Meg 2: The Trench – Everything we know about the giant shark and its return to the silver screen

Meg 2: The Trench (2023)
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Megalodons, dinosaurs and giant octopuses, oh my! The sequel to 2018’s surprise hit The Meg emerges from the oceanic depths this summer, and it’s coming with a handful of surprises, including not one, not two, but three ginormous megalodons wreaking havoc! In order to get you prepared for this exciting deep dive immersion, we’ve put together this article on everything we know about Meg 2: The Trench so far.

Much like its predecessor, Meg 2: The Trench is loosely based on Steven Alten’s Meg novels, the first of which released in 1997 under the title Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror. The new movie borrows its subtitle from The Trench: Meg 2 (1999), but some elements from that book were already used in the first instalment, so it’ll be interesting to see how many bits and pieces from the second novel have been kept around.

Before we go for a swim, you might be interested in checking out our selection of the best giant monster movies you can watch right now. Of course, with summer almost here and giant shark fins on the horizon, with Shark Week 2023 coming in mid-July. There’s also never been a better time to rewatch all the Jaws movies; our Jaws streaming guide has you covered there.

Meg 2: The Trench release date

Megalodon underwater with ominous red lighting - Meg 2: The Trench (2023). (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Meg 2: The Trench will chomp on US and UK theaters on August 4, 2023, roughly five years after The Meg (2018) made a splash worldwide.

Some international territories, such as Belgium and Germany, are getting it a bit earlier, but the summary is that you’ll want to go to the nearest cinema during the first week of August.

We've not had any word about where Meg 2: The Trench will be available to stream once it's theatrical run finishes, but we'll update this page as soon as we do hear something.

What is the plot of Meg 2: The Trench?

Someone underwater, probably about to get eaten by a megalodon, in Meg 2: The Trench (2023). (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

As mentioned above, Meg 2: The Trench borrows some elements (and the subtitle) from the second of Steve Alten’s novels, but it appears the overall plot goes in a different direction. For example, there’s no megalodon offspring held in captivity for crowds from all over the world to see. That idea could be recovered for a third movie though.

The actual synopsis has Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) leading “a daring research team on an exploratory dive into the deepest depths of the ocean.” Things seemingly go fine until “a malevolent mining operation threatens their mission.” Of course, it all leads to colossal Megs and other creatures from the Trench making it to the surface and eating lots of people.

The titular trench is likely made up, but there are super deep sea trenches in real life, the most famous and deepest of which is the Mariana trench in the Pacific Ocean.

Meg 2: The Trench trailers

The sizable – and surprisingly cheerful – first trailer for Meg 2: The Trench debuted on May 9, 2023. You can watch it below:

Who is working on Meg 2: The Trench

Wu Jing from Meg 2: The Trench (2023). (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Jason Statham (Fast X) and Wu Jing (The Wandering Earth) headline an ensemble cast that includes The Meg veterans Sophia Cai, Page Kennedy, and Cliff Curtis, alongside Sergio Peris-Mencheta (Rambo: Last Blood), Skyler Samuels (The Gifted), and Sienna Guillory (High-Rise). 

Meg 2: The Trench is directed by Ben Wheatley (In the Earth, Free Fire), from a screenplay by Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber (The Meg, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts) and Dean Georgaris (The Meg, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life). The story they adapted is loosely based on the novel The Trench: Meg 2 by Steve Alten.

The director of photography is Haris Zambarloukous (Belfast, Murder on the Orient Express). Production design was led by Chris Lowe (The Gray Man, No Time to Die). Jonathan Amos (Baby Driver, Paddington 2) is handling the editing. The original soundtrack comes from Harry Gregson-Williams once again.

What do we know about the Megalodon?

Promotional art for Meg 2: The Trench (2023) showing a person being chased by a great white shark, being chased by a megalodon. (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Not a whole lot, actually. Despite some well-preserved sets of teeth and vertebrae, nobody has a clue about Otodus megalodon’s proportions and body shape. Based on its fearsome teeth, we can easily infer it was one of the largest and most powerful predators to have ever lived.

The Megalodon lived approximately 23 to 3.6 million years ago, though some experts claim the species had a “shorter” presence on the planet. Its temporal range spans from the Early Miocene to the Pliocene epochs. Originally, it was considered a member of the Lamnidae family, making it a close relative of the great white shark. Now, it’s classified into the extinct Otodontidae family, which diverged from the great white’s ancestors during the Early Cretaceous.

While scientists differ on its appearance and maximum size, recent estimates fall around 65 feet (20 meters) of max. length. Looking at the vertebral centra, and using the great white’s dimensions as reference, a megalodon of about 52 feet (16 m) long could weigh up to 53 tons (48 metric tons). Still, all this data is up for debate due to the fragmentary nature of the species’ remains.

The fossil record indicates the megalodon had a cosmopolitan distribution. It probably targeted large prey such as whales and sea turtles, but it still faced competition from whale-eating cetaceans like the Livyatan. The species’ decline and eventual extinction coincides with the oceanic cooling related to the ice ages and a gigantism trend in baleen whales.

Did the megalodon live with the dinosaurs?

A megalodon eating a tyrannosaurus rex in Meg 2: The Trench (2023). (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

No, the megalodon did not coexist with dinosaurs. Its earliest presence would’ve been around the Early Miocene, 23 million years ago. Dinosaurs had been extinct for more than 40 million years before that point. This doesn’t make a Meg chomping on a Tyrannosaurus in Meg 2: The Trench’s first trailer any less cool though.

We know, however, of many giant shark species that were present in the Cretaceous period, such as those of the Ptychodus and Leptostyrax genera. Those sharks were larger on average than the modern great white shark, and the former probably were a major threat to unsuspecting dinosaurs and flying reptiles.

Is the Megalodon actually extinct?

A megalodon from Meg 2: The Trench (2023). (Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Yes, the Otodus megalodon went extinct around 3.6 million years ago. While the idea of gigantic sharks surviving in the blackest depths, maybe thanks to warm water heated up by underwater volcanic eruptions, might not sound too far-fetched, it actually is.

The megalodon and other giant aquatic predators needed to hunt whales and large prey only present near the surface, so humans would’ve noticed them already. For this very same reason, even deep sea predators like giant squids haven’t been able to hide forever.  

Fran Ruiz is an entertainment freelancer and massive dinosaur nerd. He has a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for  Live Science & since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.