The Big Twist in ‘Survivor Edge of Extinction’ Is a Game Changer

Survivor contestants
Survivor contestants | CBS Survivor via Instagram

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a fan of Survivor since its inception in 2000, or if you came aboard relatively recently. When Survivor: Edge of Extinction hits the small screen in February, a new set of rules is bound to change the game in more ways than one.

‘Survivor’ 101

When Survivor started, the rules were fairly basic. Two groups of American strangers were installed in an isolated location where they were required to fend for themselves under sparse conditions. In each episode, participants were faced with a competitive challenge that resulted in a reward or set them up for elimination. One by one, competition losers were voted off the show by their fellow contestants. Ultimately, one participant remained, and he or she went home with the title of ‘Sole Survivor’ and a purported million bucks.

Over the past 19 years, ‘Survivor’ has been filmed in numerous remote locations:

  • Australian Outback
  • Africa
  • Marquesas Islands
  • Thailand
  • Palau
  • Guatemala
  • Samoa
  • Cook Islands
  • Vanuatu
  • Fiji
  • Cambodia

The rules are about to be disrupted

Remember that rule that sent all the voted-off players off the game for good? It no longer applies. That’s right. Just when you thought it was safe to vote someone out of the game, the amended rules let them wait it out on a nearby island, plotting their revenge. What this thematic shift means to viewers remains to be seen. What it means to Survivor participants is a game changer for sure.

The big twist in ‘Survivor Edge of Extiction’

When Season 38 begins, any player who is voted out will be given two choices. They may opt to throw in the proverbial towel and call it quits, of they may board a boat and continue the game. Thus was the explanation proffered by exec producer and veteran Survivor host, Jeff Probst in Hollywood Reporter.

Lest anyone think ousted players will live in luxury while they plot their comeback, Probst further explained that the interim locale will henceforth be known as ‘Extinction Island’ and it’s not exactly a tropical paradise. The secondary island won’t provide much more than hope and a prop shipwreck with a busted mast. Survivor fans take note: the broken mast is the method by which exhausted contestants may raise a white flag and admit defeat once and for all.

The bigger twist

What makes this twist even more convoluted is the fact that the real Survivor show participants will not know about the amended rule as the game is in production. They will be set up to believe that once someone’s voted out of the game, they’re gone for good. Nobody will have a clue about Extinction Island unless they themselves are voted out of the game by their tribe mates.

This year’s Survivor participants

The Kama Tribe

  • Gavin Whitson, 23
  • Ron Clark, 46
  • Eric Hafemann, 34
  • Joe Anglim, 29
  • Julie Rosenberg, 46
  • Aurora McCreary, 32
  • Victoria Baamonde, 23
  • Aubry Bracco, 32
  • Julia Carter, 24

The Manu Tribe

  • Dan “The Wardog” DeSilva, 38
  • Chris Underwood, 25
  • Keith Sowell, 19
  • Rick Devens, 33
  • Wendy Diaz, 25
  • Kelley Wentworth, 31
  • David Wright, 44
  • Reem Daly, 46
  • Lauren O’Connell, 21

Created for a US audience by Mark Burnett, Jeff Probst, and Charlie Parsons, Survivor derives from a 1997 Swedish TV series, Expedition Robinson. The first season of the American version of Survivor took place in Borneo and made its broadcast debut on May 31, 2000.

The latest incarnation of the durable reality show, Survivor: Edge of Extinction is poised to broadcast on February 20, 2019. Mark your calendar now, so you don’t miss a minute of the thrilling debut of the thoroughly disrupted rules.