Looking Back on Survivor’s Most Controversial Twists

First introduced in season 38, ousted players were given an opportunity to get back in the game…if they could survive living on the desolate Edge.

“The idea for Edge of Extinction came in a bit of a flurry,” Probst admitted to EW in 2019. “It presented itself incredibly fast and arrived pretty much fully formed. All the elements—the desolation of Extinction, the secret nature of it, the two shots to get back in, and the possibility of everyone being on the jury—was just part of the package that the creative winds sent our way. We tend to look at these kind of ideas as gifts rather than risks.”

The twist proved to be controversial, but ultimately crucial, with Chris Underwood returning from the Edge to win the game. 

“Extinction was very exciting to every department of our team because it challenged us in so many new ways,” Probst explained. “It was an entirely new world to figure out creatively, aesthetically, and from a cinematic point of view. But it’s also a completely separate game happening with another tribe living on another beach, and that involves every single department of our 400-plus crew. We all just went for it!”

Though many fans were not thrilled to hear the Edge of Extinction would be brought back for season 40, Probst revealed it was an essential tool in recruiting 20 former winners to return. 

“I did feel that when we called winners, that if they thought it was one and out—’I’m voted out and I’m done’—their chances of saying yes were not as high as if it would be if I said ‘No matter what, you will have another shot at the prize,'” he told EW last year.

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