‘Squid Game’: Director Had Two Alternate Endings… But There Was One Clear Answer

After nine riveting and gruesome episodes, Squid Game ended on a cliffhanger that left fans in shock. The Korean drama by Hwang Dong-hyuk centered around 456 players battling to the death for a cash prize, and there could only be one winner. Seong Gi-hun is victorious but surprised fans when he decided to re-enter the Game. Hwang reveals that he originally had two different endings for Squid Game.

Squid Game had many shocking twists and reveals until the very end. But, fans never expected Gi-hun to turn his back on his daughter and risk his life again in the Games. While fans may have hated the ending, the director’s decision to use the cliffhanger was a clear one and tied into the grander storyline he wanted to tell.

Seong Gi-hun character in 'Squid Game' ending scene talking on the phone with red hair.
Seong Gi-hun character in ‘Squid Game’ ending scene | via Netflix

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk almost used a ‘happily ever after’ ending for ‘Squid Game’

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hwang reveals Squid Game had an alternate ending for Gi-hun that would have drastically changed his life and outcome. If Gi-hun had never turned around and not boarded the plane, Hwang would have had Gi-hun see his daughter in America and possibly live a good life.

“We constantly asked ourselves, is it really right for Gi-hun to make the decision to leave and go see his family, to pursue his own happiness? Is that the right way for us to really propose the question or the message that we wanted to convey through the series?” said Hwang. In the end, the cliffhanger ending was a clear choice.

If Gi-hun had boarded the plane, the concept and message about greed, a broken society, and capitalism would not have been successful. “The question that we want to answer — why has the world come to what it is now? — can only be answered or can only be proposed if Gi-hun turned back and walked toward the camera. So that’s how we ended up with that ending in the finale,” said Hwang.

What does Gi-hun’s shocking decision mean for ‘Squid Game’?

Squid Game episode 9 had a lot of storylines to unpack and shocking twists to understand. Fans learn that Il-nam (Oh Yeong-su), Player 001, was the creator of the Games all along. There were subtle clues throughout the K-drama that teased his real identity. The meeting between Il-nam and Gi-hun further intensifies Gi-hun’s new outlook on the world. Only after the meeting that Gi-hun picks up his life, give away the money to people who need it, and decide to see his daughter.

But it all comes crashing down when Gi-hun sees the Salesman (Gong Yoo) across the train platform. It reawakens the underlying issue. The Games will continue to exist no matter the consequences or lives lost. Gi-hun was the only consistent moral character who never saught to use others for personal greed.

Knowing the horrors of the game, Gi-hun’s moral conscience can not live on and know his daughter lives in a dark and corrupted world. In the end, Gi-hun’s decision not to board the plane signifies his somewhat moral persona in a shockingly evil world.

How will Hwang Dong-hyuk’s cliffhanger ending play into Season 2?


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According to the Associated Press, Hwang confirms Gi-hun will return for Squid Game season 2. “I will promise you this, Gi-hun will be back, and he’ll do something for the world,” explained Hwang. This raises the question of how or where the new season will begin concerning the cliffhanger ending.

Fans on Reddit believe Gi-hun will likely try to gather intel and evidence about the Games and its grander operation. “I personally think it would be interesting if the main plot was Gi-Hun doing detective work on the season 1 villains and contestants presented in the form of flashbacks as he made discoveries that somehow help him make progress on exposing the games,” said one Redditor.

Gi-hun already has a good idea of how the infrastructure of the Games work and who is in charge. But the question remains if the new series of Games will still be based on Korean childhood games. Fans also wonder if Front Man’s backstory will be fleshed out and coincide with Gi-hun’s new mission.