The latest K-Drama we’re all obsessed with right now is tvN and Netflix‘s Twenty Five Twenty One. One may say it’s too soon to say that it’s perfect as it’s just halfway through. Yet, the storyline and cinematography, along with lovable leads, make it hard not to declare it as a favorite already.
Fans worldwide especially have fallen more in love with actor Nam Joo Hyuk who portrays Baek Yi Jin (sometimes romanized as Back Yi Jin). Despite coming from a rich family and being ultra-popular when he was a student at Taeyang High School, he is kind, approachable, and sympathetic.
After the IMF crisis (the International Monetary Fund), his family goes bankrupt. Consequently, they separate, and Yi Jin takes on any job he can find before ultimately becoming a reporter.
By May 1998, 80% of households had suffered from lower incomes. Unemployment more than tripled from 2.05% in 1997 to 6.96% in 1999. South Koreans participated in a gold collecting campaign in the hopes of paying off the loans. Approximately one-quarter of the nation’s population participated in the campaign from all social classes, selling gold such as wedding bands and sports medals. $2.2 billion was raised from the gold campaign.
He also meets student and national fencing athlete Na Hee Do (played by Kim Tae Ri) during this time. She not only transfers to his old school, but they live in the same neighborhood, so develop a friendship that has the potential for more…
While we can’t imagine anyone else portraying Baek Yi Jin but Nam Joo Hyuk, there may soon come a day that another actor takes on the role. You see, Twenty Five Twenty One alternates between the past and present day.
We’ve already met several characters’ younger and older versions as the drama began with Kim Min Chae (The King’s Affection‘s Choi Myung Bin), who quits ballet, discouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic. She then runs away to her grandmother’s (Seo Jae Hee) house, where she ends up going through her mother’s items, including a journal, from when she was a teenager in 1998. Most of the show focuses on the mom, Na Hee Do, played by Kim Tae Ri, in flashbacks as Min Chae reads about her mom.
In a time when dreams seem out of reach, a teen fencer pursues big ambitions and meets a hardworking young man who seeks to rebuild his life.
However, viewers are still confused about the present-day relationship of Yi Jin and Hee Do. We know Hee Do’s father is still alive but not living with them right now, causing one to wonder whether the parents are still married or not or it’s simply for work. Yi Jin is certainly not Min Chae’s father as they not only don’t share the same surname, but she didn’t recognize him in old photos she found.
— :))#Semanticerror (@soheetiful) February 20, 2022
Yet, we know an older Yi Jin will be introduced at some time as they’ve already mentioned him in present-day scenes. In Episode 4, Hee Do reminisced with her mom, Shin Jae Kyung, looking at an old photograph of her friend group from when they were young. Jae Kyung then revealed she “met him” recently.
Na Hee Do: We all look so young.
Shin Jae Kyung: At the time, I thought Yi Jin looked pretty mature. But now that I look at this, he was just a kid.
Na Hee Do: He was only 22 back then.
Shin Jae Kyung: I met him last month. I can’t believe how much time has passed.
Considering Kim So Hyun portrays the adult version of Hee Do while Kim Tae Ri portrays the teenage version, one wonders who will portray the older Baek Yi Jin. Fans already have some ideas, and there’s one name at the top of everyone’s list…
It’s none other than Gong Yoo.
There are a lot of great reasons why he is a likely candidate. For starters, he appears in several Netflix series at this time, such as Squid Game and The Silent Sea. Not to mention he’s nearly the perfect age to portray the older Baek Yi Jin.
That’s not all, though. Recently, Gong Yoo shared some adorable photos watching Twenty Five Twenty One, particularly on a shot of Nam Joon Hyuk.
Initially, fans of the actors just thought it was simply the case of a senior supporting his dongsaeng as they are both currently under the same agency Management SOOP. Similarly, Gong Yoo had shared photos as he watched Our Beloved Summer, starring fellow labelmate Choi Woo Shik.
Still, Twenty Five Twenty One fans took Gong Yoo’s post as a hint and potential spoiler… As a result, some remain convinced that this meant that he has signed on to play the older version of Baek Yi Jin.
I'VE READ SOMEWHERE THAT THIS POST WAS A SIGN/CLUE OF GONG YOO THAT HE WILL PLAY THE OLDER VERSION OG BAEK YIJIN!!
IDK IF IT'S TRUE BUT IT'S DEFINITELY ROCKING MY HEART!!#TwentyFiveTwentyOne pic.twitter.com/QZh3CWazLG
— kdramamode♈ (@ssnorlaxz) March 5, 2022
— 𝐬𝐡𝐚𝐧 (@shanxeditss) March 8, 2022
— sonzd 🐐🍅✨❣️BinJin 👰🏻♀️💍🙏🏽🇺🇦✊🏾 (@sonzd) March 8, 2022
I really want this to be like a hint for things to come but I fine with it just being a cute ig pic lol gongyoo namjoohyuk pic.twitter.com/uEuUJsGuv4
— ⁶⁶ NUNE ₀₀ ❤︎ ¹⁰ ₘᵢₗᵢₜₐᵣᵧ𝓌ᵢ𝒻ₑ² (@nunu_nune00) February 20, 2022
Of course, we don’t want to get our hopes up as it seems too good to be true. Yet, all signs favor Gong Yoo appearing in Twenty Five Twenty One.
Whether Gong Yoo portrays Baek Yi Jin or not, it seems likely that he could have a cameo role in some way or another. One fan suggested that he might be Mr. Kim, a.k.a. Min Chae’s (Hee Do’s daughter) father.
Kim Shin – Gong Yoo
If Grim Reaper (Lee DongWook) has appeared as cameo on Kwon Do Eun's 'Search: WWW' (she's assistant writer for Goblin, LDW did cameo to support her), now it's The Goblin turn for #TwentyFiveTwentyOne.
Gong Yoo also in same management, Soop, with Nam Joo Hyuk pic.twitter.com/ie3ZBPbKjH
— Touché by Tae Ri (@taeri_yeosin) March 8, 2022
Who do you think will play these characters?
Read more about Gong Yoo and Nam Joo Hyuk below: