James Cameron Settles Titanic Debate on Whether Jack Could Have Survived Once and For All

More than 25 years after the release of Titanic, director James Cameron is jumping into the deep end of the infamous debate: Could Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) have fit on the door and survived?

By Kisha Forde Feb 02, 2023 8:34 PMTags

When it comes to this debate, we'll never let go.

A quarter century after Titanic's release, the film's director James Cameron is taking a long (and scientific!) look back at whether Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) would have lived if he simply climbed aboard the door with Rose (Kate Winslet) as they were left stranded at sea after the titular ship sank into the ocean.

In his upcoming series, Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron, the acclaimed director enlisted the help of two stunt people to reenact the exact scene in freezing temperatures—and the consensus?

"He just might've made it until the lifeboat got there," James said in a clip shared on Good Morning America Feb. 2. "Jack might've lived, but there's a lot of variables."

Among those variables are the temperature of the water and the couple's sheer exhaustion, as well as other conditions. But according to James, there's one factor that simply reigned above all in his character's mind that led him to an icy end.

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As the Avatar director noted, "I think his thought process was, ‘I'm not going to one thing to jeopardizes her and that's 100 percent a character.'"

This isn't the first time the director has gone into the deep end of the debate to answer fans' curiosity. In 2017, James admitted the continued intrigue about Jack's death was "all kind of silly," but noted that he did see a silver lining to the chatter.

"It does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die," he told Vanity Fair. "Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless...The film is about death and separation; he had to die. So, whether it was that, or whether a smoke stack fell on him, he was going down."

See the scientific proof of Jack's chance at life when Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron debuts on Nat Geo Feb. 5.

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