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Audience opinions of the Jaws franchise may vary from person to person, but one notion that seems widely accepted by many fans is that the sequels never surpassed the original. In fact, Jaws 2 was largely a retread of the first movie, with Sheriff Brody once again taking to the sea to battle another shark. That said, it turns out that there was a very different original vision for Jaws 2, and it involved Steven Spielberg going back in time to depict the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. On a recent episode of the Shoot This Now podcast, host Tim Molloy explained:
Originally, they came to him about a sequel for Jaws, and he said, 'I'll do it if it's about the Indianapolis,' and they said, 'No,' and he said, 'No.' So that's how they parted ways at that point.
Obviously, that would've been a very different version of Jaws 2. As Tim Molloy noted on that episode of the Shoot This Now podcast, Spielberg's original vision for Jaws 2 involved a more in-depth focus on the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II -- a story made famous to many moviegoers because of Robert Shaw's speech in Jaws. The infamous story is a real-life tragedy that took place in the Pacific at the tail-end of the World War II, during which hundreds of men were eaten alive by an army of sharks while subsisting on blood, oil, and salt water. However, Spielberg ultimately left the project when Universal didn't agree with his vision, and Jeannot Szwarc stepped in to helm the sequel.
Of course, for fans of the Jaws franchise, the sinking of the USS Indianapolis is one of the most infamous elements of the entire series. If you want more of the creepy details on the in-universe explanation of that plot, check out the fantastic speech by Quint in Steven Spielberg's original film, below!
It's easy to understand how different that would've looked when compared to the direct sequel that Jaws 2 ultimately became when Steven Spielberg didn't come back. Considering the intensity that he brought to other World War II films like Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List, something tells us that this original vision could've been something bloody, visceral, and downright chilling.
The sinking of the Indianapolis has been depicted in film before; it just didn't happen in a Jaws movie. In fact, the infamous real-world tragedy was adapted into its own film in 2016 in the form of Mario Van Peebles' USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, which starred Nicolas Cage, Tom Sizemore, and Thomas Jane. The film was a critical failure, so for many fans, the idea of getting this story done right by Steven Spielberg likely would have been an exciting prospect.
Ultimately, Jaws 2 never panned out the way that Steven Spielberg initially envisioned, and we instead went on another adventure with Brody. We will have to continue wondering what that version of Jaws could've looked like, but if you want more shark carnage this summer, then make sure to catch The Meg later this year when the Jason Statham-led romp premieres in theaters on August 10!