Season 38 Theme And Title

What crazy theme has Survivor cooked up next?

Photo: CJ Isherwood via Compfight cc

In June, we revealed that the title and theme of the thirty-eighth edition of Survivor would be titled Island of Extinction, in a slight correction to that info, the title is actually Edge of Extinction.

The corrected title was first posted by user Phee-Lion on Reddit, and Inside Survivor has since verified this with our own sources. The twist itself remains the same, though the Island of Extinction will simply be known as Extinction Island.

Below is the original article posted back in June:

What does that mean? Why does it sound like the title of a future Jurassic Park movie? Are we going to see a literal Dodo on Survivor? All valid questions. Let me try and explain the best I can.

After each Tribal Council, the eliminated castaway will have a choice to leave the game or go to Extinction Island where they will have no shelter, limited food supplies and nothing but time on their hands as they await a chance to potentially get back in the game. They can choose to quit at any time. Basically Redemption Island but without the weekly duels.

Earlier this week Inside Survivor announced four returning castaways would be competing on season 38 and one can’t help but think this twist is a way to prolong their screen-time should they be voted out. It could also act as an incentive for the newbies not to eliminate the veterans, knowing that there is a chance they could come back.

Extinction Island sounds like an updated version of the original Ghost Island concept which was one of the ideas on the table for season 30 back in 2014. Inside Survivor posted about the old Ghost Island concept last year after a source shared with us a pitch document detailing the theme. In the pitch, Ghost Island is described as a location where eliminated players live together with “a shelter and only meager supplies” while waiting for an opportunity to return at a later point in the season.

The pitch went on to say that those remaining on the island would compete in an endurance challenge both at the merge and on Day 37, where the winner would be reintroduced to the game. It also said that the focus would be on “an entirely new kind of survival – of the mental kind” and that the lack of alliances would create “a new kind of politicking” where people would “try and figure out how to get others to quit” to increase their chances.

UPDATED: 07/13/18: Inside Survivor can now confirm that the theme will indeed work like the original Ghost Island concept mentioned above. When a player is eliminated they can choose to quit or stay on Extinction Island. Players can leave at any time. There will be two chances for a player to win their way back into the game – at the merge and then around Day 35/36. Extinction Island does not reset at the merge; the extinct castaways who don’t win their way back into the game can continue to live on Extinction Island until Day 35/36 when the second opportunity to reenter arises. Yes, that means pre-merge boots could be living alongside post-merge boots. And yes, that theoretically means the entire cast could still be alive in the game come Day 35/36. It could also mean a player eliminated on Day 3 still has a chance to reenter and win the season.

UPDATED: 07/20/18: Many people have asked how the jury will work in regards to this twist, well, we can finally shed some light on that matter. As I understand it, every eliminated player who chooses to stay on Extinction Island past the first merge Tribal Council will be part of the jury (if a player on EI quits post-merge, they will still be on the jury). Yes, that means, theoretically, all 15 castaways not in the Final 3 could be a jury member. It could also mean those eliminated early are voting for people they’ve never met at Final Tribal Council.

UPDATED: 01/02/19: The Extinction Island twist will not be revealed to the entire cast up front. A player will only become aware of the twist once they are voted out. The players remaining in the game will not find out about Extinction Island until the merge when Jeff Probst brings out the eliminated castaways for their first opportunity to win their way back into the game. Think back to the Outcasts twist in Survivor: Pearl Islands to get a sense of how this might work. The winner of the challenge will reenter the game and join the merged tribe. The losers can choose to continue living on Extinction Island or quit.

What do you think? Has Survivor gone too far? Would it be enjoyable to watch people trying to make each other quit? Would people accept an early boot returning to the game that late in the process? Is it right that every eliminated player could be on the jury?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Stay tuned to Inside Survivor over the coming weeks for further updates.

Header Photo: CJ Isherwood 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.

45 responses to “Season 38 Theme And Title”

  1. I’ll probably feel better about this when the season comes around, but all I can think is that the editing on this season is going to be terribly lopsided again. I hated the editing on Ghost Island, and I think that was largely due to the Ghost Island visits distracting away from other events and players. Combine this island that we have to cut to every episode with 4 returning players, and I bet there will be a lot of players that we know nothing about for half the season like on Ghost Island. They’re probably doing it to ensure the returning players are on the show for as long as possible.

    I just realized while typing this that if they have someone come back into the game at like 5 or 6 like redemption island seasons, then that just gives that person a ridiculous amount of attempts at making final tribal due to the new final 4 twist… And who does that ultimately benefit? Joe… Okay, I like it a lot less now. haha

    I’ll try to stay optimistic about it though! I’m too negative about their decisions usually. Maybe it will be amazing.

  2. This does not sound like a good season. The merge…. I could see someone who comes back at merge winning. Chances are the tribe will just want them gone… but there’s a chance they could win. But the Day 37 winner, that’s just dumb. Who is going to vote for a winner that just stayed on Extinction Island for a long time? They didn’t even have to play the game. Survivor is really on a downhill run with themes. Ghost Island was awful, David vs Goliath doesn’t seem like it has too much potential, and now a theme that won’t probably produce a winner who goes to “Extinction Island.” Ugh.

  3. Okay, now I can say I’m officially not looking forward to this. Way to ruin a season with both Wentworth and Aubry!

    Seriously, 1) this favors the vets much like Redemption Island did, 2) it’s not going to be good TV since it’ll either be constant ugliness like pre-merge Caramoan / the entirety of Worlds Apart or boring AF, and 3) I thought they knew we didn’t like the idea of someone returning to the game later on! What, did Mike White not talk Probst out of it when he was playing S37?

    We are officially in the Second Dark Age of Survivor. We have been since Lame Changers, really. The show has lost its way again. With so much production interference… it’s highly unlikely we’ll get another saving grace like Cagayan ultimately was (though Blood vs. Water officially started the Big Movez Era).

    It’s still Survivor, so I will watch it, but… it’s just not something to get excited about like I used to, even before HHH…

  4. To me the theme sounds very bad like you pointed out. I don’t think anyone will actually quit and it would be horrible trying to see others try but it would also be boring if they don’t. They might do it like the Outcast way where they don’t show us what is going on the island and only show the highlights when someone is about to comeback. I think that would be the only way it works

  5. This would make for a TERRIBLE season and would DEFINITELY ruin the show!!! This is NOT how we have Kelley, Aubry, and Joe return for potentially their last time!! This concept would just be depressing and would take away from the stategy of the show, which is what everyone wants to see! Every Redemption Island season is definitely one of the LOWLY ranked seasons because the people who get voted out aren’t even out of the game yet! It’s more suspenseful and entertaining when the people voted out are instantly eliminated once that torch is snuffed.

  6. why cant we have an oldschool twistless season with new location again. Good Lord please make win the lottery. I will sponsor a survivor location.

  7. Hate the idea, I mean I wouldn’t mind it if it’s just premerge but coming back on day 37 is ridiculous, Fans don’t want to see players get voted out and come back in, when will survivor learn that

    • Well, if they’ve been there for 37 days, SURVIVING, shouldn’t be they be considered as a survivor??
      They start ‘over’ with no shelter, minimal food, etc.
      I remember several/many times when one the voted out, I had wanted to stay longer.
      Just bout like on big Brother when they vote out a HG that coulda shoulda stayed longer, like everyone picked on them and kicked them out too early, especially if they were a good player and maybe liked like the audience.

      I’d like to see Survivor and Big Brother get rid of the bad worst castaways/HG first to save the best for last.
      Especially like when they had Survivor favs come back, they were most often the target to get out early. I would have liked to see them be able to play ore and up to their best.

  8. If they only do one re-entry near the merge it would be a carbon copy of the Pear Island Outcast Tribe, except everyone would know in advance. Lil could have won that except she stupidly chose Sandra to take to Final Tribal instead of Johnny Fairplay.

  9. I don’t see this working after the merge- the eliminated players at that point would have to go on the jury and attend each TC from then on.
    Another problem I see is someone voted out on day 3, lasting until day 37, and rejoining the game. If somehow they made it to the final 3, the jury would know nothing about him or her.
    And finally, the game is “ outwit,outlast, & outplay.” Seems like the players on the island would only have to outlast the others until the very end. I think when your torch is snuffed, that’s it. Go see Doc then on to Ponderosa!

    • If it works like the old GI concept then the jury would know everything about that person because they’d all be living together on the Island of Extinction for most of the season.

      • I was thinking that the players eliminated from the game after the merge would have to go to Ponderosa rather than Extinction Island. That way they would attend TC’s and be aware what was going on in the game. If they kept sending them to EI, they would know what was happening there but not in the ‘real’ game. And the quitting aspect could mess up the jury numbers. Either way I think it would be a mess. Hope they don’t go that route.

  10. This is awful. Probst screws the fans once again with his insane rhetoric and pointless, scene-stealy ideas that ruin the game. I don’t know if it is good to finally know exactly who is responsible for all these bad ideas, or if it just makes it all the more frustrating knowing that if we could get rid of Probst, the show might get great again?

  11. Anyone who’s not angry at this is not thinking about it. Just like Redemption Island, it’s conveniently debuting in a captain season, and it’s basically Redemption Island made easier with only one challenge to do and anyone in your way being able to just opt out. Imagine Joe being voted out at the first tribal, coming back for merge, being voted out immediately, coming back at final 5, winning immunity, winning the no longer optional tiebreaker, and going to FTC. The only solace I have in that scenario is that any jury with a brain would see straight through it.

  12. I guess I’m one of the few people who actually didn’t hate the Outcast twist or Redemption Island. I definitely agree that both needed to be executed better, though. Maybe the way Top Chef/Food Network Star does it with a web-only side series, hosted by a notable castaway like Colby or Parvati.

    But this? I’m really not looking forward to it. The concept just sounds incredibly off to me for some reason. Victor Bittercourt probably described the worst possible scenario (and I’m already cringing at the thought of more returnees), but then the whole “psyche players out to encourage them to quit” thing? I’m getting some serious Alicia/Colton vibes here and that bothers me even more 🙁

  13. Horrific theme. Setting Joe up to win. Why is Probst so against the idea of women doing well and winning their season? He’s ruining the show.

  14. People hated the Outcast twist. People either hated Redemption Island or were apathetic towards it. What in the world would make Jeff think that this was a good idea?

  15. So does this mean that in theory, there could be more people on this ‘Island of Extinction’ than there are in the game? That seems kind of ridiculous to me.

  16. If you want to see how nasty people can get, when they are trying to make someone quit. Look no further than last years “Stranded With A Million Dollars” on MTV. Majority depriving minority, food and shelter. Took a real ugly turn at final 4. One pair was actually defecating in the water supply of the other pair, in hopes of a medivac. Unfortunately the show had a really cool concept, but I don’t think the producers anticipated the level of depravity people will sink to, for money. Needles to say it wasn’t renewed for a second season. Just remember even a bad season of Survivor, is better than 90% of the shows on TV.

  17. I thought it could be interesting till I saw the part about the jury. It may not matter in the end but how this twist will do all depends on how it is edited. Only show the parts where people quit and no emotional “I’ll never give up” moments. The new tribal council format has shown that something as stupid as out day 3, get back in and out again, return on day 37, make final tribal and win does not occur. Someone needs to beat Joe or make him quit.

    Another thought would be keep the twist a secret (Pre-Merge) to castaways still in the game and the reveal it at the merge. (Like Outcasts) That would make the most sense. It’s gonna be one of those “experiment” seasons with this twist and depending how it is received when the season airs will determine if it is every reused again. I’m not going to judge what I think until I see for myself what kind of craziness this is when season airs. I’ll watch anything Survivor puts out. It’s a lot better then most T.V. shows (Not exclusive to streaming services like Netflix) on television eight now, I’m addicted to the show and hope to be on it one day.


  18. I agree that MvX was the last truly great season. There are some people who don’t like it for whatever reason, but it’s in my top 10.

    And yes, we got through one Dark Age. We can get through another… provided that production wakes up to what’s making people bail on the show or say things like I did before. It’s going to be hard to get another Cagayan if production isn’t going to allow it to happen by stifling gameplay with excessive twists…

      • I disagree. I think the HHH cast was pretty strong, actually. And Ghost Island had many good casting choices, but unfortunately seven of them left pre-merge and another was first juror. Most of the good casting didn’t make it far enough into the game, which gave us a bad season.

        The problem isn’t the cast – it’s how they’re editing them and trying to spoon them into archetypal roles. That makes it boring and at times it feels disingenuous because the production involvement is not allowing these people to be who they really are, removing the human element that made the show special in the first place.

        • fyi David vs. Goliath fixed my qualms here and gave us an unbelievable amount of personal content and a sense of humor where we got to see who the castaways were as people to an extent we haven’t seen in AGES. For once, the cast wasn’t being restricted by production involvement – and it produced an all-time great season.

          We got our Cagayan. Let’s just hope that 39 Days is a continuation of that, seeing as Edge of Extinction won’t be given the twist that gets more terrible the more that gets out. I can hope that they can make it into a Pearl Islands but I’m not holding my breath.

  19. The jury thing is still confusing me. A player can be on Extinction Island and be on the jury, and could then potentially rejoin the game on Day 37? It all sounds messed up.

  20. I like it. I’ve been waiting for them to make some big changes. The Ghost Island theme was a joke. But this changes the dynamics of the game.

  21. Exactly! Or Survivor South Africa which in it’s most recent season I’ve found even more enjoyable than any of the most recent 3 seasons of Australian Survivor I’ve had the pleasure of viewing.

  22. Does inside survivor know if the contestants on extinction island will be getting screen time as if they are another tribe? Or will they only get footage during the challenges to come back?

    It’s interesting if the extinction island folk are the jury as well. If they spend a lot of time with someone that was voted out day 3 and really connect with them – they could potentially crown them the winner if that individual comes back.

    This makes editing awkward because they can’t form story arcs as easily with people stuck on extinction island without it either becoming very obvious which one is returning or having really shallow exposure of each contestant.

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