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The white shark terrorizing Amity is the same one responsible for the Jersey Shore attacks of 1916

in 1916 a series of shark attacks occurred along the New Jersey shore that killed four people and seriously injured one more. They are widely crediting with igniting the American public's fear of sharks, and sometimes for having partly inspired Benchley to write Jaws. Brody and Hooper in fact mention it in the film ("Jersey Shore...1916...five people chewed up in the surf!")


The shark responsible was often pegged as a juvenile great white, about seven or eight feet in length. Recent research places the lifespan of the white shark at up to seventy years. If the shark was eight feet long in 1916, it would have been only a few years old, still a juvenile. By 1975, it would have been reaching the end of its lifespan and absolutely massive, perhaps approaching the 25 feet in the film.

In one of the drafts of the screenplay, Hooper reveals that the shark is a man-eater on a global scale, killing swimmers from South Africa to Australia. It's possible it left the eastern seaboard years ago in 1916, and has been cruising the world eating people ever since, only now returning to its old stomping grounds for the grand finale.

The author who wrote the novelization of Jaws The Revenge was as high as a kite when he thought up the Voodoo Shark thing
It really would explain everything.

Amity has been covering up shark attacks for years.

It seems a strange coincidence that the first summer Brody serves as chief of police in Amity would see a rogue shark just happen to wander into Amity's waters. And when Brody's being pressured to report Chrissie's death as a boating accident, the phrase "It's happened before" seems ominous. Also, that tiger shark they catch is a man eater and "extremely rare for these waters"; another coincidence that there were two rare maneating rogues in those waters and they caught the wrong one.

Or was the tiger shark planted to get caught and calm people back down?

Perhaps when the shark first appeared, the town lost a fortune and a number of lives trying to kill it; eventually, to protect tourist dollars, they just developed a cycle of keeping deaths mysterious and then, when that eventually fails, "killing" the shark. It was just the unfortunate combination of a series of unusually high-profile attacks and a meddlesome new chief of police that finally made the system fail.

  • This sounds a lot like the plot of Hot Fuzz.
  • So what you're saying is that the shark was eating the citizens of Amity for the greater good?!
    • The greater good....
      • SHUT IT!!

The shark was mutated by the Hiroshima bomb.

Exposure to the massive radiation not only gave the shark a prolonged lifespan, but also made it bigger, faster, and definitely stronger (strong enough to drag flotation barrels underwater). Also, Quint was the only surviving crew member of the USS Indianapolis. Seeing as how the crew were responsible for delivering the Hiroshima bomb, Steven Spielberg wanted to give Quint a Karmic Death by having the shark kill him during the climax.

  • Quint's story did not place him as the only survivor—nor, I think, did history.
  • 317 Sailors and Marines survived the loss of the Indianapolis, out of 1196. Additionally, it's a bit of a stretch to call it a Karmic Death when Quint would have been an 18-year-old Seaman who had no idea what the hell was in that big crate lashed to the foc'sle. Even Captain McVey had only a very vague idea of what the bomb was. The darker implications of nuclear weapons were very poorly understood at the time; even its designers saw it as just a really powerful explosive.

The shark and all the sharks in the sequels are suffering from a type of slow-acting "fish-rabies".

While it's true that sharks have gone on month-long maneating sprees in the past, it's unlikely that so many sharks would be like this. It's possible that, in the Jaws Universe, a disease somewhat similar to rabies is going through the Great White population, causing them to become highly aggressive.

  • Hang on, don't sharks have one of the best health records in the animal kingdom?
    • Most of that health record is exaggerated or came from dubious studies. For instance, sharks can still get cancer and are common targets of parasites (especially species like the Greenland shark).

The shark is an escaped minion of a James Bond villain.
James Bond thought the shark died when he destroyed the island fortress of the shark's master.

Martin Brody, the Sheriff of Amity Island, is the nephew of Marcus Brody, the main patron for Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
No reason other than that it'd be cool.

The shark is a zombie shark
To be precise, it's the shark from Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2. This fight led to the infection.
  • To be even more precise, the shark infected there was the tiger shark that was caught earlier in the film. It and Jaws had gotten into a fight offscreen (maybe over the remains of the first victim), and the infection was passed that way.
  • So, who saved America from the main zombie invasion?

The shark doesn't exist. Jaws was an In-Universe propaganda film.
The purpose of the film was to scare the residents of Amity Island into avoiding the beaches, where an old man lives who remembered life before the government takeover and is willing to tell anyone...

Bruce is the juvenile form of a shark-based Kaiju.
See the Hiroshima thing above.

The shark is a baby Megalodon, an enormous but supposedly extinct species of shark.
Which would explain why it's both so large and so strong. In the book Meg, a baby Megalodon is mistaken for a great white shark.

They aren't extinct. They just usually spend their time too deep for humans to find. There's a breeding population nearby, and juveniles are taking advantage of the shallower waters near the town until they're big enough to hold their own against the adults. That's why there's enough sharks for the sequels.

  • This actually gets (vaguely) alluded to in the novel. Hooper actually refers to the shark in the novel as "Damn near Megaladon." Quints dismisses him as crazy, but Brody is aghast at the very idea that the shark could be "just a baby."

The fifth movie, titled "Jaws 4", will star a Planet Eater sized shark!
"How the heck are we going to revive the Jaws series?""We're gonna need a bigger shark."
  • Onrclaims Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws has already been made and released. Exactly how, and when, that reached theaters is anyone's guess. But Jaws 4 could be the sixth movie...
    • Cruel Jaws was just an Italian mockbuster, like Snakes On A Train...though I think that one was Mexican.
  • Isn't Jaws: The Revenge already "Jaws 4"?

The sharks are part of an extortion racket run by the Deep Ones
They've heard that the island has fallen on hard times, and they are looking to start an outpost there. They organize the shark attacks as part of a ploy to drive the townsfolk into desperation so that they'll agree to their terms while carrying on a blood feud with the Brody family. Their latest plan will involve the aforementioned "bigger shark". This also makes sense, as the film is set in New England.

It will be retconned that the sharks are being sent by a clan of shark-people, some of which live amongst humans.
They're ticked off, and so they use their non-voodoo Shark Powers to get the humans to keep away from the oceans. Only they only have enough power to incarnate one shark-god at a time only live near Amity and can't control the giant sharks further away.
  • Oh, they have more power than that. Jaws 3D put one in a marina. Jaws: the Revenge had a shark follow Martin Brody's wife to Bermuda.

The shark is actually a robot.
From the future.

Brody is actually Buddy Rosso from The French Connection
Brody tells he used to be a cop in New York and how people got killed all the time. He got fed up with it, but being an undercover cop, he wanted to keep his identy secret and thus changed his name and moved far away to Amity.

The entire movie is the shark having a dream.
It was hurt by a fisherman once, and so it imagines a nice little revenge fantasy against the land-dwellers. Then it drifts off, starts to sleep-swim, and whangs its mouth painfully on a drainpipe, leading to the "exploding metal tank in the teeth" image just before it wakes up.

And yes, contrary to Urban Legend, sharks do sleep.

Only the first film occurred: All the sequels are Brody having increasingly surreal nightmares from the events of the first film.
That's why the sequels got progressively stupider, the edge to Brody's PTSD is wearing off.

The shark was a Time Lord.
Somebody had to say it. Explains how it kept coming back for the Brodys.

  • That is the coolest theory I heard. A shark time lord, I mean how is that not awesome?
    • Still got fe—FINS!
      • Aww, I wanted to be ginger. I've never been ginger!
The Shark is an ancient god that Amity Worshipped before it became modern.
The Shark is really just an ancient islander god, that Amity worshipped. It provided wealth and resources for them in exchange for sacrifices, specifically ones that would swim in the beach. When Amity became modern, the Island started to disbelieve said god and deny it sacrifices. In revenge, the shark would ruin their July 4th summerfest every year and rather than take responsibility for their actions, the Islanders decided to cover it up like it never happened. Then Martin Brody defeated it, so in addition to it's traditional ruining, the shark goes after the Brodys as well.

The shooting star seen in the background....
Is actually E.T.'s spaceship.

Jaws takes place in the Jurassic Park universe
InGen geneticists successfully clone their first extinct animal in 1975, the Megalodon, in an experiment to see if large-scale cloning on extinct animals can be exploited to create a theme park. This creature escapes and is last seen terrorizing Amity. Even the source novel speculated that the Great White they were after was really a juvenile Big Meg.
    • Now we only have to explain a swimming mosquitoes trapped inside of amber.
    • Maybe In Gen spliced Great White DNA with Megalodon DNA found in fossilized teeth? It wouldn't be the first time they used genetic splicing.

The Shark is Gaia's Vengeance against Quint for killing countless other sharks.
Quint had been hunting sharks for years by the events of the movie as revenge for what happened after the Indianapolis sank. The Shark from the film is the ocean enacting a little revenge of its own. The Shark is both extremely large and extremely intelligent. It does things that don't make any sense, yet work to its advantage. It isn't a normal shark by a long shot. It dies to Brody immediately after Quint has been devoured by charging at him from the surface. Did it swallow the Idiot Ball, or is it letting itself die now that its task is complete?

The Shark is part of a major Soviet psychological operations campaign.
They wanted to terrorize Amity into submission, so they could use the island as a beachead for an invasion of the Eastern Seaboard. Brody was a Spanner in the Works, however, forcing the Soviets to keep trying, until they gave up in 1987 with the onset of glasnost and the worsening economy forcing them to give up genetic experimentation.

In 2006, however, documents relating to the experiments were found by the the Planeteers, who created a new shark and sent it to take out EnvironPlus. They also had it attack and eat civilians to instill fear in the populace so EnvironPlus employees would quit out of fear in droves. And it worked. It ALL worked.


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