‘Survivor’ Alum Gives AMA On Successful TV Career

"Survivor: Guatemala" cast

CBS Cast of "Survivor: Guatemala."

Fans of the old-school “Survivor” seasons might remember Rafe Judkins, the gay Mormon wilderness guide, from “Survivor: Guatemala,” where he dominated the strategic portion of the game alongside returning player Stephenie LaGrossa. Unfortunately for Rafe, he was the final person voted out of the game by eventual winner Danni Boatwright, after giving her tacit permission to do so once she won the final immunity challenge.

Although Rafe was mostly despised by his fellow jury members for his duplicitous gameplay, the former “Survivor” contestant went on to have a long and successful career in the television industry, similar to “Survivor: Caramoan” winner John Cochran. Recently, he participated in a Reddit AMA to update fans on his work behind the camera, namely his new Amazon series, “The Wheel of Time.”

Here’s what you need to know about the former “Survivor” contestant.

Rafe Started Screenwriting Soon After ‘Survivor’ Ended

Rafe Judkins in 2005

GettyRafe Judkins at the “Survivor: Guatemala” finale in 2005.

Right after completing his one-time “Survivor” journey 16 years ago, back when he was 22, Rafe immediately moved to Los Angeles to venture into the career of screenwriting, according to a 2020 interview with EW. According to IMDb, his first job in the business was as a script coordinator for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” shortly after his stint on “Survivor” in 2005.

He was later credited as a screenwriter for the first time on the short-lived 2008 NBC drama “My Own Worst Enemy,” starring Christian Slater. He co-wrote three of the show’s nine episodes, then moved onto NBC’s “Chuck” beginning in 2010. During his time there, he co-wrote 11 episodes.

More recently, Rafe became a supervising producer and co-writer for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC, from 2013 to 2015. Then, in 2018, it was announced that Rafe would be brought on as co-writer for the film adaptation of the popular video game series “Uncharted.” The film, which stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, has received much hype from both fans and the media in recent days, with the trailer, which was released last month, garnering nearly 5 million views on YouTube. The film is set to be released February 18, 2022.

Rafe Is Now Showrunner Of the Amazon Series ‘The Wheel of Time’

Rafe Judkins in 2021.

GettyRafe Judkins at the world premiere of “The Wheel of Time” in London, in November 2021.

Recently, Rafe may be getting the most traction for his work showrunning “The Wheel of Time,” a new Amazon TV series based on the popular high fantasy book series by the same name. Rafe did an AMA on the r/television subreddit on Wednesday, in which he answered fans’ questions about the show, and its relation to the long-running book series. Fans of “The Wheel of Time” are encouraged to check it out.

When asked how he managed his mental health taking on such a huge project, Rafe only responded by saying, “I sat in silence for like 30 long seconds after reading this question. It is a good one. Haha.”

Although Rafe has never done an AMA on “Survivor,” one fan of the show managed to sneak into this one. When asked if he still watches the show, Rafe responded, “Sometimes. But I’m more hooked on [Australian] Survivor now.” He echoed much of the fanbase’s thoughts by critiquing the direction the show has gone in: “[Australian ‘Survivor’] feels more like the original game to me. It basically feels like US Survivor is now a competition of who’s good at looking for hidden things in the woods vs. who’s good at throwing things at things in challenges.”

Rafe Predicted His ‘Survivor’ Placement Before the Game Even Started

Rafe Judkins in "Survivor: Guatemala"

YouTubeRafe Judkins after losing the final immunity challenge in “Survivor: Guatemala” (2005).

In his 2020 EW “Quarantine Questionnaire,” Rafe discussed numerous aspects about his time on “Survivor” with Dalton Ross, including his pre-production “strategy essay,” which he wrote for the casting process. He said that “mine was focused on the fact that I was 100% sure I would finish in third place, and that my entire strategy would be built around avoiding that. I thought too many great players had set themselves up to be voted out in third by putting themselves in a situation where they needed to win the final immunity to win the game. And I was NOT going to do that!”

Rafe, of course, ended up doing just that, even going so far as to release Danni, who won the final immunity challenge, of any promises they had made to one another earlier in the game. He said not winning that challenge was his biggest regret in the game. “Learned my lesson the hard way,” he said.

Rafe also said that he had “no regrets” about coming on the show, and would accept the invitation if production asked him back. “The timing has never worked out with my work,” he said, “and I think at this point no one remembers who I am. Ha. But if they asked, of course.” Fans responded enthusiastically to the idea of Rafe returning for the first time in 16 years, with one responding: “You’re telling me Rafe would play again and we HAVENT SEEN HIM BACK??? COME ON PROBST GET HIM ON MY SCREEN!”

Whether or not Rafe will return in front of the cameras, or continue to stay behind them, is a question only Jeff Probst can resolve. You can catch Rafe’s show “The Wheel of Time” on Amazon Prime. New episodes of the first season will be released each Friday until Christmas Eve. Be sure to catch the upcoming episodes of “Survivor 41,” which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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