Speed Reads

he admit it

James Cameron concedes Jack 'might have lived' at the end of Titanic after scientific study

Is it finally time to let go of this age-old Titanic debate? 

In a new National Geographic special, director James Cameron attempts to "find out once and for all" whether Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) could have survived his 1997 film. The movie famously ends with Jack dying in the water after the sinking of the Titanic while Rose (Kate Winslet) survives on a piece of debris. But fans have long claimed Jack could have lived had he simply climbed onto the raft with her. 

Cameron aims to settle this debate with help from a team of scientists in the special Titanic: 25 Years Later with James Cameron. As shown in a preview on Good Morning America, Cameron tests multiple scenarios for how the end of the movie could have played out in a lab with two stunt people.

In one, Jack and Rose both get onto the raft but are then submerged in the freezing water, in which case Jack likely would have died. In another scenario, Cameron concludes Jack "could have made it" a few hours if he and Rose were able to position themselves on the raft in a specific way with their upper bodies out of the water. But that doesn't take into account that the characters were exhausted by that point, which would make this difficult. 

Eventually, though, a scenario is tested where Jack gets onto the raft and Rose gives him her life jacket. "If we projected that out," Cameron says, "[Jack] just might have made it until the lifeboat got there." So Cameron concludes that, yes, "Jack might have lived." But "there's a lot of variables," he adds. He also explains that in the movie, Jack didn't want to do "one thing that jeopardizes" Rose, e.g. taking her life jacket. 

But this may not be a conclusive enough verdict to prevent the debate, like Celine Dion's heart, from going on.