Shares of a South Korean company linked to the star of the Netflix hit Squid Game have skyrocketed after it was revealed the show would return to the streaming service for a second season.
Hwang Dong-hyuk, director, writer, and executive producer of Squid Game, announced in a letter on Netflix’s website Sunday that the series would be returning.
“Season 2 is coming,” he said. “Join us once more for a whole new round.”
Main character Gi-hun—played by Lee Jung-jae—will be returning, Hwang revealed, and audiences will be introduced to the “boyfriend” of animatronic giant doll Young-hee.
On the back of the news, Bucket Studio Co.—a South Korean company that owns a stake in the agency representing Lee Jung-jae, according to Bloomberg—saw its stock surge by around 30% Monday.
Second season teases
In his announcement of the second season, Hwang Dong-hyuk also teased that “the Front Man returns” and “the man in the suit with ddakji might be back,” referring to two of the characters who organize and oversee the games.
“It took 12 years to bring the first season of Squid Game to life last year,” Hwang said. “But it took 12 days for Squid Game to become the most popular Netflix series ever.”
He did not give any details as to when Squid Game would be returning to screens.
Netflix tough times
Netflix, which saw growth surge in 2020 as COVID lockdowns helped the company win its biggest-ever year of growth, has struggled to maintain momentum as households are no longer homebound and many markets face the impact of surging inflation on household spending.
Last month, the streaming giant said it was laying off around 150 employees following an unexpected loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of this year.
The company added that it was forecasting a loss of 2 million more subscribers in the second quarter.
Squid Game became Netflix’s biggest series launch ever last year after attracting 111 million viewers within a month of its release.
The show, which followed contestants competing in a series of deadly tasks inspired by Korean children’s games, prompted other streaming giants, including Disney, to look to international markets for new productions.
Its protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, is a divorced gambler who enters the competition in hopes of winning a prize fund of 45.6 billion won—around $35.4 million at today’s exchange rate.
Netflix shares were down by around 5% in premarket trading amid an overall market selloff on Monday.