WTFAW: Titanic

Ah, Valentines Day. Love is in the air and chocolate boxes abound. What a great opportunity, then, to write about a romantic topic.

Specifically, one of the most well known romantic movies ever made: Titanic.

(Because nothing says “True Love” like a 1912 shipwreck wherein roughly 1500 people died)

As you might gather from the title, we’re dealing with fan theories about this movie. Dave?

Dave: Alright, I have a few fan theories. Firstly: Jack Dawson is a time traveller!

And right out of the gate, we’ve got insanity. Please elaborate, he said with a sudden twinge of trepidation and dread…

Dave: Jack travelled back in time to stop Rose from killing herself.

Alright, but why would he do that? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want people to commit suicide, but why is Rose so important Jack has to bitchslap the space-time continuum to save her?

Dave: If she had jumped, they would’ve had to stop and look for her, which would’ve meant they wouldn’t have hit the iceberg.

I see…. I’ll get back to you on that. Let’s hear the arguments first…

Dave: Well, in the movie, Jack mentions fishing in Lake Wissota and suggests to Rose that they ride the rollercoaster at the Santa Monica pier.


Dave: The Titanic sank in 1912. That lake wasn’t formed until 1917, and the rollercoaster wasn’t on the Santa Monica pier until 1916.

Ah, I see. Is that all?

Dave: I think so, yes.

Good. First off, I agree that the anachronisms are valid. It is strange that Jack would know of things that don’t exist until after the Titanic sank.

Dave: You see?

But couldn’t that just be a factual error on the part of the writers? I mean, they made several other mistakes in the movie, not the least of which being the portrayal of First Officer William McMaster Murdoch, who in the movie accepts a bribe, shoots a passenger and then kills himself, whereas the real Murdoch was reported as saving many, and dying when the ship sank.

(The studio had to issue an official apology for that, might I add)

Dave: Well, possibly, but that’s a meta explanation. Within the logic of the movie, it makes sense.

Ok, if we’re going by in movie logic, there’s a much more rational explanation to the anachronism.

Dave: Yeah? What’s that?

Simple. Rose got it wrong.

Dave: What?!

The opening of the movie takes place in 1996. The ship, as you said, sank in 1912. Rose was 17 in 1912. That would make her 101 years old in ´96!

This story is told to us by a woman who lived through two world wars! She is a century old! Don’t you think that in the 84 year interrim, she might have gotten some details wrong? Remembered the wrong lake, said the wrong pier? Gotten SOME minor details wrong in the small talk she had with someone 84 years ago?

Doesn’t that sound more likely than “Jack is a time traveller”?

Dave: Uhm…

And furthermore, let’s say you’re right. Let’s say Jack IS a time traveller here to save Rose. But why would that mean the ship wouldn’t hit the iceberg? Nobody knew where Rose was, except Jack. Nobody would have known she jumped overboard.

Not to mention that even if they did realize that she went overboard, I doubt the ship would be brought to a stop just so they could retrieve her body, which probably would have sunk into the ocean. More likely, the captain would go “There’s nothing we can do for her now”, so chances are the ship would have proceded unhindered, with nothing having been altered except for a dead socialite.

Dave: Well, they MIGHT have stopped the ship. Cal Hockley and Ruth Dewitt were both fairly influential, so they might convince the captain to stop.

Alright, maybe. But if that’s the case, talk me through the logic here… Jack goes backwards in time and keeps Rose from committing suicide… which means that the Titanic WILL hit the iceberg…

Dave: That’s right.

By saving her, he effectively killed more than 1500 men, women and children.

Dave: Yes!

I see… Then answer me this. Why would he do that? Why would he want the ship to crash? See, ensuring the ship hits the iceberg is a means, not an end. Why did the ship have to crash?

Dave: Uhm… Well….

The way I see it, if the ship crashing is an end in itself, then that would mean Jack is a confirmed mass murderer, who orchestrated events to make sure 1500 people died for no reason.

Dave: uh… maybe it was to protect the timeline? If the Titanic doesn’t sink, it would alter history, and Jack had to make sure that didn’t happen.

That would mean something else had previously contaminated the timeline to necessitate that need to maintain it. And if it isn’t Rose, then she could have jumped and nothing would have changed since she’s already part of the established timeline.

That means that by saving someone who was supposed to die, Jack is actually damaging the timeline in unpredictable ways, making the whole protecting the timeline selfdefeating anyway.

And if it IS Rose, that would either mean that she herself is a time traveller (which she isn’t), or you’re suggesting someone else intentionally pushed her towards suicide, to make sure the Titanic doesn’t sink, in which case it’s the most convoluted plan in history.

Dave: Hmph. Fine, but I’ve got more fan theories! This is not over yet!

Oh joy… Ok, what else do you have?

Dave: Jack didn’t exist at all!

Aha… And what leads you to that conclusion?

Dave: There are no records of Jack being on the ship, and we see the movie only through Rose’s point of view. Maybe Jack is just a figment of her fractured psyche, to help her cope with emotional distress, like an arranged marriage, her own doubts and finally the sinking of the Titanic itself? Jack saves Rose from her suicide attempt. Perhaps he is just the voice in her head urging her to cling to life?

Ok, and what are the arguments?

Dave: Uh… well, Rose tries to commit suicide, so she might be a bit mentally unstable…

I see…. Where to start with this one…

First off, we see MOST of the movie through Rose’s point of view, but not all of it. There are many scenes, such as the gambling scene in the beginning, or perhaps one of the most famous scenes in the movie, with Jack declaring “I’m king of the world!” where Rose isn’t around.

Second, several characters except Rose interracts with Jack on several occasions.

Margaret Brown loans Jack a dinner jacket, and Cal has Jack chained up in a cabin below decks.

Dave: Uhm….

Oh, and of course, there was something else… what was it…

Oh, right!


Remember that? The whole reason Rose was brought in to tell the story to begin with? The sketch Jack FUCKING PAINTED AND SIGNED!?

If Jack is just a figment of Rose’s imagination, then where the fuck did the painting come from?!

Dave: Ok, fine! Maybe that theory doesn’t work. But I’ve got one more for you!

Fine, one more, then. What is it? Jack survived drowning and became the Wolf of Wall Street, despite somehow not aging between 1912 and 1987? Or maybe he washed up on the shore of inception, again somehow not aging at all?

Dave: Don’t be stupid! Jack is Jay Gatsby!

I see… This doesn’t change the fact that he somehow survived the whole freezing to death and sinking in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Dave: Aha, that’s because he DIDN’T die in the North Atlantic.


Dave: The theory is that in a parallel universe, Both Rose and Jack survived the sinking of the Titanic, but later split up. Jack decided he wanted to live the high life, and changed his name from Jack Dawson to J. (Jay) Gatsby.

I see. And what evidence do you have to support this?

Dave: uhm… They’re both played by Leonardo DiCaprio…?

That’s it?

Dave: Yes, it is…

Well, then, this should be easy. See, you claim that Jay Gatsby is formerly Jack Dawson.

Dave: Yes!

This despite the fact that if we know that Jay Gatsby is formerly James “Jimmy” Gatz, from a farming family in north dakota. We KNOW his backstory! We know how he made his money and that at no point did he go on the fucking Titanic!

Dave: Well, this has to do with multiverse theory and…


Just accept that the theory does not add up! Don’t come dragging fucking Multiverse theory into this in a vain attempt to justify it.

If we do that, why not just say that Jack Dawson is actually the son of Amsterdam Vallon from “Gangs of New York”, and he decided to travel the world and at one point ended up in Southhampton and won a ticket for the Titanic in a poker game?

Dave: …Actually, that’s really good. Could we-

No, we fucking couldn’t! I don’t want to deal with Titanic theories anymore!

Dave: Why not?

Why not?! Because among these theories, you’ve actually suggested that the entire Titanic Disaster, the actual 1912 shipwreck, wherein more than 1500 men, women and children died, was all orchestrated by a time traveller.

Have you gone fucking insane!?

Any more fan theories, and I’m liable to get really into the spirit of St. Valentines day.

In other words, I’ll dress up like a police officer, line you up against a brick wall and shoot you to death with a fucking tommy gun!

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