Survivor is once again diving into its bag of island-related twists for the upcoming thirty-ninth season.
Inside Survivor can reveal that the rumored theme for season 39 is Island of the Idols, the title of which was first posted by user SurvivorFan37 on Survivor Sucks. As previously announced, the twist will see former winners Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine acting as “advisers” for the twenty new castaways.
Similar to the Edge of Extinction, the Island of the Idols title serves as a double-meaning, referring to both hidden immunity idols (and advantages) as well as the involvement of Rob and Sandra, two bonafide “Survivor Idols,” who will reside on the titular island.
Throughout the season, players will be sent to the Island of the Idols via various methods, and while there they have a chance to gain advice and advantages from the pair of past champions. Think of it as sort of like Ghost Island, except instead of being populated by cursed props of Survivor past, Boston Rob and Queen Sandra haunt the hallowed grounds.
Rob and Sandra are NOT active players within the game, meaning they are not eligible to win the prize money, and their involvement in the season will remain a secret to the cast, at least for a while. Obviously, those sent to the Island will learn of the veterans’ presence, but as far as Inside Survivor has learned, the players are encouraged to keep Rob and Sandra a secret upon returning to camp.
Survivor previously tried a similar twist in Game Changers, when Caramoan winner John Cochran made a one-off appearance during Debbie Wanner’s Exile reward. The two-time Survivor player offered Debbie guidance and an array of advantages during his short visit. Island of the Idols basically takes this concept and stretches it into a season-long theme.
There is no Redemption Island or Edge of Extinction element to the Island. It’s not a place where eliminated castaways await for another chance to get back in the game. Once a player has their torch snuffed this season, they are out for good.
UPDATE 05/16/19: CBS confirmed the Island of the Idols theme at the live reunion special of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
Season 39 recently wrapped up filming in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands and is scheduled to air this fall on CBS. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more information.