Warning, this post includes spoilers for Season 38.
The Challenge debuted in 1997. 25 years later, the show is still going on. And to our surprise, some of the people from the original show are still interested in appearing. All Stars 3 saw Cynthia, who won Road Rules: All Stars (aka season 1), make a return. Roni also came back to The Challenge after 19 years away from the franchise.
Clearly, age is nothing but a number in terms of interest. But when we look at the flagship show, we now know cast members are as replaceable as light bulbs. Yet some people keep coming back years after their debut.
Season 38 saw Veronica and Darrell enter as mercenaries. Both of them were on All Stars 3 (which is the reason they were asked back, their background check was cleared), but they’re also the two oldest people on the show. Veronica was born in 1977 and Darrell was born in 1979.
But, there are two ways to answer the initial question.
Firstly, are people ever too old to compete based on age? To that, I say no. But, we also can’t ignore that people change when they get older. Life circumstances might make people bad picks for The Challenge. People who can’t make the time commitment due to work or family care probably shouldn’t participate in the game. Especially in the current climate where random quarantines pop up, this makes it hard for people to remain committed through the entire season.
But someone like Mark could easily jump back onto the main series. Is he in his 50s? Yes? Did he just beat someone 20 years younger in elimination? Also yes.
Look at Spies, Lies, and Allies. CT was the oldest person on the show, and he won at the age of 41. So people can pull out surprise victories when you least expect it. He also won on War of the Worlds 2 in full dad bod mode, so don’t write someone off just because they gained a little weight.
There’s another approach to this question. Could someone be “too old” based on the length of time they’ve been away from the franchise? For example, before All Stars, it was rumored that Kendal would return to the main series around the War of the Worlds 2 era. If she came back, she wouldn’t have really known anyone in the game.
But of course, it would have been a welcome return. Challenge fans tend to love surprise comebacks, like Shane’s on Invasion. It’s one of the best ways to keep old school fans invested in the show and reintroduce someone into the spotlight. Production did it with Brad on Vendettas.
Personally, I’m thrilled to see Darrell and Veronica come back. Hopefully, Veronica manages to pull off another blindside.