Squid Game’s success was nothing short of a worldwide sensation. It was a show which pebble-dashed popular culture overnight, giving everyone a reason to cry during marbles and making red jumpsuits a universal fashion reference point.
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Though the show grabbed the world’s attention with its shocking bursts of violence, it was anchored by a group of compelling characters who captured the humanity at play in the show’s life-or-death games. With such a heady mix, can a second season repeat the same success?
Has Squid Game season two been confirmed?
Netflix has sealed the deal
While season two’s existence was already known thanks to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos in a fourth-quarter earnings call back in January, the streaming service officially confirmed a second season in June 2022.
A post titled ‘A Whole New Round Is Coming’ from the show’s director, writer and executive producer, Hwang Dong-hyuk, reads: “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.
“As the writer, director and producer of Squid Game, a huge shoutout to fans around the world. Thank you for watching and loving our show.”
Teasing what’s in store for season two, he added: “And now, Gi-hun returns. The Front Man returns. Season two 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.”
Do we know the release date for season two?
Not specifically – but there’s a vague window
While there hasn’t been official confirmation of a release date, Dong-hyuk provided an update on the second season’s progress during an interview with Vanity Fair in May.
The report reads: “Hwang is in the midst of final discussions with Netflix for a second season of Squid Game and anticipates that it could be out by the end of 2023 or 2024.”
At the time of the interview, Dong-hyuk said he had “about three pages’ worth of ideas that he plans to turn into a script”. In other words, it’s in the very early stages.
Who is confirmed to return from the cast?
Faces old and animatronic
As noted in Dong-hyuk’s renewal post, there’s some confirmed cast members from the obvious to the intriguing.
As expected, main protagonist Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) will return. The Front Man (Lee Byung-hun), the Squid Game overseer who was later revealed to be detective Hwang Jun-ho’s (Wi Ha-joon) brother, Hwang In-ho, who won the games in 2015, will also be back.
As referred to by Dong-hyuk as someone who “might” be back, “the man in the suit with Ddakji” is the recruiter who introduced Gi-hun into the game, played by Gong Yoo. Considering he’s mentioned, it’s reasonable to assume this “might” is a definite.
In the same post, a new, bizarre inclusion was confirmed in the ‘boyfriend’ of Young-hee, the giant animatronic doll used in the first game Red Light, Green Light. We know his name is Cheol-su, but it’s unclear if he’ll be equally as disturbing.
Has there been talk of other returning cast members?
Don’t rule out the dead
During a red carpet appearance at this year’s PGA Awards in March, Dong-hyuk teased Jung Ho-yeon, who played North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok in the first season, could play a different role in the follow-up.
Explaining that the second season would largely feature a new cast due to the volume of deaths in the first, Dong-hyuk said: “I’ll try something to bring them back [for] season two.” After gesturing to Ho-yeon, he added: “Let’s say maybe she has a twin sister, you’ll see.”
Playing to the possibility, Ho-yeon said: “I could change my hair colour. Let’s do a little, like, plastic surgery.”
Despite being shot by the Front Man and falling off a cliff, detective Hwang Jun-ho hasn’t been ruled out entirely either, according to actor Wi Ha-joon.
Speaking to Newsweek, Ha-joon said: “I believe the detective was not fatally wounded.” He added, however, that he’s “still not really sure” whether Jun-ho was alive.
Even for other deceased characters, like Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo) and Ali Abdul (Anupam Tripathi), it’s entirely possible the show could resort to flashback sequences to bring back some familiar faces.
Has anyone talked about the plot of season two?
Some have been teasing it
During an interview with Vanity Fair, creator Dong-hyuk provided an outline of the question he’s looking to address in the second season.
“Humanity is going to be put to a test through those games once again,” he said. “I want to ask the question, ‘Is true solidarity between humans possible?”
Elsewhere, Dong-hyuk has indicated the second season could delve into the history of the Front Man, exploring his time as a police officer.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Dong-hyuk said: “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.”
He elaborated further during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, explaining how he’d like to explore the relationship between the two brothers.
“There are some other stories in the series that have not been addressed,” Dong-hyuk said. “For example, the story of the police officer and the story of his brother, the Front Man. So if I end up creating season two, I’d like to explore that storyline – what is going on between those two brothers? And then I could also go into the story of that recruiter in the suit who plays the game of Ddakji with Gi-hun and gives him the card in the first episode.
“And, of course, we could go with Gi-hun’s story as he turns back, and explores more about how he’s going to navigate through his reckoning with the people who are designing the games.”
In regards to Gi-hun, who dyed his hair red in the final episode, actor Lee Jung-jae has said he hopes to see a more “humorous side” to the character in season two.
Speaking to Esquire, Jung-jae said: “Because Gi-hun became more serious because he has to rescue these people, I’m thinking that he would become a more determined character. But if he’s just too determined, that could be a little boring. So I’m guessing the fun parts of Gi-hun will also come out in the next season.”