return.
The nine-episode series follows the Game from beginning to end, with the main hero, divorced dad Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), winning the game after his childhood friend turned enemy, Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo) sacrifices himself. In his shock and grief, Gi-hun refuses to spend the prize money for over a year. Eventually he learns that the old man he befriended and betrayed over the course of the Game, Oh Il-nam (Oh Young-soo), was secretly the mastermind behind it all.
After Oh Il-nam dies, Gi-hun discovers that the Game is still going on. While headed to the airport to visit his daughter, he runs into the Salesman (Gong Yoo) recruiting a new player. Instead of getting on the flight, Gi-hun walks away, vowing to stop the Game once and for all.
The vengeful ending leaves the story open for another installment, following Gi-hun as he goes against the wealthy masterminds behind the Game. The show was originally listed as a seasonal series on the platform, not a limited one, showing a Season 2 was possible. Plus, Netflix has a history of multi-season K-dramas. The historical zombie saga Kingdom and the high school romance Love Alarm both got two seasons.
Season 2 would likely have an entirely new cast.
Since Squid Game follows a death match, most of the cast doesn't make it through the first season. Except for Gi-hun, all of season 1's players have died, including fan favorite Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon) and the secret mastermind Oh Il-nam. Whatever road the new season might follow, be it a new Game or an operation to take the whole enterprise down, Season 2 will need a new cast of characters.
Amid the many theories for season 2, fans are speculating that another character besides Gi-hun may return. Police detective Hwang Jun-ho (Wi Ha-joon) spent the first season investigating the game from the inside while searching for his missing brother. It turned out that his brother was the Game's masked Front Man (Lee Byung-hun) the whole time, and last we saw of Jun-ho, he was falling off a cliff into the ocean after being shot by the Front Man.
Though Jun-Ho was left for dead, we never actually see his dead body be recovered from the water. The cop may have made it out alive, with an even stronger conviction to take down the deadly Game once and for all. If so, he could team up with Gi-hun in a new season. It might be a long shot, but this is a K-drama. Resurrections are generally a thing.
Squid Game's popularity has Hwang thinking about Season 2.
"Writing, producing, and directing a series alone was really such a big task. When I think about doing the same for Season 2, I’m personally kind of worried. There’s nothing confirmed at the moment, but so many people are enthusiastic that I’m really contemplating it."
Netflix’s global TV head, Bela Bajaria, told Vulture that the timing for a new season is up to Hwang, hinting that the streaming giant is fully onboard. "He has a film and other things he’s working on. We’re trying to figure out the right structure for him," she said.
Per Variety, the director is currently developing a film called "KO Club," short for "Killing Old Men Club," which he describes as "a kind of inter-generational war premise." Either way, we're sure that the second installment would be worth the wait.
Season 2 could reveal more details about the Frontman, detective Jun-ho, and the Recruiter.
Hwang has given new insights into the plot of a possible second season. He told CNN that he would like to show the backstories for several of the show's less-explored characters, including the Front Man who runs the Game and the recruiter, played by Train to Busan actor Gong Yoo.
"There are some loose ends I’d like to explore if I were to make a second season. The Frontman’s unexplained past, detective Jun-ho’s story. Those are things I didn’t explain in Season 1. If I were to do Season 2, I’d like to explain those elements. And the man with the Ttakji in his bags…the man who was played by Gong Yoo," he said.
The creator also shared more details about the Front Man in an interview with the Sunday Times. He revealed that, in addition to being Jun-ho's older brother, the mysterious Game master is also an ex-cop. He also said that the new season could touch on policing in Korea.
"I think the issue with police officers is not just an issue in Korea. I see it on the global news that the police force can be very late on acting on things—there are more victims or a situation gets worse because of them not acting fast enough. This was an issue that I wanted to raise. Maybe in season two I can talk about this more."
Wi Ha-jun, who plays Jun-ho, told Vulture that he would also like to explore the relationship between Jun-ho and his brother in season 2.
"I’m also dying to find out. I haven’t heard anything, so I really want to know what happened. If there is to be a season two, and if Jun-ho is to return, then I personally hope we can look into his relationship with his brother, as well as what made his brother make these choices and led him to being there. That’s my personal wish," he said.
Hwang has started planning Season 2.
While attending a screening and Q&A in Los Angeles with the shows' stars in November 2021, Hwang told The Associated Press that he has begun planning the second season, pointing out the demand he's felt for new episodes.
"I almost feel like you leave us no choice. There's been so much pressure, so much demand and so much love for a second season," he said.
"It's in my head right now. I'm in the planning process currently. But I do think it's too early to say when and how that's going to happen. So I will promise you this, Gi-hun will be back and he'll do something for the world," he added.
Gi-hun actor Lee Jung-jae also spoke on the high expectations for a new season, telling Entertainment Tonight that he's putting his trust in Hwang.
"Season 2, it's all cooking in his brain right here," Lee said, referring to Hwang. "So there's high expectations for the second season. Because of such huge success for Season 1, I feel like a lot of expectations have been built up, so it's going to be tough to meet them. But again, it's all in his head right here."
Hwang is in talks with Netflix about a possible Season 3.
The biggest K-drama ever may even continue past season 2. In a December interview with Korean broadcaster KBS, per Korea Times, Hwang revealed that he has discussed a possible third season of Squid Game with Netflix, which would make the thriller one of the longest running Korean dramas ever.
"I'm in talks with Netflix over season 2 as well as season 3, Hwang said. "We will come to a conclusion any time soon."
The streaming giant also confirmed in a statement to TVLine, "It's true that we are discussing a wide variety of possibilities for Squid Game, including the production of a Season 3, but nothing has yet been set in stone."
For anyone wondering just how far Netflix's plans for the series go, co-CEO and chief executive officer Ted Sarandos gave a hint during the streamer's fourth quarter 2021 earnings interview, per Variety. When asked whether he could confirm the second season, the exec cited the show's potential to expand into an entertainment franchise, comparing its popularity to Bridgerton and Stranger Things.
"Absolutely," Sarandos answered. "The Squid Game universe has just begun."
Hwang thinks Season 2 will come out around late 2023.
In an interview for Vanity Fair's June 2022 issue, Hwang revealed that he's in final talks with Netflix about the second season, and that he expects the new episodes to come out in late 2023 or early 2024. He also told the outlet that he has three pages' worth of ideas for the script, and that the only character guaranteed to come back so far is lead Gi-hun.
"I want to ask the question, 'Is true solidarity between humans possible?'" the creator said of the second season's theme. He also compared the dilemmas of the first season to humanity as a whole, saying that the players weren't capable of cooperating as a group. "If they were capable of talking with one another, of cooperating with one another, I do agree that there could have been a possibility that we could have seen more winners."
"Humanity is going to be put to a test through those games once again," he added.