It's Time for Our Favorite Players to Pick Up Their Buffs ... Again! Who's Returning to 'Survivor 50'?

‘Survivor 50’ will be the first season in the New Era with returning players. Now, Twitter is arguing over what that means.

Jamie Lerner - Author
By

Apr. 30 2024, Published 5:42 p.m. ET

There hasn’t been a returnee Survivor season since Season 40, Winners at War, which was the only all-winner season in Survivor history. Although many fans have been speculating that Season 50 could include returning players, in addition to Jeff Probst teasing another returnee season on the On Fire podcast, he finally confirmed that would be the case in a surprise Instagram post on April 27, 2024.

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However, Survivor 50 won’t be for at least another two years, like premiering in spring 2026. Even still, fans and former players have taken to social media to pitch their favorite potential returnee seasons, arguing over the format, pre-game alliances, and most importantly, the cast. So who do we think the returning players for Survivor 50 will be?

Jeff Probst at the FYC Survivor event
Source: CBS
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‘Survivor 50’ could simply be a New Era returnee season with no major change in format.

Since Survivor switched to the 26-day format in Season 41, the greatest upside of the New Era has been the casting. While people have criticized the shorter gameplay and the abundance of twists, almost every Survivor fan has loved every New Era cast. In Season 46, for instance, some fans have shared that they’d be happy with anyone winning from the season’s Final 9, which is a pretty impressive feat for the casting team.

But fans are split over who they’d like to see again. The most common requests for returning New Era players, however, are:

  • Shan Smith, Season 41 — Her villainous self-written theme tune and strategic gameplay from the start have made her one of the most memorable New Era cast members.

  • Ricard Foyé, Season 41 — Shan’s number one alliance, Ricard was responsible for taking her out of the game and pivoting the direction of the season.

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  • Omar Zaheer, Season 42 — Omar played one of the strongest social games of the season, and the only reason he didn’t win was because winner Maryanne had the foresight to blindside him.

  • Hai Giang, Season 42 — Hai was a master at gameplay between social and strategy, is incredibly active on Survivor Twitter, and would destroy the Season 50 pre-game.

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  • Jesse Lopez, Season 43 — One of the few fan favorites of Season 43, Jesse idoled out his biggest ally, Cody, with Cody’s idol! He truly wanted that $1 million prize and we love the hunger.

  • Cassidy Clark, Season 43 — Cassidy was the Survivor 43 runner-up and Twitter is still genuinely mad that she lost. Our Mother deserves a second chance!

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  • Carolyn Wiger, Season 44 — Carolyn’s big and genuine personality lit up our screens while encouraging us to stay strong in the face of adversity.

  • Frannie Marin, Season 44 — One of the strongest women to play Survivor in the New Era and an incredible storyteller, Frannie needs to play again for our entertainment. (Plus, if there’s a loved ones visit, maybe we’ll see Matt Blankenship too?)

  • Financial analyst Emily Flippen, Season 45 — Emily’s arc from socially awkward introvert to social butterfly and calming presence made her a force to be reckoned with.

  • Kaleb Gebrewold, Season 45 — Kaleb was just a likable guy who got caught on the wrong tribe and was therefore seen too early as a threat. With another chance, we think he’d be stellar winner pick.

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  • Q Burdette, Season 46 — It’s too soon to say what happens in Survivor 46, but we know one thing, and that’s that Q makes for insanely good television.

  • Venus Vafa, Season 46 — Venus has not been able to get her footing in with the Season 46 cast, but perhaps with a different group of people, she could be both a Twitter and in-game legend.

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Of course, that can’t tackle every New Era player. From people who were voted out too soon that were still entertaining and memorable, such as Zach Wurtenberger and Claire Rafson to those who were just with the wrong groups of people, like Soda Thompson and Sabiyah Broderick, there are plenty of perfect options for an all New Era cast.

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Other ‘Survivor’ fans want an all-eras cast for ‘Survivor 50.’

Whether this means there would be a theme or not, the fans want to see all of their favorites return to the game. Some are specifically focused on Seasons 35 through 39, which haven’t truly had a returnee season that they’d qualify for. Others want an Old School versus New School versus New Era season to see who truly comes out on top. But almost everyone agrees that Edge of Extinction and multiple-season players should not come back.

Another fun format that’s been discussed has been incorporating first or second boots and runners-up — no one would have the fire in their hearts to prove themselves more than the players who never got the chance and the players who were so close to the million that they could almost taste it.

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Some top social media picks for pre-Season 40 returnee players include Christian Hubicki, Davie Rickenbacker, Angelina Keeley, Domenick Abbate, Victoria Baamonde, Cydney Gillon, Brice Johnston, Elaine Stott, Janet Carbin, Wardog, and so many more. There are so many players to choose from and the players themselves are already advocating on Twitter for a return!

However, we won’t know who to expect for at least another year. Rumor has it that Jeff made the announcement early so that the Season 46 players wouldn’t break their NDAs as the season airs. Regardless of why we know about the milestone season, we can’t wait to see who the cast is.

For now, new episodes of Survivor 46 air every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

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