A Game-Changing Twist Set For Season 35

The format of the game could be shaken up in a brand new twist to the Final Four.

Photo Credit: TimoOK Flickr via Compfight cc

Despite titling the most recent season “Game Changers,” it seems Survivor is saving their biggest game-changing twist for this fall’s Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers.

The brand new twist – which was first revealed in an Instagram post by user “thatrealitygame” – will see a drastic change to the Final Four format and how the Final Three is determined.

In Season 35, the winner of the Final Four Immunity Challenge will not only guarantee their spot at the Final Tribal Council, but they will also have the power to choose one other person to join them. The two castaways not chosen will then battle it out in a fire-making challenge with the winner advancing to the Final Three. This means the last proper vote-off will take place at the Final Five.

A reliable Survivor Reddit poster, who posts under the name Pizzazzazz, backed up this information, and Inside Survivor has subsequently confirmed the news with our own sources.

Survivor is often criticized for the way the “strongest” players are eliminated just before Final Tribal Council, losing out on the chance to plead their case to the jury. But those Day 38 Club woes could be a thing of the past with this monumental shake-up to the game. It would provide an opportunity for those usually voted out for being “jury threats,” and therefore potentially creating a more competitive Final Tribal Council.

"Not Going Down Without a Fight" -- Cydney Gillon and Aubry Bracco compete in the fire-making challenge at Tribal Council during the finale episode of SURVIVOR: KAOH RONG -- Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty. The two-hour season finale, followed by the one-hour live reunion show hosted by Emmy Award winner Jeff Probst, on SURVIVOR, will air Wednesday, May 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab /CBS Entertainment ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights. Reserved.
Photo: CBS.

When you think of some of the big-time players who were voted out just before Final Tribal Council – Cirie Fields, Malcolm Freberg, Kelley Wentworth – the possibilities of the new twist are very enticing. To put this into context, using the most recent season as an example, it would have meant Sarah Lacina and Tai Trang would have faced off in the fire-making challenge at the Final Four (assuming Brad Culpepper still wins immunity and takes Troyzan Robertson to FTC). In Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X, David Wright would have probably gone head-to-head with eventual winner Adam Klein.

It won’t be the first time we’ve seen fire-making at the Final Four Tribal Council (assuming it still takes place at Tribal). The challenge was previously used as a tie-breaker in the event of a deadlocked vote and has been seen in six separate seasons, most recently in Survivor: Kaoh Rong.

It’s unclear whether this new twist will be utilized in every season going forward or if Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers is just a one-off.

What do you think of this new twist? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: TimoOK Flickr via Compfight cc

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

29 responses to “A Game-Changing Twist Set For Season 35”

  1. Truthfully, I am very excited to see how this goes. I do think there is a notion that rings true in Survivor that the “perceived best player” doesn’t always win the game – much of it really does come down to your challenge and physical prowess in that Final Four immunity challenge, or having such a good social/strategic game that you’ve been perceived by the players remaining as not a threat so that they don’t vote you out in that Day 38 spot (which unless you’re a master manipulator playing with people new to the game/concept of FTC, is very difficult.)

    I think that giving that “big jury threat” a final shot at sticking around will be massive, especially if players catch wind of this twist at the season’s start or at the start of jury and are able to get some individual fire-making practice in – I’m going on a guess to say they won’t know about this twist until F4, though.

    Popcorn at the ready!

  2. Sounds like they are trying to fix the issue of strategy being dead from final 7. They’d do that with a final two…

    • Agreed golden. As the article mentions, now the power player gets punted at final five. Once again it just backs up the thing they’re trying to prevent by one spot.

      In addition, players three and four only have to be good at making fire to get a spot in the final three, after the winner of the challenge chooses their ‘second’. In fact the taking a goat strategy just got ridiculous because now alliances could be based on people who can’t start a fire. You recognize three people that can’t light one, take em to the end!

      Final two eliminates threesome alliances and I really enjoyed that moment when the winner of the final three immunity challenge picked one person or the other to come to the final with them.

  3. Not sure how I feel about this one..Looks okay on paper, but it also comes in the way of what Survivor is at its heart.

  4. Cirie went out at final 4 from a fire making challenge – so let’s do this for the Cirie Field’s of the world!…Uhhh that’s some twisted logic right there.

    • “I hate this twist with a burning passion” well it is a fire-making challenge after all

    • I don’t know. It gives the final immunity winner the same choice as if they were doing a final 2. Winning the final immunity challenge becomes a catch 22 again where you’re safe, but you could potentially piss off a jury member and not just sit pretty and think you’ll win like Culpepper did last season. I’m not saying I like it, but I’m not knocking it until I’ve seen it played out.

  5. Ehh… It will be interesting to see, but I hope it only lasts for one season. Making you have to win your way into the final 3 kind of takes away from the game and strategy. Feels less like Survivor and more like The Challenge or something haha.

  6. This is a really cool TWIST in Survivor 35!
    Frankly, I’m so ready for it. Too often, The Power Pack towards the end are just too darn cocky and self important. It becomes so “uh huh…..and?”

    The Path to The End is so set in stone. Boring.

    Well, not any more.

    • Sometimes I wonder why some contestants don’t vote off the powerful people as the game goes on … way before the final 3. Now that this season has started and we’ve seen how the contestants play, I would have taken either Chrissy or Ryan out instead of JP. But then again, maybe the others don’t see them as powerful people. Although, I find that hard to be the case at this point in the game in this season.

  7. Lame, not having vote offs at final four, asinine. I get fire making challengs exist already, however, that only happens with a deadlocked vote. This pretty much says when it gets down to final four, social and strategic game are irrelevant.

  8. If this is a permanent twist it will ruin the game. Being strong will be a liability and all the weak players will band together so they have an equal chance. Nobody is going to want to out themselves as a fire-building threat.

    • Depends on what your definition of ‘strong’ is … some players have strong minds and good strategy … some of the strong (physically) players might not even have a chance and could be dragged along, who have no strategy etc, who have a lower chance of winning.

      I agree with you about this being a permanent part of the game and outing themselves as a fire-building threat … fortunately this is the first season of the final 4 and I don’t think they know about how the twist will work in the end … so they don’t know about making a fire being their ticket to the final 3. But the game usually gets changed up so hopefully it won’t be like this to get to the final 3 next season.

  9. Making fire is the most fundamental requirement in survival.

    I’d like to see 22 people show up on the beach, get split into tribes, and then immediately commence a fire making challenge to eliminate the least prepared Survivor from each tribe.

    If you can’t make fire to get into the game, you shouldn’t be in the game!

    The simple task should also be used right before the merge… it’s a simple challenge but one every Survivor should have mastered by day 22. While I love the social dynamics, basic survival requirements need to be a part of the show.

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