Should Old Era players be invited to play in Survivor 50?

Survivor 50 will include returning players for the first time in the New Era
SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+
SURVIVOR, Wednesday, May 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, and available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ /

In April, in a Survivor Q&A event in Los Angeles, Jeff Probst pretty much announced that Survivor 50 would most likely include returning players, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.

Survivor All-Star games have been a reward for both fans and players. It allowed fans to see their favorite players battle against other returning players. Certainly, Survivor legends emerged, like Boston Rob, Tony Vlachos, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and Parvati Shallow, to mention a few.

In the landmark 40th season, Survivor brought together 20 winners for Survivor: Winners at War. While it was highly entertaining, many of the favorites from early seasons looked old, slow, and stuck in outdated strategies that hadn't evolved with the game over the years. Players from later seasons played with more fluidity and flexibility. In the end, Tony Vlachos joined Sandra Diaz-Twine as the only two-time winners in the show's history.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Survivor had to take a hiatus with the rest of the world. When it returned, the world had changed in many ways, and so did Survivor. Now, the game is 26 days long instead of 39. New advantages and idols were introduced. The game has maintained a frantic pace in the six seasons since the pandemic, with less food provided, but overall strategy hasn't been quite as good.

Who should participate in Survivor 50 if it is indeed an All-Star season?

Boston Rob Mariano Survivor Winners at War episode 12
"Friendly Fire" - Boston Rob Mariano on the Twelfth episode of SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR, airing Wednesday, April 29h (8:00-9:01 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

Winners at War seemed to be the end of an era for Survivor, now referred to as the Old Era. That is a pretty broad label, since there were always mini-eras built into those 40 seasons where the game naturally evolved.

Only one scenario that would mix Old Era and New Era players seems to be even a viable option in Survivor 50. The idea of a season with only runners-up has always seemed intriguing, but now there are two different sets of rules between the two eras. It would hardly be fair for either set of players to be asked to play under a different set of rules than under which they played initially.

The biggest hurdle is the 26 days versus 39 days. It has been my opinion that the 26-day game has not been working out as well, with players not having time to plan and execute strategies.

In reality, Survivor should probably close the book on the Old Era and focus on the new one. They should allow modern players to form their own historical niche in the game, even if Survivor chooses to stick to the new format and work to improve the game within those new rules.

After seasons 47 and 48 are completed, producers should have plenty of candidates to fill tribes on an All-Star season. Because of how they now film one season right after the other, it would be difficult for anyone in season 49 to be able to turn around and play again so quickly.

Another all-star season for Survivor will surely be a hit with fans, regardless of from whatever the player pool producers might choose to pull. Announcing it now, as Probst did, also adds a degree of anticipation for the next three seasons, and fans might start weighing who might be worthy enough to return for an All-Star season.