"Casting has begun and some members of Bachelor Nation are apprehensive to sign up," one insider shared. "Some are wondering what direction the season will take and are curious if it will strictly focus on contestants falling in love."
The insider told E! News that past contestants of the franchise are hesitant to join the upcoming Paradise spinoff due to The Bachelor alum Rachael Kirkconnell's social-media controversy and Chris Harrison's offensive reaction to it in which he had defended the racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in Rachael's past -- which include posing for photos at an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
A second source expressed a similar sentiment and said, "[Producers] have put out several asks to Bachelor veterans. Many people are declining due to the current state of Bachelor Nation. A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise."
After all, reports have circulated for weeks many members of Bachelor Nation are up in arms and want to see Chris fired from his hosting position. (Others, however, such as Matt James and Ben Higgins, said they don't want to see Chris get canceled).
ABC is "hoping to get Blake Horstmann, Tia Booth, and Becca Kufrin" onboard, revealed the second source, although "producers are not considering most of the women from Matt's season."
Even though many familiar faces from the franchise may opt out of looking for love on Bachelor in Paradise during these challenging times, a third source told E! News, "This could be the best cast ever."
"There is talk of having two years' worth of cast due to no Bachelor in Paradise last year," the third source explained, referencing how ABC skipped the 2020 edition of Paradise due to coronavirus and filming obstacles.
"They are in talks with multiple former leads. For the first time in franchise history, there will very likely be former Bachelors and Bachelorettes hitting the beach in Mexico."
Matt recently made it known he has no interest in returning to reality television, but other former The Bachelor stars who are still single from the past five or so years include Peter, Chris Soules and Colton Underwood.
As for single The Bachelorette stars, fans could maybe see Becca, Andi Dorfman or Ashley Hartsock, who recently separated from her husband JP Rosenbaum.