'Titanic' Director James Cameron Puts Infamous Floating Door Theory to Rest

Once and for all, James Cameron has addressed the prevailing theory that, toward the end of his Best Picture-winning epic Titanic, Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) might have survived if only he'd gotten on that floating door with Rose (Kate Winslet). In the new National Geographic special, Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron, the 68-year-old filmmaker put to rest speculation ahead of the film's Feb. 10 theatrical re-release. With the help of a team of scientists, Cameron reconstructs the scene and tests four different scenarios in which Jack climbs aboard the wreckage. The first time around, "Jack and Rose are able to get on the raft, but now they're both submerged in dangerous levels of freezing water," Cameron says in a new clip. As a next step, the actors are seated on the raft so that their upper bodies are lifted above the water, increasing their chances of surviving.

"Out of the water, [his body's] violent shaking was helping him," Cameron adds. "Projecting it out, he could've made it pretty long. Like, hours." All of the physically strenuous actions Jack and Rose went through prior to finding the floating door are performed for the final test — including the scene where a passenger attempts to use Rose as a floatation device, only to receive a punch from Jack. In addition, Rose gives Jack a life jacket for added protection in the experiment, something that wasn't in the film."He's stabilized," Cameron notes. "He got into a place where if we projected that out, he just might've made it until the lifeboat got there. Jack might've 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 percent in character."

During the promotional tour for Cameron's newest epic, Avatar: The Way of Water, Winslet addressed the Titanic-related topic. "I have to be honest: I actually don't believe that we would have survived if we had both gotten on that door. I think he would have fit, but it would have tipped and it would not have been a sustainable idea," Winslet said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast in December. "So, you heard it here for the first time. Yes, he could have fit on that door, but it would not have stayed afloat. It wouldn't." In celebration of 25 years since the film's Best Picture win at the 1998 Oscars, Titanic: 25 Years Later With James Cameron premieres on National Geographic Sunday, Feb. 5, at 9 p.m. ET, and streams on Hulu the following day.