Over the years Survivor has given many of our favorite or the most notable players a second, third, or even fourth chance at playing this amazing game. But while half of Australia’s cast has returned at some point, no original player from Guatemala has appeared since that season. Some seasons don't have much more quality returning players to offer while some have quite a few decent choices who would love to play a second time. This week Ivan from Cali recaps his top 10 season that have supreme potential for players to return for a second chance.
Each season’s cast I’ve divided into 3 categories
Likely: Players that seem to be on the radar of casting crew or a strong fan movement in support of them.
Long Shot: Not as likely choices as the likely group but still have some sort of chance.
Honorable Mention: Possibly have a chance but likely are lower in the totem pole of overall options. Or simply a player I’d like to see again but I’m not sure too many other people feel the same way.
Nicaragua gets mixed reviews to this day by the Survivor fan base. Some consider it a bad season, some think of it as a good season disguised as a bad season courtesy of Heroes vs Villains’ huge shadow. Some say it is predictable and boring, others note the shifts and power and several key moments they remember this season by. However, there’s many players from this season that merit a return. The final 4 of this season, which itself is polarizing as many people love or hate this final 4, is a good place to start. No one has really played a game quite like Fabio has, even though players who have come since such as Jay or Woo have been advertised or predicted as the next Fabio.
Holly had an interesting story arc, while both Sash and Chase played cutthroat games, though one of them was more aware and less apologetic/doubtful about it as the other. I see Marty’s name get tossed around a lot as an underrated player. To me he is like a modern John Carroll only Marty’s game was flipped around much earlier and he knew it. Even though he didn’t appear in the second chance ballot, if the producer’s favorites include the likes of Jim Rice and Max Dawson, surely Marty can’t be that far away. Fan Favorite Jane and even Doctor Jill would be welcome additions to another season.
Likeliest Candidates: Marty, Holly, Fabio
Long Shot: Chase, Sash, Jane
Honorable Mention: Jill
We’ve already had the Tagi 4, Gervase, and Jenna comeback. Colleen’s been asked back and I don’t think any pre merge Borneo player would be interested even if they were chosen (not that Stacey would be chosen). But even still, this remaining trio of Sean, Greg, and Gretchen would be three very interesting players if they appeared in a new season. While Richard’s strategy was the foundation of modern Survivor strategy, Sean’s strategy was on the losing end of this form of darwinism. How will he play a second time? Greg was an interesting character his first season and I would like to see his approach now. I am not even sure if Gretchen is interested, but as the first post merge boot and probably even the first blindside, there would be some storyline opportunities there.
Likeliest Candidates: Sean, Greg
Long Shot: Gretchen
8. Pearl Islands
Like Borneo, we’ve already exported the major personalities from this season into new ones, including Cambodia contestant Andrew Savage. However, why not have Christa and Burton back? I know with Savage’s return some people are sick of hearing about the Outcast twist, but it offers an even more intriguing storyline for Burton. He would probably play hard right away to prevent history from repeating itself, which could either see Burton make a quick exit or go far in the game without a second life. Little did Christa know she was the third member of an alliance that would produce two of the show’s most recognizable characters. I think she deserves a chance to carve her own legacy aside from just being in an alliance with Rupert and Sandra. Darrah would definitely be a long shot and she is a more quiet player, but it would be interesting to see her play again. From Ryan (Rhino)’s social media presence he seems like he’s raring to go again and I know Savage would glad advocate for either Darrah or Rhino to appear again. Lill, not so much. Whether you’re a fan of hers or not, a lot of what went on in Pearl Islands was linked to Lill and she did grow during her time on the show, but based on controversy and her age she doesn’t seem like a safe bet to see again.
Likely Candidates: Christa, Burton
Honorable Mention: Ryan O, Lill
Coby is one of the most active Survivor alumni on social media, and if the Survivor fan base loved Jeff Varner in his return appearance, they’ll likely do the same for Coby when and if he plays again, which I really hope happens. Aside from Coby, the other members of Tom’s majority alliance deserve some love as well. Gregg, Ian, and Katie all played certain parts of the game well and provide different personality types that could be good contributions to future seasons.
Ian especially would have an interesting storyline: would he be haunted by Tom like how Fishbach frequently references JT in Cambodia? Speaking of second chances, though the entire Ulong tribe would love another chance after being part of that disastrous tribe, Angie definitely deserves one. She grew a lot from her first time playing the game, and I think she would be fun to have back again, like Kimmi or if she’s lucky maybe even like Kelly Wentworth. Wanda and Jonathan are controversial choices, but then again in an alternate universe, they replace Stephenie and Bobby Jon as the final members of the Guatemala cast, so it’s certainly worth thinking about, but definitely a long shot
Likeliest Candidate: Coby
Long Shots: Katie, Ian, Gregg
Honorable Mention: Wanda, Jonathan, Angie
I know we just had 4 Cagayan returning players, but about half of the remaining 14 would still be good ones to see again. Tony is self explanatory, he provided on all levels during his run in Survivor: Cagayan. Could he pull it off again? Whether or not he does, T.V. will give us more quality TV. Trish was not expected to be a strategic force in this season, but she pulled off some good moves before being blindsided and she would be capable in another season as well.
I know Brice and J’Tia did not last long but during their time they had some good personalities that contributed and from what I’ve heard, they could be prime second chance candidates if the idea is ever used again. Sarah and LJ were central to many storylines before their time was cut short, and Jeremiah gets lost under some of the bigger characters but I think he has potential and would be a good person to have come back again.
Teresa unfortunately could not get the votes to get onto Cambodia, but I hope somehow there’s a spot for her in the next returning player season. She is a sweetheart as Survivor Africa fans know, but she is an underrated player as well. There’s always talk about bringing Silas back, the first person to be voted out following a tribe swap. There’s just a second chapter waiting to be written there, and I think being several years older will probably serve Silas well.
Those two alone propel this season up to number 5 on this list but it would be wrong to write off Kelly and Brandon. They were certainly interesting personalities with some potential, and like Silas they’ve grown and matured a lot since they last played so it would be interesting to see if that helps or hurts them.
Likeliest Candidates: Silas, Teresa
Long Shot: Kelly
Honorable Mention: Brandon
4. The Amazon
This is not a mistake. I seriously think the entire jury and final 2 of Amazon should play a second season. This could have been such a boring season with a boring pagonging, but instead we had multiple power shifts, a lot of players vying for power, and some hilarious and random moments along the way.
If Heidi and Matthew come back again, everyone else better watch out. Heidi will be inspired by her friend Jenna to win like Jenna managed to do, and Matthew has more of his lessons learned from Rob to implement. Deena, Alex, and Christy all got too comfortable after playing well to get as far as they did. So they probably learned a lot and would love to play again. Dave and Butch probably won’t be coming back, but for some reason I have a soft spot for the rocket scientist and Principle “Believe in Yourself/Firewood Collecting Champion”.
Likeliest Candidates: Heidi, Matthew
Long Shots: Deena, Alex, Christy
Honorable Mentions: Dave, Butch
31 seasons and we haven’t seen any of these players since their debut season. That is a Survivor crime. Danni played a great game and it wasn’t textbook Survivor. She simply adapted, hid her game, and kept a calm mind. She didn’t do anything flashy but she did not have to. Definitely would be a great player to see again.
Judd and Jamie’s personalities as well as their gameplay merit a second take as well. Gary Hogeboom-Hawkins and Brian Corridan played well given the hands they were dealt, and Cindy and Amy were decent as well. These players emanate so much hidden potential but maybe this will continue to be the forgotten season of Survivor. Let’s hope not. C’mon CBS and the powers that be, the fans a crying out for more acknowledgement of the wondrous cast that was the 11th season.
Likely Candidates: Danni, Judd, Jamie
Long Shots: Gary, Brian
Honorable Mentions: Cindy, Amy
This season gave us two very big characters in Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien and Rob Mariano, but the players they played against were not bad either. Even the pre merge boots consistent of some very unique players that gave us some good memories in their short time in the game. John and Neleh both want another chance desperately and not only do their fans but many Survivor fans who didn’t necessarily root for John or Neleh would be pleased to see them again. John and Coby are good friends a long with Brice they work on Survivor Shade and interact with many of their fans so if we are ever allowed to vote again and John can be on the ballot, he probably will be back.
I’m not too sure if Tammy, Sean, or Vecepia are even in the conversation of possible returning players at the casting level, but based on the way they played their own games and how their approaches and personalities could interact with others, I would love to see them again. Gabe is an interesting choice but like Greg even though he was not interested in “playing the game” his first season, that could certainly be a different story if he comes back. I don’t think he would be brought back though. Gina’s game was full of setbacks and despite her efforts and fight, she couldn’t make the merge. However, Ms. Most Confessionals for a Pre Merge Boot in Survivor History would definitely be a welcome player in another season if I had a say in it.
Likeliest Candidates: John, Neleh
Long Shots: Tammy, Sean, Vecepia
Honorable Mentions: Gabe, Gina
Of all the seasons, why would Vanuatu be #1 for having the greatest remaining potential second time players? It is especially a weird and risky decision since two of the most familiar faces from this season, Ami and Eliza, have already appeared on their second season. But especially when I rewatched this season this year, it was apparent how many memorable characters AND good players this season had, and many of them were both.
Obviously Chris is someone we have to see again. His journey from Day 1 to Day 39 is impressive, possibly overcoming the most odds of any Sole Survivor. The next likeliest candidates in my eyes would be the runner up and the person whose blindside began the domino effect of the girls alliance’s failure. Twila and Leann are both underrated players and would probably be underestimated by new or even some other returning players.
I would not be opposed to Sarge, Rory, or Scout coming back either. Sarge and Rory both had interesting personalities that you’d think would cause them to have crappy social skills but they understood the game well and probably even surprised themselves how quickly they made certain friendships. Scout, along with Twila, were almost always one step ahead of their alliances and I was impressed how she managed to hang in there in all aspects of the game despite her age. She was not a challenge beast but she was far from a burden either, receiving no votes against her pre merge. However if she were to appear again, she would likely be around half a decade from Rudy’s All Star age. This collection of good players and interesting personalities is the reason why in my opinion, Vanuatu has the best possible second time players to offer.
Long shot: Twila, Leann
Honorable Mentions: Rory, Scout, Sarge
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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