Out of the several themes Survivor has stapled on its number of returning player seasons, Heroes vs. Villains is one of my favorites. Below is a list of 40 contestants, (20 men and 20 women), that I believe have the best chance of being cast if there was another Heroes vs. Villains season. The line-up is a mixture of my own personal opinion, along with my instinct on who CBS would be more likely to want back.
NOTE: This is not a cast of 20 players. This is a pool of 40 contestants I think would be most eligible/suited for a Heroes vs. Villains 2.
- A majority of the pool of contestants below are post-season 20 players. However, there are a few missed oppurtunities from earlier seasons sprinkled in.
- Any contestant who appeared in the original Heroes vs. Villains is not eligible for this list. Sorry, Courtney.
1 - Alecia Holden (Survivor: Kaôh Rōng)
Okay, so this one is horribly obvious. If you know me, you know I loved Alecia. She's one of those contestants that, had she been a first boot, everyone would have thought she was just a repetitive blonde who claimed she had everything to prove. But in reality, she did have everything to prove. Despite being gorgeous, Alecia charmed everyone with her quirky underdog-attitude, and I know a little piece of us died inside everytime she was verbally attacked by Jason and Scott. And yes, I'm sure the edit made Alecia out to be less annoying than she actually was, but overall, I'm sure she was treated unfairly.
The Good: What Alecia mainly has going for her is the fact that she physically fights back negativity. Whether it be with her quirky actions, her smile, or her words, you actually believe she isn't getting to down on herself, and that's the kind of thing that heroes are supposed to do. Also, she's a mental giant.
The Bad: Obviously, Alecia didn't last long in her season, and while I believe she was one of the most memorable pre-merge boots of the past few seasons, Alecia still has the ability to fade into oblivion, and by the time we do get another Heroes vs. Villains season, I just don't think Alecia will be relevant enough to make an appearance. But I can hope, right?
2 - Sabrina Thompson (Survivor: One World)
Had it not been for my recent One World rewatch, I would have never thought to put Sabrina on this list. In a season where leaders like Kim and Colton ran aroung leading an arguably dumb cast, Sabrina was probably one of the most heroic, wholesome leaders a tribe could have. Had she not faded into the background during the merge, I feel like Sabrina could have won the game just based on her pre-merge leadership itself. Not to mention, she gave the idol she found early in the game to Colton, but ended up wanting to break ties with him by the end of his time on the island, which showed good judgement and willingness to really play the game.
The Good: Like I've already stated above, Sabrina's likableness is through-the-roof. She's a great tribe leaders, but with that, I have some negatives.
The Bad: Sabrina played a game that I think doesn't normally work. I believe, had the starting tribes been men and women mixed, AND the two tribes hadn't started on the same beach, Sabrina's leadership would have sent her packing early into the game. While she is a hero in my eyes, she may have also been good as a one-time player, and it may stay that way, considering the fact that she couldn't even recieve enough votes to return in Cambodia.
3 - Sierra Reed (Survivor: Tocantins)
If I was given the responsibilty of casting a second Heroes vs. Villains season right now, Sierra Reed would be the first person I would call. And when she turned down the offer, I would call her again. If you haven't gathered it yet, Sierra is one of my all-time favorite castaways. Maybe it's the fact that she challenged one of my least favorite Survivors, Coach Wade, or that she came into the game with strep throat, got voted the outcast of her tribe minutes into the game, and managed to make it deep into the jury phase. I have no doubt that Sierra was probably much more annoying than the edit gave her credit for, but she was also a breath of fresh air in this season of lunatics. While everyone catered to the opinions and "morals" of Coach and Debbie, (including Stephen, who I also adore), Sierra put all the cards on the table and didn't take shit from anyone, especially when Debbie and Coach fabricated a lie about her trying to create a new Timbira alliance.
The Good: What more can I say? Sierra is the quintesential underdog who made it deep enough into the game to be popular among fans, while be unpopular among her cast members. I don't blame her for not wanting to return, considering 90% of the cast was nasty to her, like, all the time. However, I think she's a strong player who's stuck with fans long enough to be eligible to return again, if she wanted to.
The Bad: Really, it's just that Sierra doesn't want to return. However, I also feel like Sierra would be out of place in a new-school season, similar to that of Cambodia. Sierra did have strategy, and was a member of the Exile Alliance, but she was pulled into it, and most of her late-game strategy consisted of crying and over-emotionally begging for people to trust her. And even if she was trustworthy, this sporadic gameplay would never work in a current season.
4 - Peih-Gee Law (Survivor: China & Survivor: Cambodia')
I would assume that at this point, only two seasons after the conclusion of Cambodia, veiwers probably aren't ready to see most of the contestants from that season compete for a third time. However, if there is any contestant that viewers may still be craving, it's Peih-Gee, considering her time in Cambodia wasn't nearly enough. Personally, I feel as though Peih-Gee still has what it takes to do well in the game, and I definitely believe she plays the game as a hero. While she is outspoken and scrappy, Peih-Gee also has a certain wit about her, that just makes you root for her when she's put in these bad situations. In China, Peih-Gee was able to win challenges to help ensure her safety against the alliance of Todd, Amanda, Courtney, and Denise, and during the pre-merge phase of the game, she was said to be the right hand man to the outspoken Zhan Hu leader, Dave. Peih-Gee's actions in China pushed her towards steps closer to winning the game, while in Cambodia, she was pretty much just at the hands of Abi-Maria, who disliked her from the start because her bracelets ended up in Peih-Gee's bag.
The Good: Peih-Gee's good qualities are only going to get her somewhere if she's on the right tribe. She's a strong thinker, good in challenges, and helps around camp. In a Heroes vs. Villains season, where her tribe is literally made up of heroic players, I can't think of a better oppurtunity for her to use her qualities in a positive way. If you haven't noticed already, I think she got a raw deal in Cambodia.
The Bad: At the same time, though, as the game evolves, the social aspect becomes more important. In Jeff's cast assessment for Cambodia, he mentioned that he didn't know if Peih-Gee was making the relationships she needed to further herself in the game. Overall, watching Peih-Gee's game again, I thought she did a decent job at creating relationships, but she didn't do anything too special aside from suggesting to vote off Abi-Maria a few times. And in the end, she would be swayed, saying she wanted to stick with the numbers.
5 - Aubry Bracco (Survivor: Kaôh Rōng)
Aubry's entire existence in Kaôh Rōng impresses me, mainly because I feel like she didn't let CBS or anything pave the way she was going to play the game. In my opinion, the people who call Aubry a "female Cochran" are totally wrong. Aubry came into the game as the awkward, nerdy character, but soon realized she didn't need to wear that stereotype, so she threw it out and became a serious threat. Of course, Aubry had awkward, quirky moments. Who can forget when she mocked Kyle Jason's spitting during the challenge, (and then won the challenge), or her extremely uncomfortable chicken dance? Aubry was fun, but when it came to the game, she became a new person. Aubry treated her physical and strategic achievments in the game as moves she just made because she had to, instead of rubbing it in our faces like, say, Cochran, for example. A truly heroic player.
The Good: As any hero should be able to do, I feel like Aubry is great at adapting. I mean, she completely transformed from the beginning of the game to the end. Hell, even before the game started, Aubry, big glasses on, was drawing in the sand with a stick during her cast interview. In the first episode, she had a anxious breakdown. But by the end, after losing Neil and Joe, (which yes, I will admit, she milked quite a bit), she was seen as one of the most threatening players in the game. Who would have guessed. And I think that's what she's remembered more for than being awkward.
The Bad: As far as gameplay goes, Aubry is strong, with an acceptable physical game and an outstanding emotional strategy game. The only thing that Aubry has working against her has to do with casting. I see Aubry easily becoming a forgotten gem, something we've seen many times. Just look at Natalie Bolton from Micronesia or Ken Hoang from Gabon. I don't think Aubry's game was flashy enough to hold up among casual fans, and although everyone is arguing she should have won against Michele now, we don't know how long she's going to stay in the viewers' memories.
6 - Shirin Osooki (Survivor: Worlds Apart & Survivor: Camodia)
Before you call me out for recency bias or something stupid like that, let me clarify. I don't necessarily want to see Shirin return to the game. I liked her a lot in Worlds Apart, but after seeing her Ponderosa videos which mostly consisted of her emotionally reflecting on what happened with Will, along with her awkwardly bad performance in Cambodia, I've grown tired of her. However, with my logical side taking over, I have to believe that, if enough time had passed, Shirin would be asked back for a Heroes vs. Villains 2. Don't get me wrong, Shirin does fit the criteria for a heroic player, and some of her more quirky moments are highlights of Worlds Apart. Aside from being "personally attacked" by Will, Shirin does seem to have a good moral compass, and is able to separate strategy from real life. Overall, she wouldn't be a horrible addition, but I do think it would be a bit awkward after her controversial Worlds Apart run, followed by an over-analyzed second chance.
The Good: Shirin has a side to her that makes her a timeless Survivor contestant. She can be so incredibly relatable, especially to the hardcore fans of the show. The totally random "reverse bomb" moment in Worlds Apart really stood out as a moment where Jeff genuinely interacted with a contestant, (not that this hasn't happened before.) If Shirin can turn down the strategy and the emotions, she could be a very fun player to see for a third time.
The Bad: However, what are the chances of Shirin turning down the strategy and emotion? Very low. Shirin seemed to go into both of her seasons with a very specific idea of how she wanted to play. In her first run, Shirin was an underdog, and yet I began to see how she was annoying people, especially Jenn, who Shirin sort of latched onto at some point in the game. For her second chance, Shirin completely went overboard on the strategy, which, whether you want to admit it or not, is something I think we all saw coming. Shirin needs to find a balance between the two sides of herself, because just one or the other has shown to be too intense.
7 - Taj Johnson-George (Survivor: Tocantins)
In my opinion, one of the most heroic things you can do in Survivor is play the game as your genuine self. Taj is a prime example of someone who did this. She was strategic, helping found the Exile Alliance with Brenden, (which is still one of my favorite Survivor alliances ever), but she also wasn't afraid to snap at her tribe, (mainly Joe), when she was feeling under pressure about losing a challenge. Not to mention, she was a physical threat, having won the Shoulder The Load challenge for her tribe. Despite being all over the board, Taj remained genuine and played the game with class. Her most emotionally genuine moment, and one of my favorite moments of the season, obviously, is the auction, when Taj agreed to send herself to Exile with her husband to allow everyone else to see their loved ones. In a game of deception and competition, Taj created a kind of heartwarming moment that Survivor sees too little. Not to mention, she created a genuine friendship with Stephen, and was shocked and hurt when he voted against her.
The Good: Like Aubry, Taj is an all-around strong competitor, having a strong physical game, along with great social and mental skills. Although it's arguable that Taj may not be as memorable as she used to be, I think she can still hold her own against players like Abi-Maria and Kass.
The Bad: Just like her fellow Tocantins competitor Sierra, Taj has simply rejected coming back. I think she would be a great addition to a tribe of heroes, but it looks like we simply may never see Taj give herself a second chance at the game.
8 - Dawn Meehan (Survivor: South Pacific & Survivor: Caramoan)
Unlike a lot of the contestants on this list, I really don't know if I would want to see Dawn back, but I do know that she deserves to be called a hero, and I believe Survivor would give her a third chance to pull it together. South Pacific was the first season of Survivor I ever saw, (and at the time, I thought the show couldn't get better. Boy, was I wrong.) By the end of the season, Dawn had emerged as one of my favorites from the cast. She was a strong, kind of quirky, older woman, who you rooted for as her Savaii tribe was picked off during the merge. The emotion she showed in her original season was refreshing, and it really made it hard for me to forget. And let's not forget, everyone from her season just kind of liked her. But then, Caramoan came along, and the respect I had for Dawn was kind of tarnished. I realize Dawn was still there to play hard, but it seemed like a lot of the spirtualness and inspiration from her original season was now being expressed through a lot of... crying. If Dawn was to return, she would be a hero, excessive-sobbing or not, but I think she has something to prove after her extremely over-emotional and paranoid gameplay and embarassing final tribal council moments from Caramoan.
The Good: Dawn is in a surprisingly nice position to be a three-time player. I find, personally that I know by the second time a person is on Survivor if I want to see them again. Did I want to see Coach Wade, Russell, or even Tyson for a third time? Not really. However, Dawn falls in that nice spot with two-timers who were just memorable enough to make us crave even more, (for me, Courtney Yates is a prime example of this type of player). I want to see another spiritual, emotional game from Dawn, but I want to see the strength we saw from her in South Pacific, and less of the tears from Caramoan.
The Bad: The harsh reality for Dawn, despite being a very interesting player to watch, there are better options for returning players at this point, especially for a Heroes vs. Villains season. As far as actual gameplay goes, Dawn won't win again with the game she played in Caramoan, and had she not been close with Cochran already, who won that season, I doubt she would have made it very far in the first place. Also, as a side-note, some people might be thinking that Dawn's more cutthroat gameplay from Caramoan qualifies her as more of a villain, or neither, but I disagree. Dawn's Caramoan gameplay was an overall mess, and I don't see Dawn herself as a villainous player.
9 - Kat Edorsson (Survivor: One World & Survivor: Blood vs. Water)
Heroism is represented in a number of different ways. Most of the female heroes discussed above are heroic through their strength, scrappiness, kindness, intelligence, and leadership. Kat Edorsson's Survivor gameplay doesn't really fit any of these aspects, and that's why we love her. In my opinion, Kat is one of the most unique contestants in One World, as she represents an innocence we don't see on Survivor much. I mean, usually we get a set of people who are experienced in one way or another, (not to say that this is bad, or that Kat is stupid), but it's nice to see someone on reality TV and be able to say, "Ha, I'd make that mistake!" Really, this is a fancy way of saying that Kat provided viewers with a bubbliness and realness that can't be forgetten. Whether it was her confusion on what exactly an appendicitis is, her infamously ironic "blindsides are fun" quote, or fear that her boyfriend Hayden was going to break up with her after she lost a Redemption Island duel, Kat always kept us wondering what she was going to say next.
The Good: As I previously mentioned, Kat, in my mind, is a super unique addition to the archetypes we normally see in Survivor. We just don't see many young people on the show who are this quirky, and this, well open about it! It's not going to help her much in the game aside from seeming loyal, but it's really fun to watch, and I think makes her a good candidate to be brought back for a third time. I would be happy about it. Also, her final tribal council speech to the female final three of One World, where she explained her situation with open heart surgery, added a whole new layer to Kat, and made us fall in love with her even more.
The Bad: As far as gameplay is concerned, it's pretty obvious that Kat will never win. She's a hero, but a different type of hero than most of those that will be featured on this list, and that would most likely make her a huge tribe liability. A prime example of this is during the challenge where the tribes had to get every tribe member across a long, thin beam, while finding a way around each other. Let's just say, it took Kat a few tries to pick up on the rules.
10 - Lisa Whelchel (Survivor: Philippines)
Although I'm not her biggest fan, Lisa Whelchel played an extremely heroic game in her original season. Despite being a religious, motherly figure among the cast, Lisa did intend to actually play the game, and proved that a person can get far without being a #ChaosKass. Obviously, though, Lisa's intentions to play a strong game didn't totally pan out, and instead she came out with a more hesitant game, one that was both emotional and caused her to receive backlash at the final tribal council. Like Dawn, Lisa took everything that happened in the game on a spiritual level, including being reunited with her brother Justice, which, while heartwarming, was also kind of uncomfortable. ("Brother..! Brother...!") In an unaired confessional, Lisa even spoke about the idea that being nice to RC, who had targeted her from the start, would be smarter than ignoring her or being mean to her, something that only a hero would do on Survivor.
The Good: Lisa is the textbook definition of a hero. She's obviously an all-around good person in her real life, (at least she plays it off that way), so it's something that comes off as very genuine in the game. And like I said before, she's kind but she's also a competitor. I mean, she did make it to the final three in Philippines, and played a part in a lot of strategy. That's a strong player.
The Bad: A common issue that is going to affect a lot of contestants on this list is simply that they aren't as popular as they used to be. I believe Lisa had been considered to return for Caramoan, but either declined the offer or just wasn't asked in the end. I firmly believe that may have been her only shot to return, as I feel like, eight seasons after Philippines, viewers are going to be less excited to the idea of seeing her play again. As far as actual gameplay goes, Lisa's needs some tweaking, and, like Dawn, she needs to learn to separate her emotions from the game of Survivor.