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Meg 2: The Trench - Everything You Need To Know

"Jaws" told us we'd never go in the water again. Thankfully for fans of 2018's "The Meg," that wasn't the case. The sci-fi-action flick gives us Jason Statham as disgraced rescue diver Jonas Taylor on a mission to rescue his ex-wife from the deep. Taylor and his team soon discover they've run afoul a megalodon — a huge shark that should have gone the way of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. 

With a Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score of 45%, it's clear at least a thin majority of critics would rather "The Meg" sink to the bottom of the ocean, but once the film grossed over $530 million worldwide, those cinephiles' hopes were crushed. As early as October 2018 — two months after the film's release — "The Meg" producers confirmed a sequel was in the early stages of development. In a January 2020 newsletter, Steve Alten — who wrote the 1997 novel upon which "The Meg" is based — told his fans that a script for the sequel existed, and that it was named "Meg 2: The Trench." Later that year, it was confirmed Ben Wheatley had been tapped to direct the follow-up.

But there's still plenty of questions unanswered. When will we be able to see "Meg 2: The Trench?" Should we expect the same cast? And who will the heroes be facing off against this time? Another megalodon? Two megalodons? Three super-duper-MEGA-megalodons? We've done our best to distill all the info floating out there to give you as clear a picture as we can regarding "Meg 2: The Trench."

When will Meg 2: The Trench be released?

The original, big-budget giant megalodon movie, "The Meg," spent well over a decade in limbo. The source novel was published in 1997, but production on the film version took a while to get going, with the project jumping from studio to studio before things finally ramped up. "The Meg" landed at Warner Bros. in 2015, and the final choice for Jon Turteltaub as director came in March 2016 after Eli Roth of 'Hostel' bowed out due to creative differences. Two years and four months later, in August 2018, "The Meg" finally hit theaters. 

"Meg 2: The Trench" will have also taken its time to swim its way into movie theaters around the world. However, the wait for the sequel won't be as long as the one for its predecessor. Filming got underway at Leavesden Studios near London, home of the "Harry Potter" movies. Just over a month later, Warner Bros. confirmed that "Meg 2" would arrive in theaters on August 4, 2023.

What is the plot of Meg 2: The Trench?

In a September 2018 newsletter, author Steve Alten expressed his hope that the cinematic follow-up to "The Meg" would be based on the second novel in his book series, "The Trench." One of the reasons the sequels to "Jaws" failed to live up to the original, Alten wrote, was that "Peter Benchley only wrote the one 'Jaws' novel." The fact that the sequel to "The Meg" will reportedly be titled "Meg 2: The Trench" pretty strongly implies the screenwriters agreed with him.

It would seem that "Meg 2: The Trench" will adhere to the plot of Allen's source novel, at least loosely. Judging from the first official trailer for the film, this will be the kind of sequel that does what its predecessor movie did, only bigger and in a more extreme fashion. A few years after Jonas Taylor and his squad quelled the menace of a megalodon, a prehistoric giant shark, the team is called back to duty to fight off an even larger, more frightening, and even hungrier apex predator. Nothing is safe from this new Meg, so Jonas and James "Mac" Mackreides assemble a group of hunters and researchers to investigate the deep ocean trench from whence the underwater menace begins its reign of destruction.

Who is starring in Meg 2: The Trench?

Around the time that filming got underway on "Meg 2: The Trench" in early 2022, production company Warner Bros. started to reveal pertinent details about the film, like what actors were going to star in the eagerly anticipated shark movie sequel. Action movie powerhouse Jason Statham will reprise his role as shark-hunting rescue diver Jonas Taylor. Cliff Curtis, Shuya Sophia Cai, and Page Kennedy will also all be back, once more portraying James "Mac" Mackreides, Meiying, and DJ, respectively.

New additions to the cast include Sienna Guillory ("Clifford the Big Red Dog") as the leader of a scientific contingent; Skyler Samuels ("The Gifted") as a new member of Taylor's crew who enjoys a good adventure; Sergio Peris-Mencheta ("Snowfall") as a nefarious mercenary; and Jing Wu, star of Chinese blockbuster franchises "The Wandering Earth" and "Wolf Warrior" in an undisclosed role.

Who is directing Meg 2: The Trench?

It's no small undertaking to remake a film made by the legendary Alfred Hitchcock, particularly one that won the Academy Award for best picture. But U.K.-based director Ben Wheatley was up to the task, helming Netflix's 2020 version of the 1940 mystery drama "Rebecca." Just after that film made a splash, Wheatley accepted an offer to move from intimate period pieces into big-budget action blockbusters and signed on to direct "Meg 2." It will be the filmmaker's most high profile project to date, coming on the heels of "In the Earth," "Happy New Year, Colin Burstead" and "Free Fire."

Wheatley directed the film from a script penned by Dean Georgaris, Erich Hoeber, and Jon Hoeber. All three screenwriters are probably best known for their previous collaboration, "The Meg," so the sequel will likely feature the same voice, vibes, and flair so prominent in the original

Is there a trailer for Meg 2: The Trench?

On May 8, 2023, Warner Bros. publicity released the first official trailer for its upcoming summer tentpole film, "Meg 2: The Trench." Cheekily set to the tune of an ominous remix of Heart's "Barracuda," the clip package provides a lot of setup, background, and reacquaintance with the world of "The Meg" while also teasing an eye-popping, action-packed blockbuster-to-be. It begins with a scene set 65 million years in the past, where a Tyrannosaurus rex shows up on a peaceful beach to devour a couple of adorable little dinosaurs and lay waste to land and water. It almost immediately gets its recompense, when the titular Meg, an apex predator and gigantic shark, pops up to consume that offending T. rex.

The rest of the trailer shows off scenes from "Meg 2: The Trench" set in the present day, when the super-frightening and extra-large shark is once again causing trouble. James "Mac" Mackreides (Cliff Curtis) assembles the old science and hunting team (headed by Jason Statham as Jonas Taylor) to head deep into an unexplored oceanic trench to don some high-tech ocean-walking suits and investigate an alarming disruption. Naturally, they come upon Meg — but apparently an even bigger and more violent one. The rest of the trailer demonstrates the stakes and magnitude of the mission, as that apex predator easily bursts through a supposedly shatterproof underground research facility and a beach full of apparently delicious tourists.

How did The Meg end?

Nearly five years have passed since "The Meg" swam its way into theaters. While many sequels have taken much longer to produce, there are a few pressing questions regarding how a second film can work within the ongoing storyline established in the first film. Most pertinently: How is there another megalodon swimming through the ocean? Shockingly, "The Meg" did not kill one shark — by the end of the film, two of the prehistoric beasts are slain. And while a third megalodon seems unreasonable, the second shark creates a loophole for more sharks to appear.

It's near the beginning of the movie when Winston Chao's character Minway Zhang begins his exploration of the Mariana Trench, which arguably releases the original megalodon from an underground cavern. The later arrival of the second shark insinuates that even more underwater monsters were released. Moreover, the second shark is significantly larger than its predecessor, and fans can bet that the star sea creature of the sequel will be even larger. Finally, in the first movie's final moments, another megalodon can be heard swimming past the camera, foreshadowing that Jonas Taylor has more monsters to fight.

What will Meg 2: The Trench be rated?

The people and companies that make big budget, unabashedly commercial, would-be blockbusters are sometimes left with a quandary: Do they make their action spectacle as violent and salacious as possible (and thus give the audience what it wants from such a cinematic experience), or do they hold back to ensure a more moderate rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, which will attract a wider and larger audience of paying customers? Those responsible for "Meg 2: The Trench" were left with just such a conundrum. In producing a sequel to "The Meg," a movie all about a gigantic shark laying waste and causing bloody and destructive mayhem, they had to offer bigger and better shark-related action. But to turn a profit on their expensive summer movie, they had to go broader and tamer.

Released in 2018, "The Meg" received a "PG-13" rating, a more family-friendly designation than a no-unaccompanied-teens allowed "R." "Meg 2: The Trench" was similarly assessed by the MPAA. The sequel will be rated PG-13, specifically for "action/violence, some bloody images, language, and brief suggestive material."

Jason Statham wants more gore

The announced PG-13 rating may be unsatisfying for fans hoping for more blood and violence out of their favorite shark movie. But the family-friendly rating may be even more disappointing for franchise star Jason Statham. Ahead of the release of "The Meg" in 2018, the action superstar discussed some of the major script changes and directorial visions of the film with Collider. Surprisingly, Statham had a much different idea of where the shark movie should have gone.

"Jon [Turteltaub]'s interpretation of this is a fun end of summer [movie]. It's full of humor," Statham said. "It's a little bit more directed to a different taste of what my own is, in terms of I like more gory adult stuff." Subsequently, the actor was quick to admit that he trusted his director. "I can't speak for what this film could possibly speak to a younger audience. I might have made a film that not many people wanted to see. I'm not a filmmaker." Unfortunately, it seems as if Statham did not get his wish for a more adult film with the sequel, either, as much of the trailer showcases a lighthearted monster romp very similar to the popular first film.

Where was Meg 2 filmed?

While "The Meg" primarily takes place on the ocean, the film contains many scenes featuring beautiful locations. The original movie was primarily filmed in New Zealand, well-known for its eye-catching scenery. "You can get beautiful still water, you can get rough water, you can get all the different kinds of things you need, you can see every kind of ocean," said director Jon Turteltaub about the location. "It's a perfect place to go film." Despite the love "The Meg" cast and crew seem to have for New Zealand, they decided to change things up for the sequel.

"Meg 2: The Trench" began filming in the United Kingdom in early 2022 at the Warner Brothers Studio in Leavesden. However, the new shark movie still needed stunning ocean locations and beautiful beaches for many of its exterior shots, which led the crew to Thailand. Reportedly, there was some controversy with the film crew bringing in helicopters and jet skis to the popular tourist destination. Thankfully, the film crew managed to find an ideal beach in the Phuket province of Thailand where filming took place in spring 2022.

What happens in The Trench book?

There is no denying that "The Meg" is a ridiculous and over-the-top shark movie but that is what its fans love. Well, thankfully, those fans are in luck as – if the source material is any clue as to what will happen – things will likely get crazier in the sequel. "The Trench" written by Steve Alten, published in 1999, features Jason Statham's character Jonas Taylor caring for a surviving megalodon who has become a tourist attraction for people hoping to catch a glimpse of a massive dinosaur. However, when the beast begins to act erratically and escapes its cage, Jonas discovers that she is pregnant. To catch the bloodthirsty shark once more, he must set up a trap where he first met the prehistoric monsters, back in the Mariana Trench.

The book's synopsis seems relatively straightforward but there is far more to the story than meets the eye, including the arrival of a pack of Kronosauruses, a government conspiracy, and baby sharks. As the book series continues for five more novels, the adventures get bigger and more outrageous with more prehistoric monsters climbing out of the depths. However, fans of the book series have been quick to point out that "Meg 2" seems to deviate immensely from the source material and amalgamates all the stories into its own sort of beast.

Kraken vs. Meg

The official first trailer for "Meg 2: The Trench" gives away many clues as to what to expect from the film. With Statham and company visiting the Mariana Trench, where an entire ecosystem lives underwater, there are many creatures that begin swimming their way up from the deepest part of the ocean. Some of these creatures are seen throughout the trailer, including human-sized reptiles and, most notably, a Tyrannosaurus rex.

However, the trailer insinuates another deep-sea creature in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. Thankfully, a new international trailer has recently surfaced that features the most dangerous underwater monster of them all — the Kraken, the legendary squid monster rumored to be as large as the megalodon. The original "The Meg" movie also features a giant squid, but that's nothing compared to this new tentacled beast. Surprisingly, the new trailer indicates that the Kraken may be a more significant villain than the giant shark and the movie could climax with the two mythical monsters squaring off for a final battle.

Will there be a Meg 3?

From "Jaws" to "Sharknado," movies about the most dangerous animal in the ocean tend to be squeezed for everything they are worth. Meanwhile, Steve Alten's original literary "Meg" saga includes seven titles, giving the movies plenty to work with. So, there is a strong chance that "The Meg" may be returning for a third cinematic swim, given there is a hunger from the audience.

When the first movie was released in 2018, there were already talks of a potential franchise. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jason Statham was quick to point out the deciding factor of "The Meg" moving forward. "I think it's like anything in this day and age — if it makes money, there's obviously an appetite to make more money," Statham said. Safe to say, if the sequel manages to make a "Meg"-illion dollars, there is no doubt that Warner Brothers will be ready to complete the trilogy, build a franchise, or even expand into a cinemegic universe. In the promotional lead-up to the release of "Meg 2," franchise director Ben Wheatley expressed his eagerness to make that third movie in the series. "There's a lot more to explore in the world. It's very rich. The international-ness of it is very interesting," he told Total Film (via Collider).