Warning: Contains Spoilers
Squid Game: the words on everyone’s lips. The dystopian drama has left fans everywhere hooked, with those who’ve devoured the nine-episode series already coming up with their own theories about various aspects of the twisted thriller.
Straight from the mind of Hwang Dong-hyuk, Squid Game has soared to the top of Netflix’s ranks, and with it, a whole new breed of fan mania has spawned.
The action-packed show follows a group of penniless people who get recruited to compete in a series of childish games to bag a huge sum of cash. Although, the seemingly innocent playground games have a deadly spin: those who are ‘eliminated’ get killed.
Since binging their way through the series, fans have theorised about all sorts of things from foreshadowing deaths to the meaning of the players’ numbers, with some even going back and spotting hidden clues and easter eggs. But, one thing that remains an enigma is the masked guards – who are they and how did they get there?
One major theory that began swirling around the internet was that the players and workers are chosen based on which colour tile they selected when the anonymous salesman asked them to play in the subway – blue being player, red being worker. However, fans on Reddit have since debunked this theory, with one writing: ‘The card game theory isn’t true. Loom at Ep 1 38:25 the guy on the left chose a red card’.
With that theory seemingly off the table, Reddit users have begun offering up other theories surrounding how people get recruited as the gun-toting masked guards.
One of the most popular is that those who were in the first round of the game but chose not to come back are now working as guards. After the majority of players voted against continuing the game and returned to the outside world, 187 out of the 201 remaining players came back to compete, with the frontman saying to keep an eye on those who didn’t return. This has led a lot of fans to believe that those who didn’t return as players were invited back to work as staff to repay their debt, as well as this being a way to prevent whistleblowers from leaking what was going on within the mysterious island.
Another theory making its way around Reddit is that the guards are previous winners, with user alltheplants05 writing: ‘I actually thought they were past winners, just because you see how brutal the winners get and how much it can change you.’ We already know that the game master previously competed in the games, so the theory could hold some weight.
TikToker @danawang also shed light on this theory, pointing out that those who competed in the games are not exactly financially responsible, suggesting that after taking home the cash prize they ‘recklessly spent all of their prize money and are back to square one’. We already know they keep an eye on those in the outside world (they knew player 456 didn’t spend any of his prize money, for instance), and so may have approached those people again to join the game, but as a red masked guard instead.
Other fans think that since the guards appear very disciplined and clearly know their way around weapons, they may have been recruits from a prison or labour camp.
It’s clear there’s a lot of mystery surrounding exactly who the guards are and how they ended up working at the game, but there are no doubt some really good theories floating around.
Here’s hoping Dong-hyuk answers our prayers and gives us that much-needed second outing so we get our questions answered.
Squid Game is available to stream on Netflix now.