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Returning Player seasons offer the opportunity to former contestants to play the game of Survivor again.

Origins[]

The idea of former players returning originally occurred in Survivor: All-Stars. Executive Producer Mark Burnett wanted to showcase "the best of the best" after the ratings increase of Survivor: Pearl Islands. During pre-production for All-Stars, Burnett wrote down the series' most likable, villainous, and memorable players on a legal pad and shortlisted eighteen names within minutes.

All-Stars[]

"All-Stars" seasons feature casts comprised entirely of returning players. The eponymous season, All-Stars, saw 18 returnees divided into three competing tribes.

The All-Stars twist was revived for the ten-year anniversary season, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. This season divided the returnees based on their heroic or villainous reputations.

Survivor: Cambodia featured a "Second Chance" theme, consisting of contestants who played only once and lost; and its cast was entirely chosen by viewers through an online poll.

Survivor: Game Changers featured former contestants who contributed to the evolution of Survivor strategy and gameplay.

Survivor: Winners at War, the twenty-year anniversary season, consisted of former Sole Survivors returning to try and win for their second (or third) time.

Fans vs. Favorites[]

Although initially intending to produce a second all-stars season, Burnett pushed for Survivor to experiment with different twists in their 16th season. The result was the "Fans vs. Favorites" twist that saw a tribe of ten returning players pitted against a tribe of ten "superfans". Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Caramoan both utilized this format.

One Returnee per Tribe[]

Also informally known as the "Captains" format, this format features two to three former castaways, each being assigned to a tribe of new players. Survivor: Guatemala, Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: South Pacific, and Survivor: Philippines followed this format.

Survivor: Edge of Extinction expanded on this format, bringing back four former castaways and assigning two to each tribe of new players. Meanwhile, Survivor 45 went in the opposite direction, giving one former castaway a second chance after being medically evacuated on the very first day of Survivor 44, where he was the only returning player on the entire cast, and by extension his tribe as well.

Blood vs. Water[]

Another type of "Returnees vs. New Players" format is the couples format, where returnees would compete against people they personally know. It was first used in Survivor: Blood vs. Water, where ten returning castaways would compete against their loved ones, similar to the "Fans vs. Favorites" format. However, each castaway would compete individually, so a castaway would still be in the game even after their partner was voted out. The twist would play its part when a castaway could opt to replace their partner on Redemption Island before a duel took place, thus allowing their partner to take their place on their tribe. While the Blood vs. Water twist would return in Survivor: San Juan del Sur, it was done with all new players and no Redemption Island.

Returning Players by Season[]

Season Returned from Season Season Returned from Season
Borneo S1 gervase tS1 jenna tS1 kelly t
S1 richard tS1 rudy tS1 susan t
SurvivorAustraliaLogo S2 alicia tS2 amber tS2 colby tS2 jeff t
S2 jerri tS2 kimmi tS2 michael tS2 tina t
Africa NB S3 ethan tS3 lex tS3 tom t Marquesas NB S4 kathy tS4 rob t
ThailandTransparentLogo S5 shiiann t Amazon NB S6 jenna tS6 rob t
SurvivorPearlIslandsLogo S7 andrew tS7 jon tS7 rupert tS7 sandra t SurvivorAllStarsLogo S8 amber tS8 colby tS8 ethan t
S8 jerri tS8 robm tS8 rupert tS8 tina t
Vanuatu NB S9 ami tS9 eliza t Palau NB S10 bobbyjon tS10 stephenie tS10 tom t
GuatemalaLogo S11 danni tS11 stephenie t PanamaLogo S12 aras tS12 cirie tS12 danielle tS12 terry t
SurvivorCookIslandsLogo S13 candice tS13 jonathan t
S13 ozzy tS13 parvati tS13 yul t
SurvivorFijiLogo S14 yauman t
ChinaLogo S15 amanda tS15 courtney tS15 james tS15 peihgee t MicronesiaLogo S16 amanda tS16 cirie tS16 erik t
S16 james tS16 jonathan tS16 ozzy tS16 parvati t
GabonLogo S17 corinne tS17 randy tS17 sugar t TocantinsLogo S18 coach tS18 jt tS18 stephen tS18 tyson t
SamoaLogo S19 laura tS19 monica tS19 russellh tS19 russells t HvVLogo S20 candice tS20 cirie tS20 coach t
S20 jt tS20 parvati tS20 rob tS20 rupert t
S20 russell tS20 sandra tS20 tyson t
NicaraguaLogo S21 brenda t RedemptionIslandLogo S22 andrea tS22 francesca tS22 phillip tS22 rob t
SouthPacificLogo S23 brandon tS23 cochran t
S23 dawn tS23 ozzy tS23 sophie t
OneWorldLogo S24 colton tS24 kat t
S24 kim tS24 monica tS24 troyzan t
PhilippinesLogo S25 abimaria tS25 denise tS25 malcolm t CaramoanLogo S26 andrea tS26 malcolm t
BvWLogo S27 brad tS27 ciera tS27 tyson tS27 vytas t CagayanLogo S28 kass tS28 sarah tS28 spencer t
S28 tasha tS28 tony tS28 woo t
SJDSLogo S29 jeremy tS29 keith tS29 kelley tS29 natalie t WALogo S30 hali tS30 joe tS30 shirin tS30 sierra t
Survivor31logo S31 ciera tS31 jeff t
S31 jeremy tS31 joe tS31 kelley t
Survivor kaoh rong logo S32 aubry tS32 caleb t
S32 debbie tS32 michele tS32 tai t
Survivor 33 Logo S33 adam tS33 david tS33 michaela tZeke Smith t Survivor 34 Logo S34 aubry tS34 sandra tS34 sarah tS34 tony t
Survivor 35 Logo S35 ben t Survivor 36 Logo S36 wendell t
Survivor 37 Logo S37 nick t Survivor 38 Logo None
Survivor Island of the Idols logo None Winners at War Logo None
Survivor 41 Logo None Survivor 42 Logo None
Survivor 43 logo None Survivor 44 logo S44 bruce t
Survivor 45 logo None Survivor 46 Logo None
Survivor 47 Logo Upcoming Season

List of Returning Players from Foreign Versions[]

For lists of returning players from respective international franchises, refer to the following articles:

Trivia[]

Seasons and Twists[]

References[]

Survivor Gameplay
Challenges Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction
Elimination Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Null Vote · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor (Perfect Game) · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn
Strategy Alliance · Goat Strategy · Pagonging · Split Vote
Social Dynamics Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe
Twists Casting Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity
Tribal Council Advantage Amulet · Do or Die · Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Legacy Advantage · Knowledge is Power · Safety Without Power · Shot in the Dark · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal
Game Mechanics Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Earn the Merge · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Hourglass · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · Summit · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch
Post-Game Contestants on other programs · Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show
Miscellaneous Buff · Camp · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging
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