SPOILER: In the analyses of the returning players there ARE spoilers for the season they previously played in. The rest of the article is completely spoiler-free.
The reality show powerhouse, Survivor, has reached its 38th season and the upcoming season features a twist that will completely change the way this season is played. Somewhere between Pearl Islands‘ Outcast twist and the titular Redemption Island twist is Extinction Island. A twist like this isn’t necessarily bad although some fans of the show would argue otherwise. What makes or breaks a season of Survivor most of the time is the group of people that casting puts together for the adventure.
The preview we got during the David vs. Goliath reunion:
The preview released with the cast reveal:
For Survivor: Edge of Extinction, we will have 2 tribes, Kama and Manu. Each tribe will have 2 returning players and then 7 rookie players. Kama gets Joe Anglim (Worlds Apart, Cambodia) and Aubry Bracco (Kaôh Rōng, Game Changers) while Manu gets Kelley Wentworth (San Juan Del Sur, Cambodia) and David Wright (Millennials vs. Gen X). This is much different setup than all of the other seasons to feature returning players as ‘tribe captains.’ Typically it is 1 returning player per tribe and the tribes are either 2 or 3. This is the most players to return in this format.
The Kama Tribe
Aubry Bracco’s Survivor career has been full of ups and downs. In both Kaôh Rōng and Game Changers, she made deep runs but both were very different games. In her first appearance, she dealt with anxiety over the game until she got to the merge. She lost two of her strongest allies due to medical evacuations post-merge, yet she held onto a strong power position in that season. Although all of these returning players played prior to the final 4 firemaking twist, Aubry actually did secure he spot in the final 3 of Kaôh Rōng by beating Cydney Gillon in a firemaking tiebreaker. The winner of the season won the advantage to vote a member off of the jury, and she chose one of Aubry’s closest allies. Aubry was praised for her ability to transform and get over her anxiety throughout the game but that was not enough to win after being named the season’s first runner up.
In Game Changers, Aubry played from the bottom and did not mix well with many of the other returning players. Two-time Survivor winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine, even told Aubry that she had no interest in working together. Despite Aubry being on the bottom and having a minimal edit for the entire game, she made it to Day 37 of 39.
Aubry has shown in her last two appearances, that she can work with whatever the game throws at her. She may also be a player that may be underestimated by the new players due to her almost purple edit in her most recent season. What may work against her is her anxiousness in the first few days of the game as well as her status as a runner up, and the only runner up among the returnees. If Aubry gets voted out, I am unsure about whether she could stand Extinction Island, especially if she is a player that is isolated there. Her anxiety just might be her downfall. As mentioned earlier, the final 4 firemaking twist could actually work in her favor due to her previous experience making fire.
Aurora is a 32-year-old divorce lawyer from Orlando, Florida who describes herself as both humble and stubborn. She also seems to be worried about her own loud mouth and her ability to get into arguments. Aurora seems to be a wild card due to her being completely open to being viewed as a villain and her stating that she is most like Tyson Apostol (Tocantins, Heroes vs. Villains, Blood vs. Water). What stands out to me about Aurora before even seeing her play is her ability to show how she can apply her role as a divorce lawyer to how she can play the game. We have seen players with law professions do well in the past, and there is a very good chance Aurora could be a part of that.
The biggest thing I see working against Aurora is her big personality. If she cannot lie low and avoid conflict, she could become an easy boot for her tribe. What works in her favor is the uneven gender split on the Kama tribe. There are more women than there are men.
Eric is a firefighter from California who doesn’t see anything too special about himself. He is just an average guy who is blessed to get the opportunity to play the game. It is hard to tell how Eric will fare in the actual game based upon this video. He doesn’t come off as this bombastic personality who could come off as threatening or dominate the edit. He does seem very average. Him laying low while also being an asset to his tribe could definitely work out for him in the long run.
I cannot fully judge his personality, as it does not seem to be very good in an interview style. He could definitely come off as a different person in the context of the game. Eric not thinking of himself too highly may be something that could work in his favor.
The original trailer for Edge of Extinction that was aired during the David vs. Goliath reunion revealed that Gavin does seem to choose to go to Extinction Island for a chance to rejoin the game. In most seasons, we do get a more traditionally southern player. Not just someone from a southern state, but someone with a southern accent to go along with it. Last season we got 2 players in this vein, Elizabeth Oslen and Nick Wilson of the David tribe.
Gavin is one of the youngest of this season at only 23 years old. Gavin got married two days before going out to the island and based upon his CBS profile answers, he seems to have a good sense of humor. Gavin calls himself Keith Nale (San Juan Del Sur, Cambodia), but more socially aware. Based on what material is out about Gavin thus far points to him being someone who could help out his tribe socially and physically. He may not be a challenge powerhouse but he seems willing to put in the work. He could live up to this potential or he could crash and burn. This is definitely one of my players to watch.
Joe Anglim of Worlds Apart and Cambodia has returned and he seems to think that this time he can bring it home. Joe has been known as a challenge threat in both appearances. His threat landed him in a post-merge minority in both instances. In Worlds Apart, Joe’s immunity run was broken after 2 wins. He created a fake immunity idol in an attempt to gain trust of the Blue Collar alliance. Upon realizing the idol was fake, Joe became the second member of the jury. Joe made it deeper in Cambodia but was turned on by the majority alliance due to Stephen Fishbach’s (Tocantins, Cambodia) paranoia. Stephen’s paranoia resulted in Joe being saved when Jeremy Collins (San Juan Del Sur, Cambodia) decided to blindside Stephen. Joe was not safe the following vote however due to him passing out during the immunity challenge. He was then promptly voted out in a more or less unanimous fashion.
Joe is a wildcard because it would be smart for his tribe to oust him to make for a more even playing field for individual immunity, but he will prove to be a huge asset for them. He works at camp and does well in challenges. His newfound relationship outside of the game with Sierra Dawn Thomas (Worlds Apart, Game Changers) will likely help him as well.
Julia Carter is the first of her family to attend college and will begin medical school right after she gets home from Survivor. She definitely seems to be a smart individual, and her comparing herself to Jeremy Collins (San Juan Del Sur, Cambodia) shows that she intends on being a smart player as well.
Julia definitely seems to have the people skills necessary but her biggest issue would be not looking like too much of a social threats. Some seasons let social threats go by while others pounce on them the second they appear. It will all depend on her cast. She definitely seems as if she will be a strong female player.
Julie Rosenberg is 46, and one of the older members of this particularly cast. She admits to not having any experience with the outdoors. Her fish out of water personality could help her be underestimated or make her a floater like Cagayan‘s Morgan McLoed.
She describes herself as a super fan while also comparing herself to Dawn Meehan (South Pacific, Caramoan). Dawn is not someone many people compare themselves to due to how bad both of her seasons were and how poorly she played both times. It is very interesting to see Dawn’s name come up in that particularly discussion. Her video does not give much information, but I do not see Julie going far. Typically players with similar names do not do well, particularly when one has a bigger or more likable personality. Just look at Ghost Island‘s 2 Stephanie’s.
Ron Clark, also one of the oldest of the cast, seems to be very animated and open to being perceived as a villain. He seems to have an interesting background as a teacher. One of the most interesting answers found in Ron’s CBS profile is when he is asked what 3 items he would bring to the island. One of his items is “a returning player that others would focus on voting out so that the target wouldn’t be on me.” With none of the newbies knowing yet that each of their tribes will contain 2 returning players, it will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition or if Ron decides to make genuine alliances with Joe or Aubry.
I see Ron having a lot of potential as long as he can avoid the stereotypes of being an older player.
Victoria Baamonde is one of the youngest of the cast and I honestly cannot wait to see her play. She appears to be super smart and did plenty of research. She read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. She watched as many premieres as possible to see why the first person of each season went out first. She met an adventurer who taught her how to make fire. She read interviews and articles by past castaways on what to do when you get out there. Victoria is basically a nerdy, Christian archetype in a package that is not nearly as obvious. In a game that underestimates female players, Victoria could win if not at least solidify herself as a great player. I am really hoping her run into Edge of Extinction.
The Manu Tribe
Chris Underwood is from Greenville, South Carolina. He is the most local player to my knowledge and it will be interesting to see if I can root for. Chris considers himself a super fan and would like to get to take parts of players such as Malcolm Freberg (Philippines, Caramoan, Game Changers), Tyson Apostol (Tocantins, Heroes vs. Villains, Blood vs. Water), and Ozzy Lusth (Cook Islands, Micronesia, South Pacific, Game Changers) to somehow create the perfect game.
Chris appears to be very articulate and multi-dimensional. As long as he is adaptable and humble he has a shot.
Dan “Wardog” DaSilva knows that Survivor stereotypes could work against him but he wishes to be his own player. He has a military history, where his name Wardog came from. He is also currently pursuing law. He seems to be a player that could prove an asset to his tribe. He could easily make an immunity run. He seems to have a very charming personality. His life experience and adaptability will definitely work in his favor.
The fact that this is David Wright’s first time back absolutely baffles me. And I know that the only season to feature returnees after his original run in Millennials vs. Gen X was Game Changers but you would think he would have been part of the cast.
David was an anxious wreck, like Aubry, for his first few days out there but he slowly but surely became one of the best players to ever play the game. His tribe saw him as their weakest link physically yet still cheered for him. He went from being afraid of bugs to being the first of his tribe to make fire. He masterminded blindsides and created fake idols and looked to be an easy winner but he was booted in 4th place, right outside of the Final Tribal Council. David Wright will have a major target on his back, especially if he cannot prove himself to be an asset in tribal challenges this time around.
Keith Sowell is this season’s teenager, at only 19 years old. He is wanting to have a puppeteer, under the radar social game. That is something typical of players headed into the game but we shall see how things actually pan out for him. Like Julia, Keith is a pre-med student. He has also risen from the lower class to pursue an education. I can definitely see him and Julia becoming allies in a swap or merge.
Kelley Wentworth had a very minimal edit in her first appearance, San Juan Del Sur, mostly due to the presence of her dad, Dale Wentworth, and bigger players such as Jeremy Collins, Natalie Anderson, and more. After her boot early in the merge, she later returned due to a fan vote in Cambodia. Wentworth was able to maintain a fairly under the radar game early on due to many people forgetting about her. In Cambodia she put together an all female alliance and played from the majority for the entire game. Her second time out was very eventful. She was the first player to find an idol during an immunity challenge. She orchestrated the blindside of Andrew Savage, using an idol to negate 9 votes against her. She came just one round short of the Final Tribal Council, being eliminated on Day 38.
Going into Edge of Extinction, Wentworth will certainly have a target on her back as a returning player and player known for her sneakiness and her ability to find advantages. If she is able to put together a strong alliance and form good bonds, and perhaps she could avoid playing from the minority position for once.
Like many players this season, 22-year-old Lauren O’Connell sees herself as a well-rounded player. Two players that Lauren compares herself two are Parvati Shallow and Kelley Wentworth. It will be interesting to see if she gravitates to Wentworth or notes her idol as a threat. Lauren seems like a fighter that will be trying her best to stay in the game. I see her going early or making a deep run.
Reem Daly is one of three 46-year-old’s one this season that are tied for the oldest castaway. Reem seems to be a superfan and is super honest about her big mouth. I will be honest and say that Reem doesn’t click with me. I think she will be interesting on TV but I do not see her lasting long. Something about her makes her seem to be someone that may not click for her tribe and would be an easy first boot in the event of them losing the first challenge. She reminds me of the aforementioned Dawn Meehan (South Pacific, Caramoan) mixed with that crazy bus driver from Tocantins.
Rick Devens was one of 2 players to be shown in the original season reveal, along with tribemate Wendy Diaz. Rick seems to be super open to working with different people. Rick has an open personality and is perfectly fine making himself the butt of jokes. His biggest obstacle would be attempting to not being annoying about his humor. We saw Dan Foley on Worlds Apart try to be funny but just make his tribemates uncomfortable. I do not see Rick being anything similar to Dan luckily. I can totally see him having very entertaining confessionals.
What I also love is the fact that Rick vows not to play a game like Laurel Johnson of Ghost Island did.
Rounding out the Manu tribe and the Edge of Extinction cast, is Wendy Diaz, the other newbie featured in the season’s preview.Wendy is a ball of energy that is sure to be an important part of the season. I am hoping she goes far since she seems to be a very unique archetype than we have seen before. She has compared herself to Sandra Diaz-Twine (Pearl Islands, Heroes vs. Villains, Game Changers), the only two time winner, as well as Tai Trang (Kaôh Rōng, Game Changers). I see her having a good chance at going far as long as she does not get carried away and be seen as a threat due to her obvious excitement.