Jack Totally Could Have Lived at the End of 'Titanic'

Jack Totally Could Have Lived at the End of 'Titanic'

A quarter of a century after the film smashed box office records and cemented its place in cinema history, director James Cameron is finally putting an end to one of Hollywood's oldest debates: Could Jack have survived on that floating board with Rose at the end of Titanic?

It's a question thats vexed moviegoers for years. In the film, Jack needlessly sacrificed himself for his lover in vain but few have actually put the plethora of armchair theories to the test in the real world until now. Celebrating the movie's 25th anniversary, Cameron is revisiting the climactic scene and applying the scientific method to figure out whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's characters could have lived happily ever after.

In the upcoming Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron anniversary special, the director and two stunt doubles set out to test four different scenarios to see if there was any chance Jack could have survived. The first scenario involving Jack and Rose laying flat atop the door would have likely resulted into both of them succumbing to hypothermia with the added weight submerging their lower halves in freezing water. The second experiment sees the two faring slightly better with both fitting comfortably on the floating door, but Jack still ends up with dying after being exposed to the cold. “He could’ve made it pretty long, like hours” Cameron points out in a clip from the special.

If you factor in the fact that Jack and Rose would theoretically have had to swim a considerable distance away from the Titanic in order to fight against the massive ship's pull as it went under, exhaustion becomes a considerable concern when trying to determine their survivability. That being said, Cameron admits that there is a chance Rose could have stabilized Jack with her life jacket for long enough until a lifeboat eventually rescued them.

“Jack might’ve lived, but there’s a lot of variables,” Cameron conceded. “I think his thought process was, ‘I’m not gonna do one thing that jeopardizes her.’”

And while, this may come as vindication for many who angrily shouted that there was totally enough space on that door, its worth pointing out that Jack was always destined to die plot-wise. “Your hero had to die,” Billy Zane told Peoplein a 2018 interview, explaining that the story wouldn't have been as impactful if he lived. “I don’t know what else would have done it. It had to happen.”

Cameron echoed Zane's sentiment recently in an interview with the Toronto Sun. "It’s like Romeo and Juliet, right? … It’s a movie about love and sacrifice and mortality. So the love is measured by the sacrifice. Now maybe I didn’t do it in a way that everybody agrees with but Jack had to die. It’s that simple.”

Photo courtesy of Getty/CBS