The first Jaws movie is a classic American film that basically created the idea of the “summer blockbuster.” The sequels are all really mediocre shark horror movies. But if things had worked out differently, Jaws 2 could’ve been one of the most epic films ever.
The podcast Shoot This Now recently ran an episode on the making of Jaws. But the guest on the episode, Mark Ramsey who hosts his own podcast called Inside Jaws, revealed a huge bit of information about the original intentions for the film’s sequel.
If you remember in the original Jaws, there’s a scene where Quint describes his experience on the U.S.S. Indianapolis. The U.S. Navy cruiser was destroyed by the Japanese during World War Two after delivering parts needed to make the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. The crew were stranded in the water for four days as they dealt with exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning and shark attacks. This is all true, by the way, not just something they made up for the film.
After the success of Jaws, Universal Studios commissioned a sequel to the movie. Spielberg said he hated the idea of making a sequel and refused to take part with it. So the studio hired Howard Sackler, the writer behind The Great White Hope, to write a script. Sackler’s original proposal was to make Jaws 2 about the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
Imagine the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan on the beaches of Normandy, but taking place entirely in the water with sharks and instead of just being the beginning of the movie, it’s the whole damn thing! That sounds pretty amazing.
Unfortunately, while the studio was interested in the idea, they decided to go with a more traditional route for the sequel, and we never got the U.S.S. Indianapolis movie.
If only Spielberg had agreed to do the sequel if they used that idea. It could’ve been an all-time great.