Alex is known as an impulsive, street-wise, and hands-on type of person and fighter. His grappling skills and overall talent led him to be taken notice by both F.A.N.G. and Gill, both of whom deem him a worthy subject for experimentation. As a wrestler, he learned his trade from his best friend and father figure, Tom, whose injuries by the hands of Gill in a one-sided fight led Alex to confront the ice and fire leader of the Illuminati. However, the reason why Tom fought Gill has never been revealed; the only thing we know for sure is what Tom himself told Alex: that Gill won in a fair fight. Looking up the little information we have on Tom, an interesting pattern starts to emerge, one that has left an impact not just on Tom and Alex, but on the entire story of Street Fighter.
The overarching question, as stated, is why Tom would even want to fight Gill in the first place. Based on the links I found, the most likely answer is that it wasn’t Gill he wanted to confront. This was completely circumstantial, and based on Tom’s reaction to Alex wanting revenge, it likely turned out the two had a severe disagreement over something. But what?
The answer isn’t something, but someone. That someone was Kolin.
The reason that Tom and Gill fought at all was because Kolin was the one Tom wanted to confront. Gill, as Kolin’s hero and guardian, had to step in to protect her from Tom’s wrath. Kolin’s personality is one of deception, cruelty, and paranoia, but these traits alone are not the reason why Tom wanted to fight her. The real reason lays in one of the biggest story threads in the entire series.
Tom’s martial arts training originated in his military career. However, he was forced out due to a “certain incident” (as the Fandom wiki on Tom states), which led him to begin a gym in New York. It was never explained in-game or anywhere else what this incident was, but there is one incident involving the military that is one of the major plot points in Street Fighter: the betrayal and murder of Charlie Nash.
Was Tom somehow involved in Nash’s murder? With the links I’ve found, the answer is yes. First of all, while likely never having met Nash before, it’s canon that he was aware of Nash’s (and Guile’s) existence being a fellow military man, and was also aware of Nash’s incidents involving internal affairs. Second, while Tom was primarily a grappler himself, Capcom gave a huge hint to who Tom was by basing his looks off of professional actor Jean Reno: Tom was a marksman; Jean Reno’s most famous role is that of the mafia hitman Leon in the movie “The Professional,” and the character Leon’s expertise was in firearms. After putting these clues together, it leads to a very shocking and plausible conclusion:
Tom was the one who shot Nash in his Street Fighter Alpha 2 ending.
What was the reason? Why would he kill a man he most certainly never met before and, more importantly, was a brother-in-arms as a fellow U.S. soldier? Quite simply, he was under orders.
“Wait!,” you say. “There’s a hole in this theory! We see a Shadaloo soldier with a gun in Charlie’s ending! Are you saying that’s Tom? It doesn’t even look like him!” No. Take a closer look at the ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISHyYnlBQzs
While the grunt is implied to be the one who shot Nash, keep in mind that Charlie was shot by the HELICOPTER’S artillery shells. It’s likely only someone with a keen eye for marksmanship could have hit ONLY Charlie, and not the ground or Bison, with those kinds of bullets (and if you’re a scholar in helicopter artillery, please feel free to give me your take on this). Also, in the final panel of the ending, note that the helicopter is still in the air and hovering. This means there was at least a second, unseen person in the helicopter piloting it.
That person was Tom.
“So, are you saying Tom has been working for Shadaloo?” No. He was never a member of Shadaloo. He was a member of the U.S. military, and since it was infiltrated by Shadaloo, he had no choice but to go along for the ride. However, they didn’t put a gun to his head – he was there to make sure the mission was fulfilled, and was requested to go by someone else: Kolin.
That’s right: Tom was a member of the Illuminati, and Kolin gave him the order to kill Nash.
Here’s how the sequence of events went:
1) Nash finds out Bison’s location and orders a helicopter to meet him at the waterfall, unaware of the impending betrayal and ambush.
2) Kolin orders Tom to go with the Shadaloo grunt seen in Charlie’s ending as back-up and marksman. The reason she gives? Charlie is in the way of the Illuminati’s plans.
3) The other Shadaloo soldier on the helicopter is unaware of Tom’s membership with the Illuminati, thinking him to be a fellow Shadaloo soldier, and Tom, who as a skilled soldier likely has some flight training under his belt, is the pilot and gunner for the mission.
4) Charlie’s ending in Street Fighter Alpha 2 happens. The Shadaloo soldier on board disembarks from the chopper. Tom stays aboard. Bison can not see the person on board, and so doesn’t know that the pilot is not one of his soldiers.
Now here’s where things get interesting. After this “certain incident,” Tom, being an active part of this mission, begins to feel regret of killing one of his fellow soldiers. At first, his awareness of Nash being somewhat of a problem child in the military was his excuse, but the guilt begins to catch up with him. After confessing to his superiors, ones who have not been corrupted by Shadaloo’s influence, they court-martial him and dishonorably discharge him without further punishment to prevent a scandal from breaking out.
The guilt Tom feels eats away at him. Then he soon finds out the real reason why Kolin wanted Nash dead: to revive him and use him as a pawn to further her own goals. This pushes Tom to the breaking point, and he angrily confronts Kolin, wanting to kill her. Gill intrudes, and then the story of Street Fighter III happens.
The final piece of this puzzle is if there’s proof in game that Tom was once a member of the Illuminati. There is: when Alex asks Urien if he knows who Tom is. This wasn’t just an off-the-cuff question: Alex KNOWS Tom was in the Illuminati! Tom is far too common a name to ask any random person if they know who he is. He knows Urien is in the Illuminati, and by asking him that simple question, and Urien giving his flustered answer, it gives Alex all the proof he needs to know he’s on the right track.
With this said, there is one other piece of information that ties into Alex. Tom was a close friend of Alex’s father, and as such, it’s also likely Alex’s father and mother were also both in the Illuminati. If this is true, it would answer the question of why Gill is so interested in Alex: he was born from Illuminati followers.
Guess what they did in the Udon comics? They went with that storyline. He was the descendent of a “renegade sect” of the Illuminati and carries the genes needed to become leader (you can find that in Alex’s Fandom wiki article).
There is one small detail that may confirm this. It is implied that the face paint Alex uses is a way to conceal the scar on his right cheek he received in his battle with F.A.N.G’s simulation of Ryu (again, this is suggested on Alex’s Fandom wiki page). If this is true, then why would he put it on both sides of his face? Simple: it’s a sense of balance, and it is that type of balance that is the key to being the perfect leader for the Illuminati. Gill has the same sense of balance, as both his ice and fire powers are perfectly divided in his body, with ice on the left side and fire on the right side.
Guess whose body Gill takes over in the comics?