We’re just about a month away from when the lights will go up on season 13 of American Ninja Warrior. More and more details regarding what we can expect from the 2021 season have come to light, so we’ve gathered them all for you here.
This is what we know about season 13 so far.
The number of competitors will be up from season 12, but still down from season 11.
While we’re not back to pre-pandemic levels, season 13 will have more Ninjas than the 150 of season 12. The feeling we’re getting from looking at the calls going out and talking with production is that the usual 600-plus competitors will be down by about a third. This is due to the fact that the show will take a cautious approach to filming. There will be COVID-19 guidelines in place. The show won’t lock itself down in one spot, such as what happened in season 12. But it still wasn’t the right time to plan a whole six-city tour around the country.
This year, the show has invited select teenage Ninjas to run in the regular competition.
Both American Ninja Warrior Junior and the local competitive leagues have proven that there is an extremely talented young generation of athletes. All those calls of, “These kids are as good as the adults!” have been heard. Ninjas between the ages of 15 and 18 will run the course in the regular competition. Not a special episode. Not on a course geared to kids. These teens have the opportunity to take it all the way to the National Finals.
Every Ninja will start the season in Tacoma.
The show will film all the Qualifying rounds, the first part of the competition, inside the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. The show filmed there back in season 11 so it’s familiar ground for the production team and Ninjas. The Qualifiers will consist of the six-obstacle courses that usually start the season. Taping is scheduled for the end of March.
The Ninjas who advance from the Qualifiers will then go to Los Angeles.
In another return to familiar stomping grounds, the show will then go to the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot in Los Angeles. Here, all the Semifinals competitions will be held. That will be the 10-obstacle courses that we would normally call the City Finals. The location means the Ninjas will be back on an overnight taping schedule, taking place outdoors. This taping is planned for mid-April.
From there, it’s back to the National Finals.
Season 12 prevented the show from heading to Las Vegas and setting up the four stages of the National Finals. For season 13, those who advance from the Semifinals will head back to Vegas. Taping is planned for May, which is earlier than the show usually sets up camp in the city. The $1 million cash prize is back on the line as well.
While we now know a lot, there’s still more to be determined. Will there be any changes to the competition format? Will we have any kind of Power Tower races and prizes? Will the Mega Wall return and how will it function within the competition? How many Qualifiers and Semifinals can we expect? And the question on everyone’s mind, will season 13 have an American Ninja Warrior champion? We’ll have to wait and see on that one.