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Villain Overview

Suyin: This is what attacked us. A megalodon.
DJ: How big is that thing?
Suyin: Between 70 and 90 feet, 21 to 27 meters. The megalodon was the largest shark that ever existed. It feared nothing. It had no predators. Its jaws were stronger than any other animals, ever. The meg could bite a whale in half, crushing through the bones.
Dr. Minway Zhang: We are in uncharted territory. Until today, megalodons were thought to have been extinct for over 2 million years.
DJ: Wrong.
Jaxx: A living fossil.
The Wall: That living fossil ate my friend.
~ Suyin and her crew when revealing the Megalodons.

The Meg, also known as the Megalodon for their full name, are the titular main antagonists of underwater thriller novel series of the same name, and the 2018 film based on the first installment of the novels. Megs are a species of fearsome and extremely massive prehistoric sharks who terrorize anything that stands in their way. The Megalodon is the biggest carnivorous fish that has ever lived on Earth.

Appearance

Megalodon are massive sharks measuring between 16-25 meters long. They are possessed of six to eight gills as a result of adapting to the deep, oxygen-poor water of the abyss, and in the films, are brownish in color, like many deep-sea sharks. Despite living at great depth, they are still very fast-moving, and resemble their cousins, the great whites, but with much blunter snouts, akin to another close relative, the fish-eating porbeagle shark.

In the novels, megalodon living in the Marianna Trench are generally pure white and bioluminescent as a result of their deep-water adaptations. They are very sensitive to light if raised in deep water, coming to the surface only at night, though Angel, the most dangerous of the megalodon in the novel, was well-adjusted to light, as were her pups, Belle and Lizzy, and their subsequent offspring. There were other megalodons in a hidden subterranean sea beneath the Marianna trench called the Panthalassa Sea, and these megalodon were larger and darker-colored, with striped bodies like a tiger shark's. In the novels, it is also shown that megalodon can reproduce without a mate by way of parthenogenesis as well as mating with a male, making offspring born without male participation clones of their mother.

Biography

Novel

In the novel's prologue, taking place during the Late Cretaceous Period, a Tyrannosaurus rex stumbles into the ocean while pursuing a herd of Shantungosaurus, and is promptly attacked and devoured by a megalodon. This is later shown to be part of a slideshow by Jonas Taylor, a paleontologist and marine biologist for his presentation on megalodon.

In 1997, Jonas is working deep in the Mariana Trench with the United States Navy. His mission is top secret and involves the study of hydrogen nodules to solve any future energy crises using nuclear fission, but unfortunately it was his third dive in eight days and he was exhausted yet was checked out by the Navy's top medical officer Doctor Heller. While on the dive, Jonas watches in horror as a megalodon rises from the depths. Jonas panics and surfaces as fast as possible and escapes, but causes the death of the scientists as a result; unfortunately, the Navy does not believe his claims, labeling him a madman and ruining his career while simultaneously covering up the misjudgment of the medical officer. Years later, Jonas continues to try to prove that what he saw was real. This has also led Jonas to push away his estranged and separated wife, Maggie, and leads to her having an affair with his billionaire friend Bud Harris. He is later approached by an old friend, marine biologist Masao Tanaka, who lost a remote submersible that monitors seismic activity in the Mariana Trench and hopes to retrieve it. Seeing this as an opportunity to prove that the megalodon still exists, Jonas agrees to help Tanaka, over the objection of Tanaka's daughter, Terry.

When they arrive at the Trench, Jonas and Tanaka's son, DJ, dive in small submersibles. A male megalodon rises from the depths and, despite Jonas' attempts to distract the creature, kills DJ. Jonas watches in horror as the megalodon is trapped in the steel cables connecting DJ's sub to the ship. As the megalodon is pulled to the surface having its organs and flesh ripped apart by the cables, Jonas watches a second megalodon, a much larger female that was attracted by the struggles of her dying mate, rise out of the Trench. She attacks the male and feeds on him as he is pulled to the surface, his heated blood protecting her from the cold water layer that has previously kept them from entering the wider ocean.

Jonas and Tanaka are worried about the imbalance in the ocean's ecosystem that might result from the re-introduction of a megalodon after an absence of millions of years. As Jonas and Tanaka try to track down the megalodon, the female surfaces off the coast of Maui and kills several surfers. She also attacks a helicopter that Jonas uses to try and track her at night after discovering that thousands of years of living in the depths of the Trench has led the sharks to develop bioluminescent white hides and destroys a military submarine led by Taylor's commanding officer from his time in the Navy.

Jonas and Tanaka come to the realization that the female megalodon is pregnant, and are determined to capture her before she gives birth. Maggie seizes this opportunity to advance her career and decides to film the shark from within a shark cage as she swims to California to give birth. During her sojourn north, the shark gives birth to three pups, one of which she devours and the second of which is killed by orcas. At the Farallon Islands, Maggie uses a dead whale to attract the shark, succeeding in filming it, but inadvertently causes it to attack her cage. Despite his best efforts, Jonas is unable to stop the shark and rescue Maggie, leading to the creature devouring her as she tries to escape.

Jonas and Tanaka track down the female after she attacks a whale-watching boat shortly after. After tranquilizing the shark and capturing her, Taylor's vengeful superiors and Maggie's lover try to kill the shark with a homemade depth charge, causing the shark to awaken and rampage, killing dozens of witnesses and bystanders including Taylor's superiors themselves. While the megalodon is rampaging, While the Megalodon is rampaging, Jonas pilots a submersible down her throat and into her stomach, where he uses the hydrogen supply from his sub to ignite the whale blubber inside the shark's stomach, burning it from the inside out, and after escaping from his pod, Jonas is rescued by Terry and a passing tourist vessel. The survivors in Jonas and Tanaka's crew capture the last surviving megalodon pup as Jonas is taken away to be treated for decompression sickness from his fight with the adult shark, and are excited about the opportunity to study this believed-extinct creature in the flesh. The young megalodon pup is later named Angel: The Angel of death.

Angel would later return in subsequent novels, including The Trench, Meg: Primal Waters, and Meg: Hell's Aquarium. Her offspring and grandchildren later appear in Meg: Nightstalkers, and Meg: Generations. Angel herself died in the events of Meg: Hell's aquarium, after battling a Liopleurodon of gargantuan size. Her pups, Belle and Lizzy, were also later killed by this same predator, only to be avenged by Jonas's son, David Taylor, who later captured and displayed Angel's grandchildren, Luna and Belladona, in captivity.

Movie

The Meg first appeared when she attacked a naval submarine, however she was not seen by the crew, so nobody knew yet what the cause was for the accident of the submarine. Jonas Taylor, the lead dive rescuer on the mission, is blamed for having panicked and fled too early, resulting in unnecessary deaths, after which he is dishonorably discharged from the Navy.

Years later, a research crew for the station Mana One is attempting a deep-water dive that reveals a hidden world beneath the bottom of the Marianna Trench. While documenting the life beneath the trench, they are attacked by an unseen force, which causes the sub to become disabled, and Jonas is brought in by Dr. Minway Zhang, Mana One's head researcher, to save the submarine's crew, which Jonas accepts after learning Lori, his ex-wife, is aboard the damaged sub. During the dive, Jonas is accompanied by Zhang's daughter, Suyin. During the rescue, Suyin is attacked by a giant squid, but a large shark eats the squid before it can kill her.

As Jonas and Suyin back to rescue the disabled submarine, and shark, revealed as a Megalodon, came back, Toshi sacrificed himself to distract the shark and allow Lori, fellow pilot The Wall, Jonas, and Suyin to escape. As a result of the mission, the crew is astonished that they encountered a prehistoric shark that was thought to have become extinct two million years ago.

They were the largest sharks to ever live in the oceans, with some possibly growing to be over 70 feet long. But were thought to have gone extinct until now. At first, they assumed that the Megalodon was left behind in the recently discovered area where they encountered her. Only to be proven wrong when she devours a mother whale off-screen and then her calf in front of Jonas, Suyin and her daughter when the calf appears distressed. The crew later track the shark after it destroys a shark-finning boat, and manage to find the megalodon, which Suyin poisons with a large dose of etorphine, killing it.

However, after comparing the shark's mouth size to the one that attacked them earlier, it is revealed that the shark which they have killed was another, smaller shark. Suddenly, a much larger megalodon bursts out of the water, swallowing The Wall; who had been swimming in the water after being pranked and falling in, grabs the dead Megalodon and lands right on the boat. Her enormous weight causes the boat to capsize and leave the crew swimming in the water.

The Meg then kills Heller, who had distracted her so it wouldn't kill Jaxx, and wounded Zhang, who eventually dies from his injuries. That night, Morris orders a helicopter crew to drop depth charges at the Meg. They move in closer to take some of her teeth but realize that they accidentally killed a whale instead. Realising that she'ss still out there, the boat's driver forces the boat's engines to full throttle, causing Morris to fall overboard. He swims back to the carcass and climbs onto it, only to get devoured by the Meg as she bites into the whale carcass, leaving only one of his hands.

Later, the crew learns that the Meg is heading towards a crowded beach and could kill dozens of swimmers in Sanya Bay. The Meg manages to get near the beach and its swimmers; the Meg glides ominously beneath the swimmers, and even inadvertently takes some of them on a small floating object for a ride due to the anchor chains getting caught on her pectoral fins. Then, somebody shouts “Shark!” causing everyone to get frantic, which causes the Meg to attack the swimmers, devouring several people. However, before she could eat another crowd of swimmers, the crew on the ship used distressed whale sounds to distract the mammoth shark and keep her away from the swimmers. The Meg then attacks the boat but does little damage to it. The Meg chases Suyin's and Jonas' subs through a small coral reef. However, two news reporter helicopters who were watching the shark carelessly collide with each other during the melee, which causes one of them to crash into the ship, forcing everyone to jump into the water.

Realizing that explosive torpedoes will not work and that the shark has damaged his vessel, Jonas decides defeat the Meg himself by making her bleed to death.

Taylor swims beneath the fearsome shark and manages to cut her stomach open using his damaged sub. After that, the predator starts aggressively chomping at the sub, breaking through the glass windows. Seizing his chance, Jonas swims back to the front of the shark and stabs a knife into her face to hang on. Then he pokes the Meg in the eye with a harpoon, causing the shark to open her mouth in pain. Then, as they both breach the surface of the water, Jonas pushes the harpoon further into the predator's eye, killing it by piercing its brain. As the shark dies, its blood attracts other sharks in the area, causing it to be devoured and bringing an end to its carnage.

Trivia

  • It is still unknown how the megs have been able to survive extinction for two million years.
    • One theory is that the megs may have survived through inbreeding. Their aggressive behavior and deformity could have been caused by inbreeding,
    • Another theory explaining the megalodon's survival in-story is extended lifespans and as a result, fewer offspring to avoid competition for limited resources.
  • Both sharks in the film are females, as they both lack claspers, are too big to be males, and are referred to as "her" several times.

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