The SQUID GAME series is filled with many over-the-top deaths, challenges, and a significant twist ending that has a lot going on. Several fan theories regarding the show have surfaced due to the key revelations, including how Gi-Hun almost became a guard, his relationship with Il-Nam, The VIPs, and much more.
So, as the series progresses, we learn more about the Squid Game's establishment, including the guards and those in charge. Though the security that works in the compound seems like they're all part of the vast organization, they were selected much in the same way that all players were. In episode one, we encounter a mysterious character played by Gong Yoo, who offers Gi-Hun two choices. He can pick a red or blue card, and Gi-Hun goes with the latter, cementing which type of player he is in the game. Lucy.what1 on TikTok came up with the theory the other day that had Gi-Hun chosen the red card. He could've become a guard instead of the player that he was. If we're going deeper into this, then it's a possibility, and the guards themselves seem almost as trapped as the players at points. They sleep in cells and are killed for even revealing their faces, and though they seem like they're in control, we see from how they're treated that they have very little power. Similar to the players, they are given numbers, and this could highlight the similarities. They also have very little knowledge of what's going on and don't know who each other is. Everyone is kept in the dark so that they can leave the facility without really knowing what's going on. Therefore, it seems more like this might be a one-time thing for them, just like the players. It's an interesting one, and the more we learn about the game, the more it seems like the guards are almost just as powerless as the players, hinting towards this perhaps being the case.
We talked about all of the clues and hints that Gi-Hun was the one who was in control of the game. This included things like the file starting at two instead of 1, instructing the Front Man to end the riot, and the marbles modeled on his childhood home. The marbles one was where he faked his death, which enabled him to leave it before the numbers whittled down even further. Though it seemed like the perfect plan, it may have been a last-minute one, and it could be that he was never supposed to play it in the first place. Shoutouts Farheen Zaman theorized that Il-Nam didn't want to be picked for this, but Gi-Hun showed him compassion, and this is why he let him win and proceed to the next round. If we look at the day before, Il-Nam was incredibly ill, or at least he said he was. Throughout the games, he was pretty much seen as just a liability.
As the lead up to the marbles involved partnering up with people, he intended to come across so bad that no one would choose him. However, Gi-Hun did, and instead, 212 was the one that was left behind. Now I've been thinking about this since Farheen wrote it, and I think that the competition could've gone one of two ways from this point onwards. The first is that Il-Nam knew that not being picked in this meant he'd get a free pass to the next round. Because of this, he could purposely pretend to be ill in the hopes that no one would choose him, and he'd sail right through it. He doesn't make any effort even to get a partner, and it's clear that he just wanted to sit at the back and keep a low profile. The second option is that he could've used this opportunity to fake his death. When 212 is left behind initially, the show leads us to believe that she will be killed because she's the odd one out. However, she is saved, but I think it's possible that had Il-Nam been left behind at this point, he would've used it to make his exit. The glass hopping game is super unpredictable because you have to ensure that no one gets last place before you do. Still, you also have to hope that no one ends up pushing you through one like what we see. The guards were strict about killing every player who attacked another, but they seemed to completely wave it because it's all part of the game. Now it could also be because Il-Nam was no longer playing. Therefore they didn't need to have it in place for his safety, but either way, this is one of the most dangerous games to be a part of.
Anyway, the relationship between Gi-Hun and Il-Nam is a weird one. Though it seems like the Squid Game is some Willy Wonka-esque way to choose someone to take some of his fortunes, there may be other layers to it, and Il-Nam may be Gi-Hun's father. Now the first hint towards this is pretty surface level, but never the less, we need to talk about. Both Il-Nam and Gi-Hun are the first and last players of the game, and therefore their numbers have been put in place to highlight that they are opposites. This can be applied to several things, including Gi-Hun being a poor player while overseeing the entire operation. It doesn't bring anything to confirm that they are related. Still, the numbers are purposely picked to show us that something is tying the two together. Episode 3 gives us the first real big clue as in that we find out that Gi-Hun is lactose intolerant. He can't have the regular milk that the guards hand out, and therefore he requests chocolate instead. Il-Nam overhears this and says that he must have been beaten by his dad when he was younger because he used to do the same to his son. On a second viewing of the season, this line stands out a lot, and there's another one when the pair play marbles. The whole area is purposely meant to resemble a Korean Neighbourhood.
Though many of you pointed out that this doesn't mean anything, comments by the characters could. Not only does Il-Nam find an area that looks exactly like his home, but Gi-Hun also says that the alley next to it is very similar to where he grew up. It is possible that the pair are indeed related but that they became estranged throughout their life while Il-Nam was off playing Battle Royale. If that's certainly the case, then the entire game could have been a setup to test whether his son was worthy of taking over the mantle or not. The ending of the series has him inheriting Il-Nam's money and joining him on his death bed. Though it seems like the game dies with him, we learn in the final few scenes that it's still going, and Gi-Hun ends up abandoning his trip to LA to stop things from going ahead. But what if he doesn't and instead, he eventually ends up taking over everything. After all, Gi-Hun is now extremely rich, and he may end up facing the boredom that Il-Nam and the other VIPs do. We also see the idea of abandoning a child reflected in his stance at the end of the season. Gi-Hun was supposed to be traveling to LA to meet his daughter, but he's left her to get involved with the games instead. This could be the writers subtly hinting to us that something similar happened to Il-Nam and Gi-Hun. Perhaps he, too, was supposed to go and get his son. Still, his path took him a different way, and instead, he ended up abandoning him to set up the games, which would be reflected by Gi-Hun, who is now doing the same thing.
The next one isn't so much a theory as it is a comment on us as an audience and how we are very similar to the VIPs. Ovol1ty left a comment discussing how they operate, and in many ways, we are very much the same as them. In the season they arrive, lounge around as an audience and watch the players die for their entertainment. Though we're meant to look down on them, we are doing something as well. As much as the show was a shock to the system, we enjoyed it just as much as they do, and similar to them, we're anonymous to each other. We are very much the eyes of the VIPs, sat in our own homes, seeing the games play out before our very eyes.
The final theory centers around the Front Man, who we learn to control the game while Il-Nam plays in it. We know very little about the character beyond the fact that he's Hwang Jun Ho's brother and disappeared in 2015. Episode 5 ends with Hwang Jun-Ho coming across a filing system that contains all of the player profiles. He finds what likely is his brothers, and therefore we can guess that he too was a part of the process. Because he's still alive, he probably won it. It is possible that he became an overseer in the system, much like our theory for Gi-Hun's future. I've brought this up because it clearly shows that there is precedent for winning players for taking part in an authority role. Therefore it could easily to Gi-Hun following in his footsteps. I think it would be even wilder if it turned out that Gi-Hun, Hwang Jun Ho, and The Front Man were all in some way related to Il-Nam and that they had been put through their paces by their father to see if they were worthy enough to inherit the game.