Survivor is a reality television show that is filmed in an exotic location such as Borneo, Thailand, or Palau. The object of the game is to outwit, outplay and outlast the other 16-20 castaways.


Twists are alterations to the typical Survivor format in order to make things interesting for the viewers and to keep castaways on their toes and to show the game is always changing. 

Returning PlayersEdit

One of the most common twists used as a theme for a season are returning players. These are castaways who have competed in Survivor before and are returning for a second shot at winning. Contestants who have returned for future seasons are:


  • Richard Hatch (All-Stars)
  • Kelly Wiglesworth (Cambodia)
  • Rudy Boesch (All-Stars)
  • Sue Hawk (All-Stars)
  • Gervase Peterson (Blood vs. Water)
  • Jenna Lewis (All-Stars)


  • Tina Wesson (All-Stars/Blood vs. Water)
  • Colby Donaldson (All-Stars/Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Amber Mariano (All-Stars)
  • Jerri Manthey (All-Stars/Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Alicia Calaway (All-Stars)
  • Jeff Varner (Cambodia)
  • Mike Skupin (Philippines)
  • Kimmi Kappenberg (Cambodia)


  • Ethan Zohn (All-Stars)
  • Lex van den Berghe (All-Stars)
  • Tom Buchanan (All-Stars)


  • Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien (All-Stars)
  • Rob Mariano (All-Stars/Heroes vs. Villains/Redemption Island)


  • Shii Ann Huang (All-Stars)


  • Jenna Morasca (All-Stars)
  • Rob Cesternino (All-Stars)

Pearl IslandsEdit

  • Sandra Diaz-Twine (Heroes vs. Villains/Game Changers)
  • Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton (Micronesia)
  • Rupert Boneham (All-Stars/Heroes vs. Villains/Blood vs. Water)
  • Andrew Savage (Cambodia)


  • Eliza Orlins (Micronesia)
  • Ami Cusack (Micronesia)


  • Tom Westman (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Stephenie LaGrossa (Guatemala/Heroes vs. Villians)
  • Bobby Jon Drinkard (Guatemala)


  • Aras Baskauskas (Blood vs. Water)
  • Danielle DiLorenzo (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Terry Deitz (Cambodia)
  • Cirie Fields (Micronesia/Heroes vs. Villains/Game Changers)

Cook IslandsEdit

  • Ozzy Lusth (Micronesia/South Pacific/Game Changers)
  • Parvati Shallow (Micronesia/Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Jonathan Penner (Micronesia/Philippines)
  • Candice Cody (Heroes vs. Villains/Blood vs. Water)


  • Yau Man Chan (Micronesia)


  • Courtney Yates (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Amanda Kimmel (Micronesia/Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Peih-Gee Law (Cambodia)
  • James Clement (Micronesia/Heroes vs. Villains)


  • Erik Reichenbach (Caramoan)


  • Jessica "Sugar" Kiper (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Corinne Kaplan (Caramoan)
  • Randy Bailey (Heroes vs. Villains)


  • J.T. Thomas (Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Stephen Fishbach (Cambodia)
  • Benjamin "Coach" Wade (Heroes vs. Villains/South Pacific)
  • Tyson Apostol (Heroes vs. Villains/Blood vs. Water)


  • Russell Hantz (Heroes vs. Villains/Redemption Island)
  • Monica Padilla (Cambodia)
  • Laura Morett (Blood vs. Water)
  • Russell Swan (Philippines)


  • Brenda Lowe (Caramoan)

Redemption IslandEdit

  • Phillip Sheppard (Caramoan)
  • Andrea Boehlke (Caramoan)
  • Francesca Hogi (Caramoan)

South PacificEdit

  • Brandon Hantz (Caramoan)
  • John Cochran (Caramoan)
  • Dawn Meehan (Caramoan)

One WorldEdit

  • Kat Edorsson (Blood vs. Water)
  • Colton Cumbie (Blood vs. Water)
  • Monica Culpepper (Blood vs. Water)


  • Malcolm Freberg (Caramoan)
  • Abi-Maria Gomes (Cambodia)

Blood vs. WaterEdit

  • Ciera Eastin (Cambodia/Game Changers)
  • Vytas Baskauskas (Cambodia)


  • Tony Vlachos (Game Changers)
  • Woo Hwang (Cambodia)
  • Kass McQuillen (Cambodia)
  • Spencer Bledsoe (Cambodia)
  • Tasha Fox (Cambodia)

San Juan del SurEdit

  • Keith Nale (Cambodia)
  • Jeremy Collins (Cambodia)
  • Kelley Wentworth (Cambodia)

Worlds ApartEdit

  • Shirin Oskooi (Cambodia)
  • Joe Anglim (Cambodia)

Kaoh RongEdit

  • Tai Trang (Game Changers)
  • Caleb Reynolds (Game Changers)

Millennials vs. Gen XEdit

  • Michaela Bradshaw (Game Changers)


In the beginning of the game, the castaways are split into 2 tribes typically. There have been times where there have been 3 tribes. The two tribes compete against each other in two competitions. The first is the reward challenge where the winning tribe can win a variety of rewards from flint, to shelter, to fishing gear, to food. After the reward challenge, the tribes compete again for immunity. The tribe without immunity is sent to tribal council. On some occasions, tribe members are chosen based on a certain theme such as Men vs. Women (Amazon, Vanuatu, Panama, One World), Old vs. Young (Panama, Nicaragua, Millennials vs. Gen X) and Ethnicity (Cook Islands) and Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty (Cagayan, Kaoh Rong). However, Ethnicity was negatively received and has never been done again in any season following Cook Islands.

Tribe SwapEdit

The third season of Survivor, Africa, introduced the concept of the tribe swap/shuffle where tribes will usually switch members in order to make the tribes even which proves to be helpful should one tribe be getting decimated and lose more members. In some cases though such as Marquesas, tribes have swapped with an odd number of players remaining. Tribe swaps typically happen when there are 16-13 players remaining. There are also different variations of the swap such as a Tribe Dissolve (or Tribe Absorption) where one of three tribes is removed from the game and their members are shuffled into the two remaning tribes and a new third tribe is created such as in the case of Millennials vs. Gen X.


When there are about 8-10 castaways left, they all merge into one tribe. The castaways now compete for individaul rewards and individual immunity. With the individual rewards, the winner typically gets to select 1 or 2 castaways to join them in their reward, often showing where true loyalties lie. After 1 castaway wins individual immunity, the whole tribe goes to tribal council.


The jury consists of 7-10 eliminated castaways (Castaways as early as 13th place can even qualify as jury members.) After their eliminations, they are taken to a secluded location called "Ponderosa" where they stay and interact with one another. The jury sits across from the remaining castaways at tribal council in order to gain insight on game play and strategy. At the final tribal council, they are called up by Jeff Probst one by one to ask castaways questions about their game play and help make a decision on their votes. In seasons with even numbers of jury members, it is not yet known what happens in the case of a tie. 

Tribal CouncilEdit

In tribal council, one person that is attending must be voted off of the island. Each castaway goes and writes down the name of the person they want out on a piece of parchment. When they re 1 whole tribe, the person with immunity cannot be voted for. They have the option of giving it to someone else which has only been done once, in the Amazon season. Guatemala introduced the Hidden Immunity Idol, an item that is typically buried at a tribe's camp or on Exile Island. If played by a castaway before the votes are read, it will negate all votes for that castaway and should they have the highest total votes at that night's tribal council, the castaway with the second highest amount of votes will go home.

Final Tribal CouncilEdit

The Final Tribal Council is a special kind of tribal council held on Day 39 when there are only 2-3 castaways remaining in the game. The remaning castaways give opening statements about their game play to the jury and the jury is called up one by one to ask questions as well to help their decisions. The castaway who gets the most votes from the jury wins Survivor and the million dollar prize. However, the winner is not revealed until the opening moments of the reunion show where all the castaways are brought back and questioned by the host about events that happened in the season and their lives after filming.