Survivor 29, 30 twists: newbie Blood vs. Water, all-star “legends”

Survivor‘s 29th and 30th seasons will feature both all-new and returning cast members, respectively. Season 29 will re-use last fall’s twist, blood vs. water, while season 30 is being referred to by returning cast members as “Survivor Legends,” and I’ve learned details about both from people going through the casting process and those who are close to past cast members.

The two seasons will film this summer in Nicaragua.

Casting for the return of blood vs. water was close to being finished late last month, and the all-new, non-returnee pairs of people going through casting have been told that it’s possible they’ll start the game together on the same tribe or be split on opposite tribes. Their conversations with casting led them to believe Redemption Island will return, as Jeff Probst previously suggested it would.

For season 30, which will air next spring, past cast members have been contacted over the past few months for their availability. Casting has also told people being cast for season 29 that season 30 will feature returnees only. (Update: Jeff Probst said both 29 and 30 will feature new players.)

While potential returnees are referring to the season as “Survivor Legends,” that’s a title that has been circulating for months, so it’s possible the actual production won’t use that. It’s most likely that season 30’s cast and twist are not yet locked down: production has previously determined twists after the show is cast (as they did with this season’s brains, brawn, and beauty tribes) and has also continued to cast and develop twists for the year’s second season even while the first is filming.

Survivor Blood vs. Water was a memorable and thrilling season in part because separating the pairs threw off everyone’s game and forced new types of strategic thinking. Only using new people for this upcoming fall’s version of that format is extremely smart, because it prevents returning cast members from conspiring in ways that would destroy the format–though those who are being cast are being asked by casting about their strategies, such as whether they’d sacrifice themselves for their loved one.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.