The original Sole Survivor was rejected from joining the Winners at War cast. How would have Hatch performed if he was out there with the other 20 winners?
Whether you believe that Winners at War is the best Survivor season or not, an entire cast of previous champs made for one of the highest levels of gameplay we have ever seen. With a limit of twenty contestants, there were still several great winners that were left on the bench.
In this article series, we will be looking at each winner who didn’t make the cut and theorize how they would have done if they were out there in Fiji. Our predictions are purely speculative and will probably be far off from what actually would have happened, but it’s too tempting to refuse the thought of imagining these winners in season 40! What better place to start than the original Survivor himself.
Once the official casting news was out, Richard Hatch was quick to publicize his frustration with Jeff Probst and the producers. According to Hatch, he was basically confirmed for season 40 until Dan Spilo entered the picture. As a result, Richard was taken off the pending cast shortly before flying out.
It’s a shame it turned out that way because it would have been fun to see Hatch interact with other legends of the game as well as recent winners. Based on his many YouTube videos, it definitely looks like Richard would have brought his trademark cocky and philosophical personality to the table. He even said that he felt like he would have had a good shot at winning again.
If Hatch was in the game, he would have gone right up there with Rob, Parvati, and Sandra in terms of Day 1 targets, but he probably would have benefited from not playing in the past 15 years. Since the game has changed so much, the castaways might not know what to expect from Hatch in a more fast pace and strategically advanced season that is so different from Borneo.
He wouldn’t have been linked to the poker player alliance so I couldn’t see him being a first or second boot, specifically on the Dakal tribe. Unlike Rob and Parvati, I think Hatch would have taken more of an interest in aligning with new school players. Yul was someone who wasn’t stuck on playing the game with people from his Survivor era, and it worked out for him. That could have protected Hatch from being on the immediate chopping block.
The determining factor in Hatch’s longevity would have been his ability to get along with a core group of people. If he played it right, his strong social game would have allowed him to get more of a grip on the game than Kim or Tyson had in their early days at Dakal. However, I can’t ignore the unspoken agreement that these winners had of wanting to rid the season of all the old schoolers.
Especially with his confident and bold persona, Hatch would have had a tough time making meaningful allies that could get him deeper in the season. We just saw how players like Sophie, Adam, Ben, Wendell, and Nick were itching to take out the big names after the swap. Even Yul and Parvati, who were playing more of a low-key game, not making any dramatic moves still got the boot before the merge.
If Hatch was somehow able to survive the pre-merge game, I still think he would have been a top of everyone’s lists to take out. Unlike Tony or Jeremy who did a good job of holding back their gameplay and making personal connections, everybody would have known that Hatch was playing hard. When I say playing hard I don’t mean scheming and running around looking for idols. Richard’s intentions of putting personal relationships aside to play a more logical and calculating game would have been clear, and that wouldn’t have helped his case.
Verdict: If Richard Hatch was in Winners at War, I think he would have been voted out after the tribe swap but before the merge. His social presence would have helped him to avoid an early elimination, but I couldn’t see Hatch evading the concentrated focus on voting out the old school winners. Regardless of where Richard would have finished, we definitely would have had some memorable moments to look back on. Not being able to see the original champion in an all-winners season will always be something that Winners at War missed out on.