Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things They Need To Avoid In Squid Game Season 2

In late 2021, the South Korean dystopian drama "Squid Game" became a worldwide phenomenon. Quickly crowned the most-watched show on Netflix, it's clearly the type of hit series that can't help but get another season — which is fortunate for fans, since the first season's finale leaves viewers with a cliffhanger. They won't have to wait too terribly long to find out where the story goes from here, as "Squid Game" Season 2 has been confirmed by creator Hwang Dong-hyuk. (Major spoilers for "Squid Game" Season 1 follow.)

In its first season, "Squid Game" follows a man named Gi-Hun and a group of desperate strangers involved in a life-and-death game. Only one winner will be allowed to survive and keep the 45.6 billion won (roughly $38 million) grand prize. Gi-Hun's road to victory is traumatizing, and ends with him in pursuit of whoever's running the games. There are still some characters to explore in a second season, and the ending left millions of fans wanting more. However, this isn't the first time a smash hit show has the potential to go quickly downhill following its early success. Here are the tropes and pitfalls "Squid Game" needs to avoid in order to keep up its momentum in Season 2.

Making Gi-Hun a vengeful anti-hero

In the Season 1 finale of "Squid Game," Gi-Hun defeats his childhood friend Sang-woo in the final game, forced to watch him commit suicide to ensure Gi-Hun wins and uses the money to help their families. Upon returning, Gi-Hun discovers that during his time in the game, his mother died and his daughter moved to Los Angeles. Over a year later, a traumatized Gi-Hun still hasn't touched his winnings. He's contacted by a mysterious man who ends up being Oh Il-nam, the old man he befriended during the game. Il-nam reveals himself to be one of the orchestrators of the game, a sick source of entertainment for the obscenely rich. Il-nam dies and Gi-Hun leaves to visit his daughter, but on the way to doing so sees a game recruiter in the subway station. Before boarding his plane, he receives a call telling him to board the plane and not turn back. He refuses.

This is where Season 1 ends, and it's easy to see Gi-Hun being defined by his trauma and need for vengeance against the wealthy who started this game. While he needs to get to the bottom of who's running the games in order for the show to continue, Gi-Hun still doesn't have it in him to kill. This may be to his detriment, but it's also the reason he can't win alone. He'll need to make new allies that balance out his personality — that's part of what made the first season so compelling.

Bringing characters back from the dead

If you've watched "Squid Game," the idea of the show bringing people back from the dead might seem like something too silly for the creators to consider — but it's still worth mentioning, because wriggling characters out of seemingly fatal ends is one of the biggest tropes in fiction — and it can be found all over TV, including a number of classic series. It doesn't matter how it happens, just know it happens all the time. From the Buffyverse to "Sherlock," resurrection can be magical or simply a retroactive bait and switch.

The latter seems like the most likely way it would happen in "Squid Game" Season 2. The show has already proved that when you don't see a character die on camera, there's a significant chance they didn't actually die. All the major characters died on camera, however, so it'd feel cheap if the show tried to bring anyone back. Still, it's hard not to at least entertain the possibility. Characters like Sae-byeok and Ali were beloved by fans and gave the show a real heart that it might not be able to recreate with a new cast. The temptation may be too difficult to resist.

Making Season 2 a prequel

There has been some debate online among the "Squid Game" fanbase over whether the next season should be a prequel or a sequel. However, making the next season a prequel goes directly against the message of the Season 1 finale. The billionaire villain behind it all dies, but the squid game continues for another year. This is the nature of class conflict, and no individual action can stop that wheel from turning. "Squid Game" is clearly setting up a major confrontation, so going backwards would be hugely frustrating.

Admittedly, many fans want an explanation of the Front Man's backstory, and this would also allow Hwang Jun-ho (played by Wi Ha-joon) to return to the story in a natural way as he and the Front Man were revealed to be brothers right before Jun-ho was shot. There's definitely an interesting story to explore here, instead of opting for a full-on prequel and leaving fans hanging, the showrunners could mix in moments of backstory throughout a season that pushes the Front Man's story forward.

Sticking to the same structure from Season 1

If it ain't broke don't fix it, right? It's a tried (or in this case tired) and true platitude when it comes to TV shows. But for "Squid Game" Season 2 to succeed, it can't simply recreate Season 1. It won't be as good.

It's almost inevitable that a portion of the show will be spent in the game. It remains to be seen whether Gi-Hun sneaks in (or is forced to participate again), but either way, we're surely going to see what the next year's game looks like. It's easy to envision a season where Gi-Hun plays the role of detective, as Jun-ho did in the first season. But if this ends up being the case, more screentime will need to be spent on that story than on the games themselves. The first season shocked viewers; the only way to continue those shocks will be to crank up the grisly deaths and grotesque moments. De-emphasizing the dystopian nature of the game and focusing on the mysteries presented at the end of Season 1 will help a new season stand out more than one that simply sticks with the same familiar structure.

Bringing back the games from Season 1

If "Squid Game" Season 2 is going to once again draw on "Battle Royale" or "Hunger Games" (depending on your frame of reference) for the elements of the brutal games depicted, it had better mix things up. Each of the games featured in the first season's competition made for nail-biting sequences, and watching them all over again would lessen the impact. At very least, give us new games — there are plenty of popular childhood games still left to choose from.

The games the contestants are put through in Season 1 are also used to emphasize certain character conflicts and tensions. Certain characters are paired off during marbles, for example, for reasons that push the story forward. Hopscotch is used as a final test of Deok-su and Mi-nyeo's selfish motivations while cleverly calling back to an early episode. And then, of course, the final, eponymous squid game brings the two main characters' pasts full circle to the present before their very eyes.

Overcomplicating the mystery

Given the show's depiction of poverty and inequality in Korean society, it's no surprise who ends up being the bad guy. The first episode shows us this real world before taking us into the dystopia of the games. Even before the last episode's big twist, it's clear this game is put on by rich people for other rich people to watch. Sure, some fans are missing this point, but that's bound to happen when a show like this reaches such a huge audience. Most viewers understand that the 1% in charge are the villains of "Squid Game" ... and there's no reason to muddy those waters by overcomplicating it.

It's easy to see the need to add more layers to the mystery after Season 1's puzzle-box approach to the story. But "Squid Game" wears its politics on its sleeve, and it would feel like a betrayal of its themes to add more complicated motivations for the people behind the game. Yes, there are ways to add nuance to the characters involved with whatever organization is in charge, but the showrunners need to stay true to the thematic core of the series.

Rushing to make the new season

Ultimately, the worst thing the creators of "Squid Game" and Netflix could do is rush a second season into production before it's ready. Hwang Dong-hyuk wrote the first draft for a feature film version of "Squid Game" in 2009. The idea took a decade for him to sell as a series — it was funded by Netflix in 2018 — and in that time, it was polished and rewritten many times. That kind of work takes time, and one could easily argue that it's one of the reasons "Squid Game" was so well-received when it was finally released. Now that there's major demand for a Season 2, that kind of time is an extreme luxury.

Luckily, Hwang isn't rushing into anything when it comes to "Squid Game" Season 2. "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," he told the Associated Press. "I will promise you this, Gi-hun will be back and he'll do something for the world."