Jack Ryan: Is Domingo Chavez Inspired by a Real Person?

Image Credit: Attila Szvacsek/Prime Video

The fourth season of Prime Video’s ‘Jack Ryan’ follows the titular character on his latest mission, which involves looking into the CIA just as much as the threats from criminals outside America. At the beginning of the season, we find Ryan and his colleagues trying to create a cleaner image for the agency, especially after the revelation of the previous director’s shady projects. During this clean-up, he comes across a man called Domingo Chavez.

A highly-trained asset known for being the most effective killing machine, Chavez brings a disturbing secret to light when he talks about the mission he was assigned. This leads Ryan and his team to unearth a shocking conspiracy that could unravel everything. Chavez becomes an important part of this operation and is often brought into the spotlight. If you want to know more about him and the roots of his character, then here’s what you should know.

Domingo Chavez: A Fictional Creation Inspired by Real Military Lives

Image Credit: Jonny Cournoyer/Prime Video

The characters in ‘Jack Ryan’ are based on the characters created by Tom Clancy for his spy-thriller novels. While Ryan often takes centerstage in his stories, he has also created incredible supporting characters, without whom Ryanverse is incomplete. Domingo Chavez is one of them. Better known as part of the Rainbow team in the ‘Rainbow Six’ series, Chavez had a turbulent life that turned him towards the military. The books explore his backstory in detail, tracing his origins from the streets of East Los Angeles to joining the CIA’s black ops program. The show, however, introduces us to Chavez right in the middle of a conflict, keeping his backstory in the shadows, which gives him an air of mystery.

When Clancy created characters like Ryan and Chavez, with an extensive history in the military before they turned to espionage, he looked at the people serving in the military and based his characters on them. Clancy never confirmed if he based Chavez on a specific person, but he was well-known for his respect and fascination with the military, even though he had never served in the armed forces. The research for his stories put him in touch with people in the military, giving him a sense of their lives and characters. “The nicest part of it all is meeting the people in the service. The guys in uniform are like cops and firemen. They’re basic, solid people, and they’re in the business of risking their lives for people they don’t know,” the author said.

Image Credit: Attila Szvacsek/Prime Video

Clancy also noted that people in the jobs like Ryan and Chavez always have to be on their toes and have to be quick to react to the challenges presented to them. “People who fight wars are the smartest people I know. The smartest person I ever met is a submariner. They’re also the happiest people I know. Sometimes it’s disgusting how happy they are. They all look forward to going to work because there’s always a challenge,” he said. He gave a similar candor to his characters which is carried into the Prime Video series.

When Michael Peña got to the role of Chavez, he thought about poring through the books and doing his research before filming started. However, he realized that the TV show is tonally different from the books. The characters, especially, were a different iteration than those in the books. “This time, all the research was kind of conflicting with what he actually does. So I kind of just based it off the show so that I can blend in more to the show,” he said.

This change is quite apparent as Chavez had a different demeanor in the books, while Peña’s version is more about living in the shadows and has a different approach to problem-solving than his book counterpart. Considering this, it looks like Clancy used bits and pieces from the real-life military people he had the pleasure of being acquainted with to create a fictional character, Chavez.

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