He also put the Jack and Rose door scene to the test.

Director James Cameron made a surprise appearance during the Television Critic Association conference today to take a break from the world of Avatar to instead talk about National Geographic. The network’s explorer-at-large announced that, for Earth Day, he’s bringing two new Secrets of installments to the table with Secrets of the Bees and Secrets of the Penguins. He also revealed that this year’s special, Secrets of the Elephants, will have Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Natalie Portman lending her voice as the narrator when it releases on April 21. On top of everything, Cameron offered a big reveal for Titanic fans – the first look at his upcoming documentary special Titanic: 25 Years Later.

Through the documentary, Cameron seeks to answer one specific question that has plagued fans for years – could Jack have also survived on the door with Rose? The first look starts to sow doubt in the notion that he could. Cameron runs a test, having his subjects recreate the setup for the scene in ice-cold water, only the test Jack and Rose are subject to even longer exposure to compensate for the warmer temperature of the water. While both are fighting their way onto the door, Jack starts shivering violently, showing how badly the cold temperatures have sapped him. The clip also teases some of the science behind the scene, showing how the cold water drains energy and makes breathing more difficult.

Cameron’s documentary won’t just be limited to the door scene, however. He’ll explore the history of the real ship and how it was finally found. Using modern research, he’ll also dig into why the Titanic actually sank and explore whether extra lifeboats would’ve saved more passengers aboard the ship. Cameron also penned a postscript to his beloved classic which will also be featured in the documentary. The special is set to air on National Geographic on February 5 in preparation for the remastered theatrical release of Titanic on February 10.

Jack's corpse floats in the water next to Rose, who lays on a floating door
Image via 20th Century Fox

RELATED:‘Titanic’ Returns to Theaters to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Cameron’s National Geographic Presence Continues to Expand

With the announcements of his new nature documentaries, Cameron is set up to keep exploring the most mystifying parts of nature for the foreseeable future. His first new special, Secrets of the Bees, uses new macro technology to bring the audience down to “bee-eye view,” exploring the various species of bees and their role in our world. It’s set to provide a more intimate view into the relationships and politics of the bees within their hives with a uniquely designed hive at the center of filming. The documentary was designed to give a look at bee behavior at a pivotal time when the science of bees is quickly becoming more important as species are continuously threatened. Cameron will re-partner with fellow Emmy-winner Maria Wilhelm to executive produce alongside Alastair Fothergill and Huw Cordey.

Secrets of the Penguins, meanwhile, is set up as a spiritual successor to March of the Penguins made across three years. The three-episode documentary will tell a world-first story of the penguins and their life at the various ends of the Earth. It’ll explore the behaviors of penguin species around the world, taking viewers on a globe-trotting adventure to visit emperors, African, macaronis, and chinstraps in an effort to show how much like humans they really are. Cameron and Wilhelm will also be joined on the project by Emmy and BAFTA-winning executive producers Ruth Roberts and Martin Williams from Talesmith.

During the conference, Cameron remarked on the importance of documentaries like the Secrets of series in bettering our relationship with the planet, saying

On the Avatar films, we’re creating a fantasy view of nature but, thematically, underneath all that is this idea of the interconnectedness not only of nature itself but of us with nature, as inhabitants of nature. In the Secrets series we try to forge an even more intimate and emotional connection with nature–to illuminate how these amazing creatures think, how they feel, how they communicate, how they function as complex societies and cultures.

Titanic: 25 Years Later Debuts on National Geographic on February 5 while his latest documentary, Secrets of the Elephants featuring Portman is due out on April 21. Check out the first look below.


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