5 Things You Need To Know Before Australian Survivor: Titans V Rebels

Australian Survivor expert Shannon Guss reveals the five things you need to know ahead of the premiere of the ninth season, Titans V Rebels.

Shannon Guss World Of Survivor byline

It’s that time of year again! Hot off the heels of 2023’s award-winning, globally lauded Heroes V Villains season, Australian Survivor is back to pit Titans against Rebels, continue the evolution of this cultural juggernaut, and ultimately delineate between tantalising glory or proverbial death.

I’ve spent far too much time digging into the meaning of the theme, assessing the cast bios and falling down the rabbit hole also known as the players’ social media profiles. From mountain treks to amateur stand-up, cat content and viral prank videos, I’ve seen it all, and now I’m going to impart it to you.

So, which tribe stacks up as stronger? Which players loom as winner contenders? And what exactly makes someone a Titan or a Rebel? Here’s all you need to know.

The Theme

After spreading the love with globally inspired themes in recent seasons, Australian Survivor has discarded the Brains, Brawns, Heroes, Villains or otherwise for an entirely fresh category. Titans V Rebels, which may have its roots in Greek mythology -- the more you know -- and sets up a duality of rule makers and rule breakers, tall poppies and renegades, overdogs and underdogs.

The best comparisons would be the US’ Davids and Goliaths, or Australia’s own twice-used Champions V Contenders. Both of those themes asked similar questions of the players’ real-life vantage points but with a little less rebellion. If you’re searching those seasons for trends, you’re out of luck. In the US, a David capitalised on the built-in underdog narrative to claim the win, but both Australian seasons saw a Champion take it home, as the once stark binary became blurred. This remains anyone’s game.

The Cast

An epic cast of complete newbies is about to grace your screen for only the second time since 2018, and three things stand out to me when looking at the group as a whole.

Firstly, this is a cast stacked with Survivor superfans, for whom I’m unashamedly biased. Between Aileen’s Survivor-themed birthday party (a fun fact she shares with OG superfan Nick Iadanza and Brain-slash-Hero-slash-winner Hayley Leake) and Charles photoshopping the face of JLP over his own baby in Christmas photos (which few could begrudge), this is a cast that speaks of falling in love with the show over COVID or sharing it for years with their family. Raymond talks about its significance to him as a pop cultural phenomenon, Peta counts out the franchises she’s watched (all of them), and Eden, Caroline, Nathan, and Scott all talk about their obsession with the show. It’s probably the most fan-based cast I’ve ever seen in the Australian iteration. I’m hoping that know-how gets them somewhere, for the sake of both my fan-directed content and my aforementioned bias.

Another big takeaway is how evenly matched the tribes seem physically. Given the disparity of power in the theme, I expected the Titans tribe to look unbeatable but, on a closer look, I could see these tribes keeping pace and trading wins. The Titans have a varied group of intellects, Jaden the literal strongman, powerlifter Viola and former AFL top 10 draft pick Nathan but, if they’re a mountain to be climbed, the Rebels have literal mountaineers – not to mention a buff construction manager, a lifetime athlete AFLW coach and beyond. This is a fairer fight than you’d think.

My third major insight is the big personalities and star quality on offer – let’s dive a little deeper.

The Titans

The overdogs’ likability threatens to overwhelm what should be something of a villain status. Comedian, actor and podcaster (again, a bias for me) Eden and model-slash-dance-company-owner-slash-social-media’s-collective-favourite Valeria are among a myriad of highlights.

Mark’s storied career in diplomacy has taken him around the world facilitating crisis negotiations, Jessica is an award-winning academic, Kitty boasts a mammoth vocation as a business owner and famous health coach and Winna’s role as a highly followed, prank-based TikTok creator is somehow the more boring counterpart to his other job as a competitive eater. As the tribe name would suggest, it’s an impressive bunch.

The Rebels

The Rebels are headlined by a collection of quirky characters who I can see dominating screen time, and maybe even the game. Adventurers include Everest-climbing Alex, sky-diving Tobias and motorcycling beach babe and mum Peta. Perhaps necessarily, there’s a responding on-island emergency department of firefighting Sarah, paramedic Rianna and Kelli the psychologist, to unpack it all. Meanwhile, sticking a tribe full of rulebreakers with Garrick the undercover cop feels like something of a (literal) catch.

Big personalities abound. Kelli’s social media posts traverse amateur stand-up to street karaoke, showing that she’ll give anything a go, while Feras is my top contender for quote machine of the season. As art director for MONA, Scott has all the originality you’d imagine that job entails. They may do it their own way, but many of these Rebels are Goliaths in their own right.

Winner Contenders

It’s hard not to make Winna my winner pick for obvious reasons… he seems great! Beyond that name pun that I will drive into the ground over the next two months, there are several other legitimate winner options.

I’m tempted to choose a star in Feras, but I’d rather wager that he racks up the most confessionals than that he actually wins the game. I have a good feeling about Charles and Eden, for both their fandom and seeming good humour, and Aileen is an unabashed heart pick, as well. For my official winner pick, I’m choosing Viola. She’s young in a fairly diverse age bracket, but her physical strength and clear charm caught my attention, and I’m always going to bet on a strong woman to add to the ever-building legacy of that winner type in this franchise.

Whoever you choose, be it heart or head, Titan or Rebel, there’s sure to be fireworks on the way to the win. Grab a cookie and settle in for another wild ride.

Australian Survivor: Titans V Rebels will premiere on Monday, January 29 at 7.30 on 10 and 10 Play!