The full cast — including 14 new contestants and four returning ones — for Survivor: Edge of Extinction has finally been revealed. (And you can see our full photo gallery and bio info on the cast right here.) Among the new players is a guy who had Matthew Perry play him in a TV movie (Ron Clark, subject of TNT’s The Ron Clark Story from 2006), a divorce lawyer (Aurora McCreary), and former member of the military who goes by the name “The Wardog” (Dan DaSilva).
Those newbies will be joined by returning all-stars Joe Anglim (Worlds Apart, Second Chance), Aubry Bracco (Kaoh Rong, Game Changers), Kelley Wentworth (San Juan del Sur, Second Chance) and David Wright (Millennials vs. Gen-X) for the show’s 38th season, which premieres Feb. 20 on CBS.
But what exactly is Edge of Extinction? EW went on location for filming in Fiji and got some scoop from host Jeff Probst on the latest wrinkle in the game. “Edge of Extinction is a new twist,” explains Probst. “There’s two elements to it. There’s the spiritual and there’s the gameplay. The gameplay is — you don’t know this, it’s a secret — but when you’re voted out, you’re going to leave Tribal and walk around the corner and finally come to this lighted torch with a signpost. And the signpost will say, ‘You have a decision to make. If you’re done playing and you want your adventure to end, keep walking. If, however, you want a chance to get back in the game, take the torch and get in the boat.’ That’s all you know.”
Probst says each individual that is voted out of the game will have to make a choice whether enough is enough. “So you’ve just been voted out and now you have this decision,” says the host. “Do you want to go into the unknown for a shot to get back in, or am I done? That’s the twist. That’s the premise. What they don’t know is what they will be going into. Where they’re going is Edge of Extinction. You will arrive at night in pitch black with a lighted torch to a beach. And the first person there will be the only person there. And that’s it.”
Probst promises that the living on Edge of Extinction will be anything but easy. “Everything you do will require way more effort than you were doing back on that thing that you thought was tough called Survivor. And you’re doing it all on the idea that you have a shot to get back in.”
And what happens if someone gets there and decides they can’t hack it? “If it becomes too much, raise a sail and a boat will come get you,” reveals Probst.
While the Edge of Extinction twist certainly brings back to mind previous twists such as the Outcasts (season 7) and Redemption Island (seasons 22, 23, 27) where players that were voted out had a chance to get back in the game, Probst says one big difference here is the degree of difficulty players this season will face to get their second shot at the million dollars, and that the twist was born out of his desire to see how far contestants are willing to push themselves.
“Where it bloomed from is I just want to go deeper with Survivor,” says Probst. “I love the game play. I love the twists and the idols. We’ve worked hard to create this element of gameplay. Now we want to see, why are people playing? Is it really just to find an idol and win a million dollars? Okay, then if you’re voted out you’ll probably go home. But if there’s something stirring inside of you and you’re posed with this question of, ‘Wait, I could maybe get back in?’ then maybe you’ll push yourself a little further and see what you’re made of.”
More elements of Edge of Extinction will be revealed throughout the season. Also to be revealed is whether anyone will pass up the chance to continue playing and if anyone will ask out after experiencing a few days of misery on the small, desolate island.
Watch the video above to hear all the intel we can share for now on the latest format change to the game, and peruse the full contestant list below to get all the basic info on the new contestants. Also make sure to check out our full cast gallery for photos and more complete bios, and for Survivor scoop all season long straight from Fiji, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
The following are the 18 castaways competing this spring.
Dan “The Wardog” DaSilva (38)
Hometown: Ossining, N.Y.
Current Residence: Los Angeles, Calif.
Law Student/Former Military
Reem Daly (46)
Hometown: Fairfax, Va.
Current Residence: Ashburn, Va.
Rick Devens (33)
Hometown: Blacksburg, Va.
Current Residence: Macon, Ga.
Morning News Anchor
Wendy Diaz (25)
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif
Current Residence: Bell, Calif.
Small Business Owner
Lauren O’Connell (21)
Hometown: Bakersfield, Calif.
Current Residence: Waco, Texas
Student at Baylor University
Keith Sowell (19)
Hometown: Fayetteville, N.C.
Current Residence: Durham, N.C.
Chris Underwood (25)
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Current Residence: Greenville, S.C.
District Sales Manager
Kelley Wentworth (31)
Hometown: Ephrata, Wash.
Current Residence: Seattle, Wash.
Previous Seasons: Second Chance, San Juan del Sur
David Wright (44)
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Current Residence: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Previous Season: Millennials vs. Gen-X
Joe Anglim (29)
Hometown: Chandler, Ariz.
Current Residence: Ogden, Utah
Previous Seasons: Worlds Apart, Second Chance
Aubry Bracco (32)
Hometown: Hampton Falls, N.H.
Current Residence: Los Angeles, Calif.
Previous Seasons: Kaoh Rong, Game Changers
Victoria Baamonde (23)
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Current Residence: Bronx, N.Y.
Ron Clark (46)
Hometown: Chocowinity, N.C.
Current Residence: Atlanta, Ga.
Teacher, Ron Clark Academy
Julia Carter (24)
Hometown: Hazleton, Pa.
Current Residence: Bethesda, Md.
Eric Hafemann (34)
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Current Residence: Livermore, Calif.
Aurora McCreary (32)
Hometown: Pensacola, Fla.
Current Residence: Orlando, Fla.
Julie Rosenberg (46)
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
Current Residence: New York, N.Y.
Gavin Whitson (23)
Hometown: Erwin, Tenn.
Current Residence: Erwin, Tenn.
YMCA Program Director