Details about Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance‘s twists and cast flooded on to the Internet today, a month ahead of the series’ debut, as CBS lifted its embargo for the people who were on location back in May and who do not work for EW.
Most of the details come from host and executive producer Jeff Probst, and across the interviews in different publications, you can see common themes, as he works to tell a story even outside of the episodes.
Here’s a round-up of what I think are the most interesting pieces of information, starting with the tribe division, which EW published:
- Joe Anglim, Survivor Worlds Apart
- Jeremy Collins, Survivor San Juan del Sur
- Ciera Eastin, Survivor Blood vs. Water
- Stephen Fishbach, Survivor Tocantins
- Tasha Fox, Survivor Cagayan
- Kimmi Kappenberg, Survivor Australia
- Kass McQuillen, Survivor Cagayan
- Keith Nale, Survivor San Juan del Sur
- Monica Padilla, Survivor Samoa
- Andrew Savage, Survivor Pearl Islands
- Vytas Baskauskas, Survivor Blood vs. Water
- Spencer Bledsoe, Survivor Cagayan
- Terry Deitz, Survivor Panama
- Abi-Maria Gomes, Survivor Philippines
- Woo Hwang, Survivor Cagayan
- Peih-Gee Law, Survivor China
- Shirin Oskooi, Survivor Worlds Apart
- Jeff Varner, Survivor Australia
- Kelley Wentworth, Survivor San Juan del Sur
- Kelly Wiglesworth, Survivor Borneo
- The game starts as it did 15 years ago, with a twist. Season 31 will start 15 years to the day that Borneo premiered, and will have the survivors jumping off a boat as they scramble to get supplies, just like season one. But, Probst told EW’s Dalton Ross, there’s a twist: “there’s another boat 100 yards out with a big bag of rice, so here’s your dilemma: How much time do you want to spend gathering supplies before you split and race for the rice.”
- Challenges are recycled to create story. The first immunity challenge is the first immunity challenge from Survivor Borneo, “Quest for Fire,” paired with “Jailbreak.” Probst told Parade’s Josh Wigler that because Kelly Wiglesworth and Andrew Savage each failed at those challenges, respectively, “we have two Second Chance stories right out of the gate.”
- Production made assumptions about who would be voted in. Pre-production on season 31 began before viewers voted for the new cast. Probst told Xfinity’s Gordon Holmes they had to “make some assumptions.” That’s so they could prep challenges, hoping certain people would make the cast, which I’m sure will fuel conspiracy theories that Probst/CBS just picked whoever they wanted.
- There won’t be challenge immunity idols all season. When Probst told Dalton Ross about this change, he didn’t mention a critical point: hiding them at challenges is likely a one-time thing. Probst told Josh Wigler that it’s “at least for the first round of idols” and “Every idol will have to be found a different way. There will be a twist to finding the idols.”
- A tribe switch will happen quickly. “We’re going to start with two tribes and then we’re going to switch it up a bit. We’re going to try to make it tougher to keep alliances together. It doesn’t mean they won’t. But we’re going to try to keep the game a little uneven,” Probst told Gordon Holmes. That “switch it up a bit” reads to me as something other than just a tribe switch. (Update: Planet Buff has three buffs currently available for Survivor 31, including a tribe named Angkor, which seems to confirm that.) How exactly does this all fit with just letting them play? I’m not sure.
- Some producers worry about pre-game alliances. But not Probst: “I don’t see pre-game alliances as a concern and I never have. Some producers on our show get really worked up about it and think it’s going to spoil the game.”
- The double vote may return. Probst is non-committal for some reason, telling Gordon Holmes, “I can’t say,” but he is a fan of the twist: “I liked it. I think it can work.”
- The cast is “gracious,” not whiners like previous returnees. Probst to Josh Wigler: “Sometimes when we have returning players back, they kind of whine and moan and go, ‘I know the routine.’ These guys have been gracious.”
- The first Tribal Council will be right after the first immunity challenge. So, no time for strategizing or scrambling. “Now, you’re going to have to hope that you talked earlier—because if not, you’re screwed,” Probst told Josh Wigler.
- Survivor 32 builds off of Survivor Second Chance, even though it was filmed first. Probst calls it “an interesting jigsaw puzzle” and says, as an example, that 32 will “evolve how the idol play.” And Probst says, “Yeah, we had a really good season” for S32. Oh no.
- Meet the cast after they walk awkwardly by Parvati Shallow. They really do look like a terrific group of players and personalities: