'Survivor': Names Season 40 Champion -- Here's Who Won 'Winners at War'
By Jennifer Drysdale
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The war is officially over.
Survivor went above and beyond for its landmark 40th season, bringing back 20 former winners to compete for another Sole Survivor title -- and $2 million.
Icons of the game such as "Boston" Rob Mariano, Sandra Diaz-Twine and Parvati Shallow competed against recent standouts like Tony Vlachos, Sarah Lacina and Denise Stapley. At first it was a battle of old school vs. new school, but then it became a battle of persistence.
And our new winner is...
Wednesday night's season finale began with five players still in the running -- Tony, Denise, Sarah, Michele Fitzgerald and Ben Driebergen -- with the rest of the cast (minus Sandra) preparing to fight for their shot to rejoin the game. It was Natalie, the first castaway voted out this season, who came out on top, earning her spot back in the game after 32 days on the Edge of Extinction.
Over the course of the episode, Denise and Ben were then voted out. Natalie won the last immunity challenge and decided to take Michele with her to the final three, pitting "Cops R Us" allies Sarah and Tony against each other in a fire-making competition for the final spot.
Tony came out on top, and the next day, he, Natalie and Michele made their cases to the jury. Jeff read the votes to the final three via Zoom, announcing Tony as winner, earning 12 votes to Natalie's four.
In an interview with ET, Amber Mariano said that Wednesday's finale could be the "most emotional" the show has ever seen.
"We've all been out there for various amounts of time, but this season being an all-winner season, we're all competitors," Rob noted. "Nobody has any quit left in them. We're all going out there fighting for that last spot, so it's gonna be a battle, for sure."
"Personally I can't believe Tony hasn't been targeted," he shared. "I like the way he's manipulating different situations and getting away with it, so I think he's playing the best game right now. Tyson [Apostol] has been playing a good game. He fought his way back in once and he's gonna try to do it again. But he's gonna have to deal with me and everybody else that's on the Edge -- and Natalie's playing a great game on the Edge too."
"She's been there from the beginning, there was a huge advantage for her. She kind of got to see how things worked," Rob noted. "I'm impressed with lots of different people's games."
Circle back to ET for our interview with the Winners at War champion.