What Squid Game Fans Want Most From Season 2

When "Squid Game" debuted its bloody and satirical takedown of capitalism in September 2021, it quickly became a global hit for Netflix. Within the first 28 days of Season 1's release, "Squid Game" garnered 1.65 billion views, or "182,000 years" worth of watches. Notably, "Squid Game" also became the first Netflix Original Korean television series to debut in the number one spot in the U.S. In the light of the series' staggering viewership numbers, no one was surprised when Netflix greenlit a second season of the survival thriller series. Netflix executive Ted Sarandos even hinted that Season 2 is just one step in a larger plan, telling Variety, "The 'Squid Game' universe has just begun."

Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk hasn't said much about where the series will go next, but has provided plenty of hints and teases that already have fans talking. Although it's confirmed that some Season 1 "Squid Game" characters will return -- like Lee Jung-jae's Gi-hun and Lee Byung-hun's Front Man -- there's still plenty of mystery as to how "Squid Game" Season 2 will tackle another round of torturous games. Here are some things fans have speculated could (or should) happen in Gi-hun's future battles against the VIPs.

The Dead Stay Dead

In March 2022, "Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk confirmed to Deadline that anyone who died in the first season's games will, thankfully, stay dead. However, he teased the idea that Kang Sae-byeok's HoYeon Jung could return in Season 2. "Let's say maybe she has a twin sister, you'll see," he stated. Since his previous statement, the "Squid Game" creator hasn't elaborated further on this remark or who else might creatively reappear. If twins are on the table, who knows? Ghosts could appear in Season 2, which would open the door for many characters to return.

While the future fate of beloved actors from Season 1 remains unclear, it's a smart choice to let dead characters remain dead. The success of "Squid Game" hinged on its dire stakes, knowing that you could fall in love with a competitor who could die at any moment. Also, it would be a strange choice to retread for Season 2, considering we already saw Il-Nam's surprise return from the dead (and it remains a matter of debate whether that reveal was a clever twist or a cop-out that goes against the game's "equal footing" premise).

Gi-Hun's Hair To Stay Red

At the end of Season 1, Gi-hun physically survives the deadly Squid Games -- but is now facing the horrors of survivor's guilt. Out of the 456 contestants, he takes home the 45.6 billion won. The Season 1 finale of "Squid Game" shows just how much Gi-hun wrestles with this "win" that cost 455 lives. Instead of lavishly spending his winnings, Gi-hun chooses to pay off his debts and live a modest life. He lets his winnings sit unused in a bank account as a statement to show that this money will not ruin his life as it has so many others.

However, Gi-hun does one vital act for himself with his money: He dyes his hair bright red. In Season 2, Gi-hun should keep this look, as it symbolizes more than just a fun stylistic choice. At its heart, "Squid Game" has always been about darkly satirizing the evils of capitalism and the resulting societal expectations placed upon individuals to look a certain way and aspire to a certain lifestyle. Gi-hun's red hair shows he has no interest in looking like someone who fits into an elite society or a fancy business meeting. Keeping his hair red would be a great way for "Squid Game" Season 2 to embrace the ongoing spirit of revolution that Gi-hun represents. Of course, it's also a fun visual nod to the traditional color of socialism.

How The Front Man Will Change After Killing Jun-Ho

Throughout Season 1 of "Squid Game," audiences were teased with the haunting sight of the mysteriously masked Front Man. As Jun-ho's investigation surrounding his missing brother reached closer and closer to the elite secret society behind the Squid Games, fans could sense what tragic truth was coming. Of course, Jun-ho was shocked to learn of his brother's involvement in the Squid Games. However, fans saw enough of these bloody games to reason that a person who survives the Squid Games (mentally and physically) has the capacity to commit horrible acts. It's entirely possible, too, that the Front Man has his own secret fiscal challenges attached to his commanding role.

Still, it did come as a shock when Jun-ho was murdered by his own (arguably brainwashed) brother. After this act, however, the lethal Front Man does seem to be changed. He experiences visions, hinting at remorse for what he did to his brother. While a lot of fans are still wondering how the Front Man gained the trust and respect of the VIPs in the first place, Season 2 should also delve into how Jun-ho's death might change the Front Man's view of the games.

Il-Nam's Successor

Plenty of "Squid Game" fans are still debating whether or not it made sense for Il-Nam to be an undercover player in the game. Some fans think that his involvement makes sense based on his character's reasoning: He wanted to feel a "true" and deeper sense of fear and joy before dying, which the games provided him. Other fans think that it's a cheap reveal that not only takes away from the emotional impact of his character's first death in the series, but also goes against the game's entire premise.

However you land on this one, Il-Nam is indeed (finally) dead by the end of Season 1. Of course, this brings a fascinating question for Season 2 to explore: Who will be taking over his capitalistic enterprise? One definite possibility is that it'll be the Front Man, having been groomed for this role. Whether or not that's true, it'd be a missed opportunity if "Squid Game" didn't delve a bit deeper into its new leader and the ranks and roles behind the games.

Is There A Fate Worse Than Death In A Game?

All of the games in Season 1 of "Squid Game" put characters in life-or-death situations. Some had to hopscotch across thin panes of glass, hoping not to fall to their death. Others had to play a deadly game of tug-of-war, praying they'd be strong enough to not send their teammates careening to their doom. However, now that fans are used to seeing these harsh ultimatums, it'd up the ante to have even the players who win games be left with a brutal price to pay. 

Season 1's games only focused on situations in which a character would either survive or face instant death. Since fans already expect this setup, it'd be a bold move if "wins" on individual games came with a cost that could affect a player's (and their teammates') survival rate in future games. What if someone needed to sacrifice a toe to win a foot-race? Not only would this make survival a harder task, it'd bring a deeper focus on the idea of risk vs. reward. "Squid Game" already embraces what it means to do something harmful in the short-term for the benefit of one's financial future, and this would take that concept to an entirely new and disturbing level.

More Morbidly Twisted Childhood Games

A huge part of the charm of "Squid Game" Season 1 is how it uses childhood games as a setup for its morbid challenges. Somehow, creator Hwang Dong-hyuk managed to make a game of marbles deadly -- something not even Jigsaw has been able to pull off just yet. However, what was most heartbreaking and brutal of all was watching Gi-hun and Sang-woo play Squid Game. The game itself is a Korean childhood game that the two characters played when they were younger, which only makes their life-or-death match even more harrowing. It underscores the idea that even in childhood we are conditioned to "beat" others to get ahead -- even our closest friends.

Any number of childhood games could come into play in "Squid Game" Season 2. It would be particularly nice to see more Korean games come into play. Yeonnalligi, aka kite flying, would be a fantastic choice -- like marbles, it's a game that seems innocent but is ripe with dark potential.

Tournament Of Champions

In the Season 1 finale, a mysterious woman with flowers hands Gi-hun a postcard inviting him to speak to Il-Nam. Gi-hun goes and confronts the man about the evils of Squid Game, which seems to push him to decide to reunite with his family. But, of course, he spots a Squid Game recruiter on his way to see his family, inspiring him to vow to destroy the games. From his perspective, we see this decision as a way for him to take on the evil establishment. However, Season 1 also shows us that just when a player thinks they're in control of the games, they're usually being played. Il-Nam's words and confidence inspired a lot of spite in Gi-hun that might not have surfaced if they never spoke post-games.

An interesting twist for Season 2's storyline would be the reveal that Gi-hun was baited into unknowingly entering a Tournament of Champions with former Squid Game winners. Introducing this storyline would follow in the footsteps of the (underrated) "Escape Room: Tournament of Champions," developing the rules and players of this world even further for fans in the way that only a series has the space and time to do.

How Are The VIPs Selected

In "Squid Game" Season 1, viewers only get a brief glimpse of the VIPs. While we've seen these animal-masked figures betting on the lives of hundreds, fans still have a lot of questions about how someone gains entrance into this underground world. Although it could be easy for a show like "Squid Game" to hand-wave these questions away by acknowledging that the extremely wealthy have always had secret societies, it'd rob its world of the potential for some interesting plotlines. 

Season 2 could shed light on how someone gains entry into this elite club and what rules they must abide by to stay in the society. Understanding how someone becomes a VIP could give fans an insightful look at the potential for a member to be cast out, too -- which, of course, could bring plenty of revenge arcs into future seasons of "Squid Game."

Season 2 Could Explore A New Terrain

The first season's games were primarily set in a bunker-like industrial building filled with secret corridors and a maddening quantity of staircases. This setup worked well for Season 1, as it depicted the game's tightly controlled and claustrophobic atmosphere. Order of command was clearly shown through who had what access to which rooms and who had to stay in (literal) line. It beautifully showed the cold and mechanical structure of a workplace with a top-down level approach to management and a strict chain of command in the game's world, while at the same time commenting on how dehumanizing this approach to work is.

However, the second season deserves a change of scenery that reflects the game's expanding mythos. "Squid Game" Season 2 could explore the same themes of isolation and depersonalization that capitalism inspires in a place like a deserted island -- not unlike "Battle Royale." Since Il-Nam won't be the Squid Game leader anymore, a new setting could also best introduce a change of leadership to the game in an inventive way.

A Meeting Between Gi-Hun And The Front Man

While "Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk hasn't confirmed that Gi-hun and the Front Man will meet in Season 2, he heavily hinted that's on the horizon. When asked about what fans could expect from Season 2, he told EW that Gi-hun and the Front Man come from a similar place but have contrasting views. "The Front Man ... was also a past winner but became a Front Man," he said. "It's like Darth Vader. Some end up Jedi and some become Darth Vader, right? I think that maybe Gi-hun will go through a certain critical point where he is put through a test as well."

In this light, it seems like Season 2 could explore Gi-hun and the Front Man's relationship to the games -- and possibly each other. At the very least, fans definitely are in for two Squid Game winners meeting each other. We've yet to see how winners live with their choices, and what better way to explore that reality than by spending time with these two characters and seeing their respective struggles?

Gi-Hun's Daughter Returns

Although some fans were happy to see Gi-hun vow to take on the Squid Game establishment, others were sad to see Gi-hun avoiding his daughter, Ga-yeong. At the start of Season 1, Gi-hun blames his lack of income as the reasoning behind why he's an unreliable father. While it's true that his fiscal pressures weigh on him, viewers could see that he never went out of his way to consistently support Ga-yeong emotionally. 

After Gi-hun wins the Squid Game, it seems like his windfall of cash would give him the resources needed to go to America and reunite and rebuild his relationship with his daughter. Gi-hun's choice to return to the Squid Game, even for revenge, is heartbreaking -- especially considering the fact that his mother died when he was last involved with the Squid Game. Whether or not Gi-hun survives this round of mayhem, it's time for Gi-hun to stop putting off his role as a father.

Recruiters' Origin Stories

Of all the places Season 2 could go, it's possible that it might hearken back to a key Season 1 character. When asked by The Hollywood Reporter in October 2021 about possible storylines for "Squid Game" Season 2, creator/writer/director Hwang Dong-hyuk shared, "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."

While this storyline is not confirmed for Season 2, it does bring up a whole slew of interesting questions for "Squid Game" to explore in its upcoming season. From what we've seen of the meticulously designed world of the games, every role has a specific purpose. Fans have only ever seen recruiters in the act of persuading people into the world of the Squid Games, but we don't know how these roles are filled. Are these people also former Squid Game winners? Do they have a meeting place with their own strict rules of operation? It's just one of many avenues "Squid Game" Season 2 could explore.

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The post What Squid Game Fans Want Most from Season 2 appeared first on /Film.