‘Squid Game,’ dystopian Netflix hit, gets green light for second season

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SEOUL — “Squid Game,” the South Korean drama that shot to the top of Netflix’s global charts, making it the streaming platform’s most popular show ever, has been greenlit for a second season, its director said.

The first season, released in September, centers on a dystopian game in which Seoulites gamble their lives in a competition for a large pot of money — for most, a way to pay off their debts. It remains Netflix’s most popular series, with viewers watching more than 1.65 billion hours of the show in its first month. (The next most popular debut was the fifth season of the Spanish series “Money Heist,” which had 792 million hours viewed in its first month, according to Netflix figures.)

The cultural impact of the show was nearly immediate. People dressed as the pink-jumpsuited “Squid Game” guards for Halloween. DJs sampled the “red light … green light” audio from a scene with a giant killer doll. It inspired a renaissance for the Korean dalgona game, played with brittle sugary treats, and months later, trinket shops in Seoul are still stuffed with “Squid Game”-related merchandise.

Why does ‘Squid Game’ resonate so well in the U.S.? It may be its portrayal of economic despair.

“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,” Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show’s director and executive producer, said in a statement announcing the renewal. Hwang has said he came up with the idea for “Squid Game” in 2008 but was told that the script was too violent and unrealistic to do well with audiences.

Hwang said in the statement that Gi-hun, the show’s main character, would return in the second season, as well as the Front Man, the game’s mysterious villain. And he said “the man in the suit with ddakji might be back,” referencing an ominous character who lures contestants with a Korean game that involves throwing paper tiles.

He also said that in Season 2, audiences will meet the “boyfriend” of the killer doll, Young-hee.

Store names and character names hold truth and deeper meaning in Netflix’s “Squid Game.” (Video: Allie Caren, Michelle Lee/The Washington Post)

The note did not include details about when the second season would be released. Kim Ji-yeon, an executive producer on the show, said that “we are working on the script right now and making the form of the story.”

Kim said that there was “a lot of pressure” to make the second season better than the first, and that the show’s producers were “focusing on how to make it even more joyful to the global audience.”

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