To no one's surprise, Squid Game was confirmed for season 2 mere weeks after it exploded Netflix viewership records. But, funnily enough, it seemed more of an obligation than a dream come true for the team that ideated the surprise smash hit.
Anyone who wasn't expecting a second season, despite the comfortably self-contained story in Squid Game's first season, was insane but it took June 12 for Netflix to confirm that season 2 was actually on the way.
"It took 12 years to bring the first season of Squid Game to life last year. But it took 12 days for Squid Game to become the most popular Netflix series ever," Squid Game ideator Hwang Dong-hyuk said as part of the second season's official announcement. "As the writer, director, and producer of Squid Game, a huge shout-out to fans around the world. Thank you for watching and loving our show.
"And now, Gi-hun returns. The Front Man returns. The man in the suit with ddakji might be back. You’ll also be introduced to Young-hee’s boyfriend, Cheol-su."
For anyone who didn't watch the first season, that must sound like gibberish (hell, I did watch season 1 back then and I can hardly remember any of this) but thus is the appeal of massive crossover successes like Squid Game for Netflix.
If you aren't already clued-in to what everyone else is watching, you're gonna feel left out. And then you might be tempted enough to drop the dosh for a Netflix subscription, which is exactly what the streaming service is hoping for these days.
But, were it up to the man behind Squid Game, a second season wasn't always in mind.
"You leave us no choice," Dong-hyuk said back in November 2021, weeks after the South Korean thriller became Netflix's hottest property, in reference to a question about whether Squid Game would have a second season.
In an era where reliable tentpoles like Stranger Things and the Knives Out sequel are being utilized to prop up investor concerns over fluctuating subscription numbers, Netflix has every incentive to keep its big shows going ad infinitum, whether there's a storytelling drive or not.
There's even a Squid Game-themed reality show on the way, apparently.
And no hate to Squid Game, which was a fun little deathgame series that proved entertaining from start to finish. But it smacks of the Marvel methodology, wherein films are created as if they're on a production line akin to automobiles and snack cakes.
Entertainment has long been made into a product worth dollars and cents so no big revelation here, it's just something worth considering as complete stories are stretched into multi-season events for the sake of viewership.
Hopefully, Squid Game can keep the trajectory going, without undue external pressure affecting the creative process. You can capture lightning in a bottle twice, but it ain't easy.