Usually, Chris Harrison is being hyperbolic when he says that a season of The Bachelorette is unlike anything we've ever seen before, but he's been spot on with this one. The original 2020 Bachelorette left less than halfway through the show, the whole thing is being filmed at one resort, the hometowns will take place not in any of the men's actual hometowns, and now The Bachelorette: Men Tell All is significantly smaller than usual. Just 10 of the season's 35 men appeared to talk to Chris Harrison and Tayshia Adams about this season's drama.
The biggest reason why most of the cast is missing is, simply, the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping the cast small makes it easier to test and quarantine and ensure everyone's safety. Additionally, the cast was socially distanced (albeit, still indoors) for the taping, so there was just physically less room to have everyone back.
It's actually not unusual for these reunion specials to not include everyone — even in the before times. Peter Weber's Women Tell All was missing several faces, including Natasha Parker (who was invited but unable to attend) as well as Jasmine Nguyen, Payton Moran, and Courtney Perry who were sent home relatively early and really didn't get enough screen time to warrant them returning. At the time, Chris Harrison told Ashley Iaconetti on her podcast that production decides who to bring back based on how big or impactful their storylines are on the season. That's why he said Kelley Flanagan wasn't invited for Peter's Women Tell All, which is funny in hindsight since the two of them are now dating.
If that same line of thinking was applied for this current Bachelorette season, it makes sense that some of the smaller players weren't brought back to make room for some of the more dramatic contestants like Noah, Yosef, Ed, and Blake.
Traditionally, the final contestants are also not brought back for the Tell All specials because they get their own version of that on After the Final Rose. Because Tayshia's Men Tell All is airing before her hometown dates episode, her final four men were not included in the Men Tell All.
This year's Men Tell All special does look different than those in years past, but having fewer contestants present doesn't mean it will be any less dramatic. That's one thing Bachelorette fans can always count on, no matter the season.