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The Il-Nam Theory That Would Completely Change Squid Game

The global phenomenon that is Netflix's intense drama series, "Squid Game," is still going strong, and remains on the streaming platform's top trending list over a month after it first premiered. The thrilling survival drama stars Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun, a man addicted to gambling who agrees to compete in a series of games in order to win cash prizes. Unbeknownst to him, the games are actually life-or-death competitions where the losers are killed.

At the beginning of "Squid Game," there are 456 players competing in the competition, and we meet several of them throughout the show's first season. One of the series' most intriguing players happens to be an elderly man known as Player 001, and we later learn his real name is Oh Il-nam (O Yeong-su). While Il-nam originally appears harmless, it turns out that he's actually much more involved in the games than we'd thought, and after taking a second look at the show, he has fans raising their eyebrows.

With that in mind, of the dozens of fan theories that would change "Squid Game" forever, there's an intriguing one that has to do specifically with Il-nam and his relationship to Gi-hun.

Is Il-nam the father of Gi-hun?

On Twitter, a "Squid Game" fan who goes by the handle @yoonyoonlover recently laid out their interesting theory regarding Il-nam and Gi-hun's true connection. The fan speculates that Il-nam could potentially be Gi-hun's father, who joined the game as a player in an effort to find his long-lost son. Another Twitter user also shared a TikTok highlighting some eye-opening moments in the show that help support the theory.

For instance, Il-nam says early in the series that Gi-hun must've gotten spanked a lot as a child, and when Gi-hun asks how he knows that, Il-nam says, "My son did too. He was just like you, friend." Additionally, before the show's tense marble game, Il-nam mentions that the scenery resembles the neighborhood he lived in as a child. Gi-hun responds by saying that it looks like his old neighborhood too. Finally, when Il-nam later asks what the current date is, he specifically asks if it's the 24th because his son's birthday is coming up. The TikTokker points out that, when Gi-hun enters his birthday as an ATM password earlier in the series, it reveals that he was born on the 26th, which means Il-nam could have been referring to Gi-hun's birthday.

Altogether, these Easter eggs and details force us to ask: Did Il-nam truly set up the competition as a way to cure his boredom, or was he trying to get in touch with his son, Gi-hun? Furthermore, is Gi-hun meant to become the next mastermind of the games?

Squid Game fans aren't sure if the theory holds up

While this theory is interesting and could definitely provide some extra drama in a hypothetical second season of "Squid Game," some fans aren't too sure it adds up. That's largely because it's unclear when Gi-hun's actual birthday is. In the show's first episode, he enters 0426 for his mother's pin number and then explicitly states it's his birthday. However, when he's on the phone with one of the game officials in the series' last episode, he says his birthday is October 31, 1974. Some fans have noted that the inconsistency in his birthday is likely either a continuity mistake, or has a hidden meaning that's yet to be revealed.

A Twitter user named @seedney shared their issues with the possible family connection, tweeting, "Would [Il-nam] not know if [Gi-hun] was his son?? if he did, why would he put his own son through so much? not to mention both of them could have died too in any of these games."

On the other hand, lots of "Squid Game" fans seem to agree with the theory. One Twitter user with the handle @hongchayoungs called it "mind-blowing," while @lydiacruz tweeted, "Omg this makes alot of sense and i want it to be true."

Hopefully, we'll get more answers if and when "Squid Game" Season 2 premieres.