Every so often, a Netflix show jumps out of seemingly nowhere and becomes the one thing everyone can’t stop talking about. In the fall of 2021, that inescapable surprise hit was Squid Game. It isn’t hard to see why the Korean drama series blew up once you start watching it. Filled with colorful and unique aesthetic choices, gasp-inducing twists, and a gruesome central concept that you can’t possibly look away from, Squid Game was a nonstop thrill ride from start to finish. And the ride isn’t over yet, because Netflix picked up Squid Game for a second season on June 12. While you continue to ponder that wild ending, here are all the details and theories about Squid Game Season 2 to get you hype for more.
Shortly after its Sept. 17 release, Squid Game became the first Korean series to ever top Netflix’s charts and it established itself as a constant trending topic on Twitter. The buzzy survival series has drawn a lot of comparisons to the buzzy Hunger Games movies and the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, but everything from its tone, visuals, and plot twists feel completely fresh. In particular, the finale episode took a bunch of turns many viewers never saw coming, including a big hint that a second season would be on the way. Before discussing what Season 2 could look like, let’s break down that ending. Spoiler alert: Don’t read on if you have not finished all of Squid Game Season 1.
Squid Game Season 1 Ending Explained
The Squid Game finale brought the gruesome contest to an end, but winning wasn’t all that it seemed. As viewer probably guessed from the very beginning, the final game in the contest was Squid Game, a Korean childhood game in which one player tries to reach a small space at the top of a squid-like chalk outline while the other player tries to push them out of bounds. At this point, only Gi-hun and Sang-woo are left in the competition, and both have been pushed to their limits. However, when Gi-hun finally manages to get the best of his former ally, he offers to end things in a stalemate rather than claim the prize for himself. Shockingly, Sang-woo stabs himself in the neck rather than take the deal, leaving Gi-hun as the sole winner of the 45 billion won prize.
Fans are left to their own speculations about Sang-woo’s choice, but the clear message seems to be that he simply could not face the monster he had become within the game. Had Sang-woo taken Gi-hun’s deal, he would have left the game alive, but without any of the prize money he had manipulated, backstabbed, and killed for, forcing him to truly face his terrible actions.
Sang-woo’s death isn’t the only big finale twist, though. After Gi-hun’s big win, the finale flashed forward to a year later, revealing Gi-hun is still depressed and has barely touched his prize money at all, because he’s haunted by his time in the competition. It’s then that he gets a mysterious card telling him where to meet an old friend. Much to Gi-hun’s (and the viewers’) surprise, that old friend turns out to be Il-nam, the elderly man who Gi-hun had assumed he caused to be killed during the marbles game.
Il-nam revealed to Gi-hun that he had actually been in charge of the competition the entire time. Unlike the act he put on in the game, Il-nam is revealed to be an ultra-wealthy broker who set up the Squid Game out of boredom. As he drew close to death, Il-nam decided to play the games himself for one last bit of fun. Of course, the stakes were never there for him like they were for everyone else, since he was secretly running things the whole time, so he was spared after losing the marbles game. After divulging his secret, Il-nam succumbs to his brain tumor as Gi-hun watches over him still in shock.
Motivated by a renewed belief that humans can be truly kind to one another, Gi-hun fulfills the promises he made to his closest friends in the game, tracking down Sae-byeok’s brother and giving him to Sang-woo’s mother to raise, along with a suitcase stuffed with cash. But just as everything seemed to be finally going well for Gi-hun, he noticed the Squid Game recruiter who enlisted him in the first place drawing in another down-and-out man. Grabbing the contact card, Gi-hun called the Squid Game number and seemed to promise some form of vengeance: “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing.” Instead of boarding the plane to visit his daughter, Gi-hun then turned around and left the loading dock, suggesting he is beginning a new mission to take down the Squid Game.
Squid Game Season 2 Release Date
Although the finale leaves the door open for another season, writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk initially told Variety that he didn’t have plans for a potential Season 2 shortly after the first season aired. “I don’t have well developed plans for Squid Game 2,” he said. “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.”
But given the show’s instant success, those plans shifted. On Nov. 8, Hwang confirmed to the Associated Press that he was working on a second season. “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!” he said. “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.”
Netflix officially confirmed Season 2 was picked up on June 12, sharing a brief teaser of the “Red Light, Green Light” doll.
Squid Game Season 2 Cast
Given all the carnage inherent in Squid Game, it’s safe to say a second season will have to introduce a whole bunch of new characters. The only actors likely to reprise their roles are Lee Jung-jae as sole survivor Gi-hun and Lee Byung-hun as the still-enigmatic Front Man, who may actually be running the Squid Game himself now that Il-nam is dead.
Hwang confirmed both Gi-hun and Front Man will be back in a statement tied to the Season 2 renewal, along with the Squid Game recruiter character played by Gong Yoo. Most interestingly, the statement also teased a new character: Cheol-su, who’s described as Young-hee’s boyfriend. You might not have known this, but that giant robot doll who facilitated “Red Light, Green Light” in the first episode was inspired by a Korean textbook character named Young-hee, who is often seen with her male counterpart Cheol-su. It definitely sounds like a second giant robot doll is in the plans for Season 2.
Squid Game Season 2 Trailer
Since a second season is still in early stages, there’s no footage of any future Squid Game installment yet.
Squid Game Season 2 Theories
There are a lot of different directions a second season could take. Perhaps Gi-hun will re-enter the game as a contestant and use his insider knowledge to take it down from within, or maybe he will become a masked VIP, since he is obviously wealthy enough to buy his way into VIP status now.
One exciting theory is that the new season could explore an entirely new location. This stems from a small, throwaway line one of the VIPs utters in the finale. The masked man notes that the Korean games are his favorite, which suggests there are other Squid Games in different countries. Shifting focus to a different country’s Squid Game would also introduce a whole new set of deadly, country-specific games the players must survive, since the first season’s games were all distinctly Korean childhood games. Clearly, fans of the series have a lot to theorize about as they await any news about a potential Season 2.
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