by Benji Glowinsky
10 castaways were chosen by production to return with their family members for another shot at the million, but not all of these former castaways were production’s first choices. From Survivor Wiki, and from fan boards, I have compiled a short-list of five people who were in the mix to be cast on this season, but either declined the offer to return, or in one case, was replaced last minute.
Greg Buis, Season 1: Survivor Borneo
The man, the legend, Greg Buis. Greg is one of the original 16 Survivor castaways, and has garnered quite the cult following since his season. Known mainly for his funny antics, Greg fell victim to the infamous Pagonging on Borneo, and finished as the first member of the jury after being penned as a threat by Richard Hatch. Greg has kept out of the limelight since his stint on Survivor, but many die-hard fans feel a return for Greg is needed. Sadly, Greg, so he says on his Facebook page, was called by Jeff Probst about joining the Blood vs Water cast with his sister, but declined. In other sad news, this probably puts the notion of Greg ever wanting to return to rest, which is a damn shame.
RC Saint-Amour, Season 25: Survivor Philippines
Part of the dominant Tandang tribe in her original season, Survivor Philippines, RC was the first voted out after the merge when her tribe decided she needed to go. Dominant in challenges, RC was instrumental in Tandang making no visits to Tribal Council pre-merge. But alas, RC’s constant stategic-talk within her tribe, and her closeness to Skupin made her a target once the merger came along. RC was originally one of the locks for this season. Up until 2-3 days prior to filming, every spoiler board had RC pencilled in as a cast member of Survivor Blood vs. Water. Supposedly, RC’s loved one, her dad, got sick just before they were about to fly out to the Phillipines. So, we are left with her alternate, Candice Woodcock (ugh. [although I’m enjoying her edit this season, and I really like her husband, so Candice might change my mind about her by the time the season’s over]). So: Sadly, this last minute withdrawal by the Saint-Amours might stick a fork in RC’s chances of ever returning. RC, while deserving of a second chance, is not someone I see returning for a full all-star season, and I’d be shocked if we saw her on Fans vs Favourites 3 (The inevitable theme for Survivor 36). There are quite a few viable contenders from the Philippines that I’d rather see on those type seasons (Pete, Denise, Abi, even Zane or Jeff Kent), so from my understanding, our only chances at ever seeing RC grace our screens again is on another themed season (a la, Blood vs Water), or, if production was bold enough, perhaps an RC vs Abi-Maria season.
Tom Westman, Seasons 10 & 20: Survivor Palau & Survivor Heroes vs. Villains
It’s hard for anyone to deny that Tom Westman is one of the game’s best winners to date, and one of the best players to date. Part of the Koror tribe on Survivor Palau, Tom lead Koror to seven Immunity Challenge wins, only going to Tribal Council once on the night where both Tribes had to attend. Tom won an astonishing five Individual Immunity challenges, and eventually won Survivor: Palau by a vote of 6-1 against Katie Gallagher. Tom was never voted against during his tenure on Palau, which is a testament to how in control he was of the game. Tom was one Jury vote (Coby Archa’s) shy of winning Survivor’s first “Perfect Game.” On Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, it was a different story for Tom. He started the game in the minority alliance along with Stephanie and Colby. After Steph was voted out, he was due next out. But, Tom wouldn’t leave without making his mark on Season 20. After obtaining the Hidden Immunity Idol, he orchestrated a beautiful blindside of Cirie, and sent her packing, by playing the idol, and getting JT to flip and vote out Cirie instead of Colby. Tom was voted out the next Tribal, but it shows how his win in Palau was no accident. The reason Tom isn’t on this season is because he declined the offer, and even though he probably won’t appear on the show again, there’s a voice in my head telling me we may see him one last time before Survivor is all said and done.
Lex van den Berghe and Tom “Big Tom” Buchanan, Season 3 & 8: Survivor Africa & Survivor All-Stars
Lex and Big Tom, who have only played with eachother, were among those invited back for BvW, but declined. The reason they couldn’t participate, is because they were filming Big Tom’s new reality show, Family Beef. Lex and Big Tom have only ever played together. They displayed their skills and entertainment on Survivor: Afirica, and Survivor: All-Stars. On Africa, both were part of the original Boran tribe, before both getting switched to Samburu. At the merge, they met up with old alliance member Ethan Zohn, and ran the game. Big Tom finished in 4th place, while Lex, who played a very impressive physical game in Africa, winning three Individual Immunity challenges, but ultimately finishing in 3rd place. Lex got voted out by Kim Johnson who chose to take eventual winner Ethan Zohn to the finals over Lex. On All-Stars, Lex was part of the Mogo Mogo tribe, and was the only male on his tribe to make the merge. He famously decided to keep eventual winner Amber Brkich over Jerri Manthey at the tribe switch in which only Amber switched tribes. With Mogo Mogo going into a potential merge down in numbers, Lex and alliance-mates Kathy and Shii-Ann figured that keeping Amber would get them some “brownie points” with Boston Rob, and hopefully further their games. Alas, Boston Rob then turned around and voted out Lex and Kathy in conecutive Tribal Council’s, with Lex ultimately finishing in ninth place. Big Tom was a part of the dominant Chapera tribe, and was in an alliance with Rob and Amber form the near beginning of the game. Playing a mostly quiet game, while still being his hilarious self, Tom and Chapera (now with Jenna and Rupert from Saboga) sailed their way to the merge, and after ditching Alicia at seventh place, sailed their way to final five. Boston Rob and Amber had the decision to take their alliance with Big Tom to the final four, or take their alliance with Rupert and Jenna tot he final four, and they went with the latter, sending Big Tom to the jury at fifth place. They did so in fear of Tom betraying them, and Tom, mad at Rob’s betrayal of their alliance, voted for Amber to win the game. They eventually made amends at the (crazy) reunion. Personally, I would have loved to see Tom and his son, Bucky Bo on this season. I think Big Tom has been robbed to have not returned for a third time yet, and I pray that we at least get one more dose of Big Tom one day. I can’t help but fall on the floor laughing every time I hear his voice. For Lex, I thought he was good in Africa, but I liked his storyline better in All-Stars, but I would’ve been surprised to see him back this season. As a standalone character, he’s average for me, but it would also be nice to see him at least once more (maybe on a “Hall of Fame” season?) one day. And who knows, maybe Big Tom and Lex will find each other playing Survivor together one more time.
Other people who were reportedly in the mix:
Bobby-Jon Drinkard – Survivor Palau & Guatemala
Jamie Newton – Survivor Guatemala
Ashley Underwood – Survivor Redemption Island
As much as I’d like to have seen some of these people appear this season, if the episodes so far are any indication, we’re in for a great season regardless.
You can catch this season of Survivor on CBS at 8/7c! Don’t forget to follow Benji on Twitter at @Benji_EG and Follow The B-Glow Show for more updates and articles, coming your way soon!