‘Survivor: Winners at War’: Players Reveal Why So Many of Them Are Retiring

The 40th anniversary season of Survivor: Winners at War brought back 20 previous winners. Many of the contestants were fan-favorites who played multiple times before. Viewers loved watching the dynamic between the castaways and hope to see them return. However, to fans dismay, many Survivor players are retiring after this season.

'Survivor' Edge of Extinction inhabitants
‘Survivor’ players retiring — many played for the last time on ‘Winners at War’: Natalie Anderson, Amber Mariano, Danni Boatwright, Ethan Zohn, Tyson Apostol, Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, Yul Kwon | CBS Entertainment

Many of the ‘Old School Players’ are retiring after ‘Survivor: Winners at War’

“We know we are retiring,” Parvati Shallow explained in the Ponderosa Chapter 3 Interview. “We know we are hanging up our gloves, and we know it’s over, so let’s just really savor this.”

Parvati has a young baby at home and explained that many of her Survivor friends are ending their journey with Survivor: Winners at War.

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“This experience is the perfect bookend to this crazy and amazing life that Survivor has given me,” Ethan Zohn explained in Ponderosa Chapter 1.

Ethan also said that he is ready to shed the word Survivor from his life and instead become a “thriver.” In addition to Parvati and Ethan — Amber Mariano, Jeremy Collins, Yul Kwon, and Sandra Diaz-Twine all stated that they are now retiring from the game. 

In Denise Stapley’s exit interview on Ponderosa, she admitted that this season of Survivor was the hardest for her. However, she is proud to have made it through. She didn’t comment on whether or not she might return, but Denise did explain how many life lessons she gained by going on the show a second time.

Why are the ‘Old School Players’ retiring from Survivor?

“This time being on the Edge, I could have done another 30 days, easily,” Amber said. “I’m out here for Rob. I’m here to be his rock.” 

Amber went on to say that her Survivor career has come “full circle.” She played the first time when she was very young. Then she met and fell in love with Rob on the show. They got married and have four children together. So, she feels that it is the perfect end to her Survivor story.

“I played three times,” Jeremy Collins said. “My Survivor career is now done, and it’s like closing a chapter. So, it is kind of sad, but again, I feel really special, and it’s a privilege to be in this class with all these legends of Survivor.”

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“Getting off the boat, it really just signaled that this part of my life is over, and I felt really happy, really content,” Yul admitted in the Chapter 2 video. “It would be great to win Survivor again, but all the things I would hope to get out of it, I already have in my life. It’s just there for me; I just have to appreciate it.” 

“This is the end for me, and I’m on to bigger and better things,” Sandra said. “Adios, and don’t forget the queen will always stay the queen.”

Although the six contestants did not win Survivor: Winners at War, they all feel that they left the game with a feeling of accomplishment. The season marked an end for their career. All of them except for Sandra also survived to day 35 on the Edge of Extinction island, so they believe that was a triumph itself.

Which of the players from ‘Survivor: Winners at War’ might return on a future season?

Michele Fitzgerald admitted in a Reddit AMA that she would be open to returning to Survivor again. She would prefer to come back on a season of “Blood Versus Water,” with her sister, Kim.

“The marathon continues,” Wendell Holland stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Probst, if you call me, I will be back. Let’s go.”

Danni Boatwright admitted to a fan on her Instagram account that she would 100% be open to returning for another season. 

Rob also told Entertainment Weekly that this was his last season of Survivor. However, he admits that he has said that many times before. If Probst calls him, Rob will likely return.

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I’m not as excited as everybody else is to eat because that means you’re done,” Adam Klein said in the Ponderosa videos. “I don’t want to be done.”

Adam will likely return if given a chance, as well as Nick Wilson, and Tyson Apostol. The peanut butter fiend admitted in a Cameo video that he would return if the timing is right.

Ben Driebergen, Sophie Clarke, and Natalie Anderson would also all return if given the right opportunity. Tony Vlachos loves to joke that he would return for a Survivor Seniors season when he is 70. Kim Spradlin-Wolfe and Sarah Lacina have not commented, yet, on whether they might return.