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


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" seasons featured a cast 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, Heroes vs. Villains. This season divided the returnees based on the 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 have contributed to the evolution of Survivor strategy and game play.

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 were the iterations of this format.

One Returnee per Tribe

This format featured 2-3 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.

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. 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 can opt to replace their partner who is currently on Redemption Island before a duel takes place, thus allowing their partner to take their place in the tribe.

Returning Players by Season

Season Returned to Future Season Season Returned to Future Season
Borneo 60px60px60px
SurvivorAustraliaLogo 60px60px60px
Africa NB 60px60px60px Marquesas NB 60px60px
ThailandTransparentLogo 60px Amazon NB 60px60px
SurvivorPearlIslandsLogo 60px60px
SurvivorAllStarsLogo 60px60px
Vanuatu NB 60px60px Palau NB 60px60px60px
GuatemalaLogo 60px PanamaLogo 60px60px
SurvivorCookIslandsLogo 60px60px
SurvivorFijiLogo 60px
ChinaLogo 60px60px
MicronesiaLogo 60px60px
GabonLogo 60px60px60px TocantinsLogo 60px60px
SamoaLogo 60px60px
HvVLogo 60px60px60px
NicaraguaLogo 60px RedemptionIslandLogo 60px60px60px
SouthPacificLogo 60px60px
OneWorldLogo 60px60px
PhilippinesLogo 60px60px CaramoanLogo 60px60px
BvWLogo 60px60px60px CagayanLogo 60px60px60px
SJDSLogo S29 jeremy tS29 keith tS29 kelley t WALogo S30 hali tS30 joe t
S30 shirin tS30 sierra t
Survivor31logo S31 ciera tS31 jeff t Survivor kaoh rong logo S32 aubry tS32 caleb t
S32 debbie tS32 tai t
Survivor 33 Logo S33 michaela tS33 zeke t Survivor 34 Logo None
Survivor 35 Logo Upcoming Season



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