As fans of the global K-drama phenomenon await its sequel’s return in 2024, Squid Game 2’s anticipated premiere has been overshadowed by uncertain clouds of doubt. The original Netflix series had come out on the streaming platform in 2021. Thus, introducing new fears and fan-favourite actors who’d otherwise stayed hidden under the shield of being underrated before.
The Emmy award-winning Korean series has been teasing the upcoming premiere of the second chapter for the past few days. Video and photo previews for the new season have taken over social media, boasting yet another explosive season starring Lee Jung Jae, Gong Yoo, Lee Byung Hyun and others.
However the good news has been eclipsed by the shroud of emerging controversies. Not one, but one too many.
Watch the Squid Game 2 premiere preview:
Squid Game 2 controversies explained
Squid Game 2 controversy around the casting of Choi Seung Hyun aka TOP
South Korean media outlet Xports News has brought to light how controversial Choi Seung Hyun aka rapper TOP’s involvement with the series is. He was previously convicted for using marijuana, in addition to workplace bullying allegations also arising against his name.
Post his 2017 suspended prison sentence for marijuana use, he brought up the idea of retiring from his post in the entertainment industry. A heated debate kicked off when the news of his return as a leading contributor to Squid Game made it to the public. This in turn put leading man Lee Jung Jae‘s position under fire due to his connections to TOP, and the resulting alleged role of casting influences in this case.
Taking these allegations in stride, Jung Jae’s representatives reiterated that casting authority went beyond the actor’s influence as it was undertaken by the director and the production company. Netflix also confirmed that casting decisions are handled by creators and are based on creative intent.
Squid Game Season 2 staff controversy
While the aforementioned issue was yet to subside, a new crossfire came to light when other allegations against the filming staff took centre stage. A July post on an online community captioned, “Saw a ‘Squid Game 2’ staff yesterday who thought shooting was a privilege” listed a case of mistreatment by the staff members.
The post mentioned a case of rude behaviour exhibited by the employee at Incheon Airport in South Korea. In further response to that, the Squid Game 2 team extended their apology while addressing the inconvenience caused.
Squid Game isn’t the first Netflix series to have been wrapped up in such controversies. In 2023, action Kdrama Bloodhounds hit the streaming platform, but not after facing its own share of inconveniences. The series premiere hit a wall when actress Kim Sae Ron was taken to court for driving under the influence of alcohol just as Bloodhounds was completing its final stages of filming.
Since she played a significant role in the series, the initial half of the show features her. However, her part is abruptly dropped in the latter story of the show also starring Woo Do Hwan and Lee Sang Yi. Director Kim Joo Hwan had to edit the show to minimise Kim Sae Ron’s appearance therein.
Does this mean that Squid Game Season 2 will also be subjected to similar changes? Only time will tell.