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Spoilers below for season 1 of Squid Game.
Following in the footsteps of The Hunger Games, Netflix’s newest K-drama hit Squid Game is, at face value, a spin on the Japanese classic Battle Royale. A group of strangers are placed in an enclosure, where they’re forced to kill one another if they hope to claim the carrot dangling before them: money, and lots of it. But unlike in Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, where the fighters are children forced into the arena against their will, Squid Game posits an intriguing morality shift: These participants volunteered.
To be clear, they volunteered for a game. Each of them down on their luck and pining for a life-changing payday—the prize is a $38.5 million check—each contestant is invited to a “survival competition” made up of seemingly innocuous children’s games. Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) is one such unfortunate soul, encouraged to repay his many debts through a “high-stakes” competition. Desperate, he accepts, only to awaken in an eerily nondescript building, surrounded by hundreds of similarly confused contestants. They are rounded up to play a round of Red Light, Green Light. They sprint. Those who don’t screech to a halt in time are immediately gunned down.
If this sounds a little less cheery than your average Netflix binge, your instincts are correct. But Squid Game, which has been in development for more than a decade, is the kind of thriller that works because it uses its mind-twisting ethics—after all, what would you do in a fight to the death?—to stir conversation. Ever since its release on September 17, the K-drama has shot to the top of the Netflix charts—including in the United States—largely due to users hyping the show up on social media. Perhaps most importantly, Squid Game makes remarkable use of its haunted characters, which means fans are eager to watch them return. As viewers devour the first nine episodes, here’s what we know about a future for Netflix’s latest success story.
Will Squid Game get a season 2?
The first season closes with something of a resolution, depending on how you choose to interpret it. Gi-hun has won the Game and is now processing the trauma of what he’s done, only to discover that the old man he befriended during the course of the competition was, in fact, its creator. Alas, betrayal on the grandest scale.
After this man dies, Gi-hun learns the Game is still ongoing—he witnesses a candidate get recruited—and vows to stop it once and for all. We could choose to interpret this as the writers tying a bright bow on the finale, or it’s possible they meant to fuel speculation for a second chapter.
So far, Netflix has made no comments about green-lighting a second season, but fret not—we’re still early in the game.
Who will be in the cast?
Assuming Netflix cashes in on a sure-to-be-successful season 2, it’s likely Lee Jung-jae would return as Gi-hun. But because so many other characters died—thus is the nature of a battle royale, after all—we’d almost certainly get a brand new supporting cast, perhaps joined by a few flashback cameos from our old friends Park Hae-soo, Oh Yeong-su, and Jung Ho-yeon.
What would a second season be about?
If Squid Game is to return, it’s likely the plot would focus on Gi-hun’s quest to end the Game, much like Katniss Everdeen’s saga centered around her revolutionary efforts to stop the Hunger Games and restore equity to the districts. What remains unclear is if this noble pursuit would land Gi-hun himself back in the arena, or if Squid Game would pull a Westworld and draw its characters out of the simulation and into the larger dystopian reality. We have few clues to go on just yet, but with all the fervor surrounding this series—and the rise in K-dramas in general—there’s little doubt we’ll have more news soon.
This post will be updated.
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