If you've been online in the past few months, odds are you've seen a TV fan mention Netflix's Squid Game. The hit k-drama has swept the globe since its premiere September 17, 2021, reaching no. 1 on 90 countries in 10 days and becoming the streamer's biggest ever non-English show. The series has become the Netflix's biggest-ever show, period, surpassing the old record holder Bridgerton less than a month after its release, and is considered worth $900 million in value to Netflix. It's also made history in terms of acting accolades, with cast members Lee Jung-jae and HoYeon Jung becoming the first winners for a non-English series at the 2022 SAG Awards.
The engrossing series depicts a deadly, Battle Royale-style Game, where 456 people, all facing massive debts, gamble their lives on a $38 million dollar payout. While the wild premise has drawn millions of viewers in, the expertly written characters and what-would-you-do dilemmas have fans trading theories and checking out similar shows.
Has Squid Game been renewed for a second season?
Season 2 is a go! Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk confirmed that he is planning a second season of the smash hit while attending a screening and Q&A in Los Angeles last night, per Variety.
"There’s been so much pressure, so much demand and so much love for a second season. So I almost feel like you leave us no choice! But I will say there will indeed be a second season. It’s in my head right now. I’m in the planning process currently," he said.
Besides Hwang's confirmation, Netflix has yet to announce an official renewal. That said, Squid Game wouldn't be the first Korean show to get a renewal from the streaming giant. Both historical zombie drama Kingdom and high school romance Love Alarm got second seasons, and Kingdom even got a spinoff film this year.
If the announcement does come soon, there would be quite a wait for the Season 2 premiere. Squid Game was first announced in 2019, with production taking two years to complete. So even with the most optimistic timeline, Season 2 probably wouldn't arrive until early 2023.
What could Squid Game season two be about?
Squid Game season 1 spanned a full Game, with Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) emerging with the 456 billion won prize. One year later, Gi-hun discovers that the Game is about to begin again when he runs into the Salesman (Gong Yoo) recruiting another player. Right before he's set to head off to America, Gi-hun decides to stay in Korea, with hopes of shutting down the Game once and for all.
The end scene has fans hoping that Gi-hun's story will continue, with the victor teaming up with others to shut down the secret, multinational death Game. Everything besides Gi-hun's very likely return is up in the air. He could try to get the police on his side, after they turned him away in Episode 2, or he could find more past players, who may or may not have worked through their trauma enough to take on the wealthy VIPs and game masters.
There's also no guarantee that a continuation would follow the next Game in Korea. Season 1 revealed that there are deadly Games happening all over the globe, with rich men from multiple countries gambling on the outcomes. While the first Game was presumably founded in Korea, since Oh Il-nam (Oh Young-soo) was involved, another country's Game may become the subject of a future season.
Perhaps the biggest hint yet that Netflix is pushing for a second season of the show is that Netflix did not submit the show for a Limited Series Emmy—as it did with Maid—and instead submitted it as a Drama Series, suggesting that it sees Squid Game as a potential ongoing series.
What have the cast and crew said about Squid Game season two?
Writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk opened up about in a Variety interview, where he revealed that writing the first season all by himself took a lot out of him. Hwang has mostly made films in his decades-long career, with Squid Game being his first drama.
"In my earlier days, I’d drink half a bottle of soju (Korean liquor) to get the creative juices flowing. I can’t do that any more," he said. "Writing (‘Squid Game’) was harder than normal for me as it was a series, not a film. It took me six months to write and rewrite the first two episodes. Then I consulted verbally with friends, and picked up clues for improvements through my own pitching and from their responses."
Hwang continued that he isn't planning to jump straight in to a second season. Instead, he told the outlet that he may return to movies before working on Season 2. Variety reports that he's currently writing a film called "KO Club," which has an inter-generational war premise.
"I don’t have well developed plans for 'Squid Game 2.' It is quite tiring just thinking about it. But if I were to do it, I would certainly not do it alone. I’d consider using a writers’ room and would want multiple experienced directors," he said.
Luckily, with the show's history-making popularity, Hwang has dropped a new hint for where the show's story could go. In an interview with The Times, he suggested that a new season could follow one of the only other characters to make it out of the Game alive, the Front Man (Lee Byung-hyn).
"While I was writing season one, I thought about the stories that could be in season two if I get to do one—one would be the story of the Frontman," he said, name-dropping the former cop and head of the Game.
He added, "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."
Hwang also told The Hollywood Reporter that, though there's a lot of fan demand for Season 2, that also means he has a lot of inspiration to draw on.
"The pressure on me is huge now, with such a big audience waiting for a season two. Because of all that pressure, I haven’t decided yet whether or not I should do another season," he said. "I think that’s what I’m wrestling with right now — that I shouldn’t just view it as a huge amount of pressure, but think of all of this love and support I’m receiving as a big box of inspiration that I can leverage for season two," he continued.
In late October, speaking to The Guardian, Hwang confirmed that he and Netflix were in talks about a second season. “Of course there is talk. That’s inevitable because it’s been such a success. I am considering it. I have a very high-level picture in my mind, but I’m not going to work on it straight away. There’s a film I really want to make. I’m thinking about which to do first. I’m going to talk to Netflix," he said.
Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, seems to be up for a second season. He told the New York Times that there are many possibilities for where his character could do next. "That’s a very difficult question because the story could go in any direction, and some of Gi-hun’s emotions are very complicated. He’s a very intriguing character. I guess he could go and try and punish the creators of the game. Or he could try to stop new contestants from playing it. Or he could try to join the game again. I have no idea at this point."
When asked about a popular fan theory, that Gi-hun could be offered the chance to replace the Front Man and run the game, Lee said, "Well, for one, I’m never going to let anyone die! If the story does go in that direction, Gi-hun would end up in a position like Oh Il-nam, the old guy [played by Oh Yeong-su]. But you know, in “The Deer Hunter,” the character that Christopher Walken plays never makes it out of the game, right? That could be what happens."
The cast also has their own ideas of how fallen players can return for season 2. During a Variety interview at the SAG Awards, Lee shared that the season 1 cast all got together to brainstorm near the end of filming.
"After we filmed Squid Game Season 1, we all got together brainstorming ideas for how to bring everybody back alive,” Lee said. “My idea is the masked men carry all of them out as quickly as possible and do a surgery on them to keep them alive."
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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