Director James Cameron has conceded for the first time something that Titanic fans have argued for 25 years: "Jack might have lived." But probably not the way most people think. As Variety explains, Cameron worked with National Geographic on a new special to explore the question. Lots of fans say Leonardo DiCaprio's character could have gotten on a floating piece of debris with Kate Winslet's character Rose and survived. Cameron recreated the scene with stunt doubles under a few different scenarios, per Deadline.
They found that if Jack had gotten on the makeshift raft, both he and Rose likely would have perished because their combined weight would have submerged them in the frigid water. However, if they both got on the raft with only their upper bodies above water, they might have had a chance to survive for hours and be rescued. The problem with this scenario is that their stamina likely would have been in question because they had just endured an exhausting chain of events leading to the raft scene. In a final experiment, the stunt doubles endure the same stress and exertions as the characters—including Jack fighting off a man in the water—and Rose then gives the spent Jack her life preserver on the raft. (In the movie, Rose doesn't give him her life vest at all.)
“He’s stabilized,” Cameron says in the special. (See a video teaser via Good Morning America.) “He got into a place where if we projected that out, he just might’ve made it until the lifeboat got there. Jack might have lived, but there’s a lot of variables. I think his thought process was, ‘I’m not going to do one thing that jeopardized her,’ and that’s 100% in character.” (Read more James Cameron stories.)