The Squid Game Fan Theory That Changes Everything

It's been more than two months since "Squid Game" dropped on Netflix, and people are still talking about the South Korean survival drama series and hoping its 2nd season comes sooner rather than later. Just in case you've been living under a rock, the show centers on Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), a middle-aged man who's down on his luck — he's buried neck-deep in gambling debt, his ex-wife hates his guts and wants to take their daughter to the U.S. with her new husband, and he lives with his mother in a seeming state of poverty. Left with no other way to make things right for his loved ones, he joins a mysterious competition with 455 other men and women. Everything seems innocuous at first — play a series of children's games for a chance at 45.6 billion won ($38.5 million USD) in prize money. But as viewers soon find out, elimination from the games means death.

That's just the basic premise behind "Squid Game," though if you believe a certain reality show hoax, it may not be as original as you think. And while things seem pretty straightforward for the most part — lose a game, and you die in this twisted contest to win an unreal amount of money — the story takes some unexpected turns toward the end of the 1st season. Yet, there is one unconfirmed fan theory that adds another layer to the late-season twist, and it's one that could change everything we know about "Squid Game," specifically two of its main characters.

'Gi-hun, I am your father'

In the final episode of the 1st season of "Squid Game," we learn that Oh Il-nam (O Yeong-su), the frail old man with a brain tumor who seemingly got eliminated after Gi-hun beat him in marbles, is alive after all, though on his deathbed. Yes, he was indeed slowly dying when he played the games as contestant No. 001, but as Il-nam reveals to Gi-hun, he was the one who helped start the contest years ago for the amusement of himself and his rich buddies, a.k.a. the VIPs. GI-hun, now 45.6 billion won richer but miserable because of everything he went through, is disgusted by this revelation, to say the least. But TikTok user @ruthbellpan believes that there's more to Gi-hun's relationship with Il-nam than meets the eye. Could this be the series' answer to "Star Wars," where the big bad is actually the father of the main hero?

As she explains, there is a scene in Episode 3, "The Man with the Umbrella," where Gi-hun requests to have chocolate milk with his meal because he is lactose intolerant. Il-nam remarks that he must have gotten spanked a lot as a kid, and when Gi-hun asks the old man how he knew about that, Il-nam explains, "My son [got spanked] too. He was just like you, friend." Also, in Episode 6, "Gganbu," Il-nam gives Gi-hun his jacket because the guards and other non-contestants might "look down" on him if he wasn't wearing one. While one may think this is also because Gi-hun gave Il-nam his jacket in an earlier episode, this could be a case of paternal instinct at play, as Il-nam, being the mastermind behind it all, knows the guards won't shoot anyone wearing a jacket with "001" on it.

There are other hints that Il-nam and Gi-hun might be father and son

According to @ruthbellpan, there are a few other hints that back up the theory that Il-nam is Gi-hun's long-lost father. In the aforementioned 6th episode, Il-nam's condition appears to get the better of him, as he starts reminiscing incoherently about his younger days, including how the setting for the marble game resembles the neighborhood he used to live in. When the old man mentions this, Gi-hun comments that he also lived in a neighborhood like that, noting that his family's alleyway looked "very similar."

Lastly, in yet another example of details that most people might have missed during the first viewing, Il-nam asks at one point whether it's the 24th of the month, as his son's birthday isn't too far away. The first episode shows Gi-hun say that his birthday falls on the 26th while he's trying to withdraw some cash and desperately trying to remember his mother's PIN. Could "Squid Game" writer and director Hwang Dong-hyuk have fired Chekhov's gun with those two little details? We still cannot say for sure, but Hwang recently confirmed to the Associated Press (via Twitter) that "Squid Game" will be getting a second season — perhaps we'll find out then whether Gi-hun is Luke Skywalker to Il-nam's Darth Vader.