Can 'Squid Game' Season 2 replicate the addictive quality of Season 1?

The creator has been left with "no choice" but to continue working on the show

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Hwang Dong-hyuk attends Los Angeles Screening Of Netflix's "Squ...
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Update: On January 21, 2022, Netflix confirmed that Squid Game will return for a second season. “The Squid Game universe has just begun,” co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos told Variety.

To the surprise of nobody, another season of Squid Game is in the works. The show’s creator and writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk recently confirmed in a red carpet interview that “there will indeed be a second season.” The news had not been confirmed until now — Netflix has yet to make an official announcement, and Hwang has previously hedged in interviews about committing to another season. But fans have been collectively anticipating the possibility after the Netflix show took the world by storm and became the streamer’s biggest show of all time.

“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,” Hwang told AP News while standing next to his series lead, Lee Jung-jae. His reasoning and context — that an intense demand from a highly successful and profitable project would push Hwang to return to working on something that he started out of financial desperation and that made him lose six teeth out of stress — has the hint of a darkly ironic parallel to the themes of the show. (For those who perceive most of the world through an anti-capitalist lens, the show’s success has only led to more corporate consumption.)

But then again, after Squid Game’s surprise global domination, Hwang is likely now working with far more financial and creative freedom to build out whatever he would like. The concern perhaps lies with the ability to replicate the same kind of immersive, addicting quality to the first season. After all, Hwang, inspired by his own dire economic situation at the time, had first started writing the show over a decade ago in 2009 (and struggled to find financing for it throughout). The follow-up now comes from an immediate thirst after the first season.

The final moments of the show ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, but where things stood, the second season would likely demand a break from the original, absorbing structure and premise of the first season. Hwang has at one point indicated the possibility of focusing on the Front Man, the mysterious character who ran the deadly competition at the center of the show.

“It’s in my head right now,” Hwang said. “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.” For the sake of the show and Hwang’s own sanity (and his teeth), let’s hope he takes his time.