Each of the returning castaways have won at least one previous season, with Sandra Diaz-Twine being the only two-time champ in the show’s history. For the special all-winners season, the grand prize was doubled from $1 million to $2 million, making it the largest amount for a U.S. reality series since The X Factor.
While plenty of fan favorites — including “Boston Rob” Mariano, Amber Mariano, Parvati Shallow, Jeremy Collins and Ethan Zohn — returned, some notable past winners did not make the final cut. Richard Hatch, who won the inaugural season, Survivor: Borneo, did not receive an invitation due to his inappropriate behavior on Survivor: All-Stars, while Survivor: Caramoan winner John Cochran passed on the opportunity.
Ethan, who won Survivor: Africa in 2001, is the most senior player of the bunch, and Nick Wilson, who took home the title of Sole Survivor on Survivor: David vs. Goliath in 2018, is the most recent.
“There were a few people that had said over the years that they would never play again, and like a terrible salesman, I took them at their word. Rob was one. Parvati was one,” longtime host Jeff Probst told Us Weekly exclusively on set in Fiji. “But people’s lives change, and we tried them again and they started saying yes. Then it became an abundance of riches. So much so that it was really hard to not include some of the winners because we didn’t want to go above 20.”