Squid Game Season 2 is Already Missing the Best Part of Season 1

The Netflix juggernaut is finally returning for another round — but it’s forgetting what made Squid Game such a hit in the first place.

It feels like a lifetime since Squid Game became Netflix’s biggest hit: even now, the streamer is working overtime to recreate the success of the dystopian drama. Countless series — not just from Squid Game’s native South Korea, but all over the world — have been presented as worthy successors to the series, but after almost two years of attempts, Squid Game still reigns supreme.

The demand for another life-or-death battle royale was so great that series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk had no choice but to return for a second season. There’s no telling how much longer fans will have to wait for the follow-up, but Hwang and co. are definitely hard at work, as Netflix’s recent casting announcement just confirmed.

Netflix unveiled a first look at Squid Game Season 2 at its global Tudum event. There, the streamer confirmed that the winner of the past game, Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), the game master known as the Front Man (Lee Byung-hun), detective Jun-ho (Wi Ha-jun), and Gong Yoo’s enigmatic Salesman would all be returning for another round. Netflix also introduced four new actors joining the game. Check out the casting announcement below.

Yim Si-wan (Run on), Kang Ha-neul (Forgotten), Park Sung-hoon (The Glory) and Yang Dong-geun (Cheer Up) join the Netflix series as players in an all-new Squid Game. Fans are undeniably excited to see movement on Season 2, but Netflix’s announcement does come with a concerning caveat: Where are all the women?

While Squid Game had no shortage of compelling characters across the board, it was the female characters that made the strongest impression in Squid Game. Model-turned-actress Jung Hoyeon gave one of the most gripping performances of the year as Kang Sae-byeok, the frosty North Korean refugee with a heart of gold. The connections Sae-byeok forged with Ji-yeong (Lee Yoo-mi) and even Gi-hun down the line supplied some of Squid Game’s most engrossing emotional moments. Other characters, like the boisterous Han Mi-nyeo (Kim Joo-ryoung), stole each scene they popped up in.

It wasn’t easy watching any of these characters meet their end, but Sae-byeok and Mi-nyeo’s deaths especially seemed to serve the central male narrative above all. It left a bad taste in the mouths of many fans, despite how flawless Squid Game might have been on the whole.

Ji-yeong (Lee Yoo-mi) and Sae-byeok (Jung Hoyeon) delivered two of Squid Game’s best performances — why isn’t Netflix looking to recreate that magic in Season 2?


Given the nature of the eponymous game that drives the series, few characters can feasibly return for Season 2. The four returning cast members are pretty much the only four that survived the events of the game (that is, if they were directly involved), but that doesn’t mean that Squid Game can’t recreate the magic that its female characters brought to the show in Season 1. Netflix really wants to match the success they found in 2021, but from the looks of things, they’re already stumbling in a major area.

Netflix, for their part, are already on top of the criticism. A spokesperson for the streamer spoke to Insider about the new season, and assured that Season 2 would feature female characters. That said, there’s no reason to wait to roll out those characters, especially given what women brought to Squid Game in its first season.

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