'Squid Game' Season 2: What We Know About a New Season of the Netflix Hit

Filming starts this summer. Get ready to meet Cheol-su, the "boyfriend" of that creepy Red Light Green Light doll from season 1.

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CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
8 min read

Creepy doll Young-hee was a memorable part of Squid Game season 1. But season 2 will feature her "boyfriend," Cheol-su. Bet they're a fun couple.

Netflix/Youngkyu Park

Squid Game, we knew you weren't done with us yet. The hit Netflix show about a deadly tournament of children's games didn't tie up with a neat bow, and a second season is on the way. And now we know that cast and crew will start filming the new season this summer. 


Filming timetable and main characters

Lee Jung Jae, who plays first season winner Seong Gi-hun, said that filming for the second season will begin in summer 2023 and will take at least 10 months, allkpop reported on Feb. 13. He expects to be sharing the spotlight with Lee Byung Hun, who plays The Front Man, the mastermind of the game.

"As we all saw at the end of season 1, the main plot of season 2 will be revenge, and the key figure who controlled the workings of the games in season 1 was (Lee Byung Hun), so it seems that the two of us will be the central figures of this next story," he said.

He also said the second season will be "bigger in scale" than the first season, which was an enormous hit for Netflix.

Meet the killer doll's boyfriend

In June, Netflix tweeted: "Red light... GREENLIGHT! Squid Game is officially coming back for Season 2!" And in a follow-up tweet, Netflix offered a hint of what fans of the show can expect.

"And now Gi-hun returns. The Front Man returns," director and writer Hwang Dong-hyuk tweeted. "The man in the suit with ddakji might be back. You'll also be introduced to Young-hee's boyfriend, Cheol-su."

Who's Young-hee, you may ask? She's the super-creepy doll in the Red Light Green Light game who spins around and fatally identifies the contestants who kept moving after being told to stop. Sounds like a male version of her will be taking on a similar role in another game in season 2.

Netflix didn't share any further details.

More of the Front Man

At first, it didn't look good. Writer-director Hwang Dong-hyuk told Variety in late September that he may return to big-screen movies before thinking about a Squid Game sequel. "I don't have well-developed plans for Squid Game 2," he said. "It is quite tiring just thinking about it."

But then Squid Game hit it huge, and when the director spoke to The Times of London in October, he sounded more positive.

"While I was writing season 1, I thought about the stories that could be in season 2 if I get to do one -- one would be the story of the Front Man," Hwang said. "I think the issue with police officers is not just an issue in Korea. I see it on the global news that the police force can be very late on acting on things -- there are more victims or a situation gets worse because of them not acting fast enough. This was an issue that I wanted to raise. Maybe in season 2 I can talk about this more."

When is season 2 coming?

Don't mark your calendars just yet. Even with the reveal that filming will start in summer 2023, Netflix has yet to provide a premiere date. If it does in fact take at least 10 months, as actor Lee Jung Jae said, the earliest possible release would be sometime in spring 2024.

One thing seems clear: The prep time won't be as long as it was for the first season, which took a decade to arrive

Squid Game season 2 plot

Hwang has promised that Squid Game winner Gi-hun would return and "do something for the world."

Where did we leave our hero? At the end of the first season, Gi-hun hasn't shown a desire to spend his huge winnings, understandably too destroyed by the experience of seeing his friends die. But he was set to fly to Los Angeles to see his beloved daughter when he realized the game was continuing, and he got off the plane with plans to somehow stop it. How he gets back into the game will undoubtedly be a huge part of the second season. It doesn't seem possible he could compete again, but will he sneak in as one of the red-suited guards? 

The Front Man has an interesting past. His name is Hwang In-ho, and he won the game in 2015. It's unclear how he decided to become the Front Man, running the tournament for the mysterious host (spoiler) who turns out to be the elderly Oh Il-nam. 

In-ho definitely shot his brother, police officer Hwang Jun-ho, but we never saw his dead body, and the brotherly conflict would make for a juicy season 2 plotline. What if Jun-ho survives and the two brothers set out to take down the game?

Which characters could return?

Seong Gi-hun

Well, who's not dead? Seong Gi-hun, DUH, the only player from the first round to live. The second season will center on him, just as the first did. And maybe his wife, daughter and his wife's new family will return from the US for some involvement.


Will we see Kang Sae-byeok's young brother, Cheol, again?

Youngkyu Park/Netflix

Sang-woo's mother and Kang Cheol

One of the saddest losses for many viewers was that of North Korean defector Kang Sae-byeok. But Gi-hun managed to find her little brother, Cheol, and took him to Sang-woo's mother to raise, with the benefit of a whole bunch of won. It'd be great to see how Cheol is adjusting to his new situation (and maybe more family members will show up -- see below). It'd also be interesting to see if Sang-woo's mother ever learns the truth about her adored son stealing money from his clients.

Brothers Hwang In-ho and Hwang Jun-ho

As mentioned above, the fate of Jun-ho might not be sealed. He could still be alive, and even if he's not, his brother is going to have to deal with the fact that he tried to kill him. Maybe viewers will see in flashback the 2015 tournament that In-ho won -- it might explain something about why he stayed with the game instead of taking his piggy bank full of won and leaving. And if we know anything about director Hwang Dong-hyuk's possible plans for a second season, it's that he's very interested in South Korean police and how quickly they respond to crimes and issues. He told The Times of London he can see exploring these topics.

The game recruiter

We don't know his character's name, but South Korean actor Gong Yoo plays the handsome man who recruits into the game indebted people desperate for money. What's his motivation? His background? Season 2 could explain why he's involved and who he is.

New Squid Game characters

Squid Game developed many terrific characters only to kill them off in the game. A second season could dig into their backstories. Here's a look at just a few of the characters who could show up.

Ali's wife

We briefly met Ali's wife, a young mother from Pakistan. What if she came looking for him or ends up playing the game herself? Or maybe Ali has a sibling who's out for revenge?

Oh Il-nam's son

Oh Il-nam mentioned his son -- could he show up in some way? He's likely as wealthy as his dad, so he might not need to compete in the games but could be behind the scenes helping run the tournament. Or maybe he squandered all his won and now needs to earn the money back.

Jang Deok-su's associates

Gangster Jang Deok-su (Heo Sung-tae) was one of the least likable characters, but he seemed to know and be known by everyone in the criminal world. Maybe some of his associates find their way into a new tournament. 

Kang Sae-byeok's family

Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon) was a fan favorite -- I mention her brother, Cheol, above. Cheol is too young to compete in the fatal tournament (we hope) unless the second season is set far in the future. But as young as he is, Cheol is rich now -- maybe he can bring his mother over from North Korea, and we can learn more about their family.

And what about Kang Sae-byeok herself? Hwang says he regrets killing her off and would like to revive the character. Maybe she wasn't really dead?

The mystery of Han Mi-nyeo

Who knows what to believe about Han Mi-nyeo (Kim Joo-ryoung)? She had a quick restroom rendezvous with Jang Deok-su but then took him out in the glass bridge game. She claimed to be a new mother but then never mentioned that again. Her life before the game is a huge blank, so pretty much anyone could show up claiming a relationship with her. And if they were half as intriguing as she was, they'd be a welcome addition.

The creepy VIPs

Late in the series, a group of rich men are brought in to bet on the games and watch them live. (One tries to sexually assault Jun-ho, which ends badly for the rich man.) They're hideous people, but it does seem possible they -- or a new group of richies -- could show up in a second season. 

Which childhood games could be in season 2?

In the first season, the players fought through deadly battles of red light, green light; tug-of-war; and marbles; carved Dalgona candy out of a tin without breaking its shape; crossed a glass bridge that had breakable panels; and finally, faced the squid game of the title. But plenty of other games were mentioned in the series. 

Gi-hun wondered numerous times if one of the games would be something the female players were better at, as opposed to tug-of-war or something that favored the men. It would be interesting if a female-centered game showed up in season 2, and suddenly the women have an advantage over the male players. 

Elastics is mentioned several times. Americans may call this Chinese jump rope, and it involves winding elastic ropes around two players' legs so a third player can jump in and out. Hopscotch is mentioned, though the glass bridge game might be meant as a deadly version of hopscotch. Gonggi, which is kind of like jacks, also came up. Tag and freeze tag were also games that Gi-hun wondered about. 

In a Korean-language article, Hwang said he considered two other games: Dong, Dong, Dongdaemun and Why Did You Come to My House? The former is much like London Bridge Is Falling Down, where players form a gate with their hands and catch a player when the song ends. The latter is similar to Red Rover, where players form a line by holding hands and others try to break through the line. It's possible he could revisit those games for new episodes.

One game will almost certainly have a giant robot doll overseeing it. Netflix revealed that Cheol-su, a male version of Young-hee, the Red Light Green Light doll from season 1, will be part of season 2. The network said, "You'll also be introduced to Young-hee's boyfriend, Cheol-su." This is sure to be a delightfully creepy addition. Young-hee was one of the most memorable images from the first season.

Whatever games are chosen, a second season almost certainly wouldn't repeat those from season 1 -- the surprise of learning the new game was a big part of each episode.

Squid Game 3?

Don't get too far ahead, as season 2 hasn't even aired yet, but Hwang already has plans for a third season. It was noted in the show that the Korean competition isn't the only one in the world, so a third season could be set elsewhere. Hwang even said that American actor Leonardo DiCaprio is a huge Squid Game fan and could be asked to join the cast.

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