‘The Terminal List’ is a military action thriller series that tells the story of James Reece (Chris Pratt), a Navy SEAL platoon commander, who loses almost his entire team when a mission in Syria takes a disastrous turn. After returning to the US, Reece experiences recurring headaches and hallucinations. In the evening he finally goes to consult a doctor, masked assassins come and kill his wife and daughter. As Reece realizes that certain nefarious forces are behind what happened to his family and his team, he and his best friend Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch), a former Navy SEAL turned CIA operative, embark on a relentless hunt for vengeance. If you are wondering whether Reece and Edwards are based on real people, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is James Reece Based on a Real Navy SEAL?
No, James Reece is not based on a real Navy SEAL, but there are elements of reality in the character. ‘The Terminal List’ is the web adaptation of Jack Carr’s 2018 book of the same name, the first in the ‘Terminal List’ book series. Carr is a former Navy SEAL in real life. So, much of his experience as a Frogman found its way into Reece when he developed the character. Carr spent two decades in the Navy, retiring in 2016. Like Reece, Carr was a sniper before becoming a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander, and Task Unit Commander. He was a junior officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading assault and sniper teams. He was later posted in the southern Philippines as a platoon commander practicing counterinsurgency. Carr also served as a commander of a Special Operations Task Unit in southern Iraq. During this period, this region was heavily under Iran’s influence. At present, Carr lives in Park City, Utah, with his wife and three children.
Since Carr was a young boy, he planned to do two things — serve his country in uniform first and then write the type of books he grew up loving. In an interview with Washington Post Live, Carr mentioned Tom Clancy, David Morrell, Nelson DeMille, A. J. Quinnell, and Mark Olden as some of the authors who inspired him. Asked how his personal experience helped him develop the book, Carr stated, “As I sat down to write, I thought I would get the technical aspects of this. I am gonna tell a great story. I never questioned that. But as soon as I started to type, I realized how much of a personal and emotional writing experience this was gonna be.”
Carr added, “And that’s not because I am taking an exact event from overseas and just typewriting about it in a novel. No, I’m thinking about the emotions and the feelings behind what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan in certain events, and I am applying them to a fictional narrative.”
Is Ben Edwards Based on a Real CIA Agent?
No, Ben Edwards is not a real CIA agent. Carr grew up reading action thriller novels in the 1980s and early 1990s. The protagonists of most of these books have a military or CIA background. So, it’s safe to presume that, like with Reece, Carr’s childhood reading material played a part in the creation of Ben Edwards as a character. Moreover, as a Navy SEAL, he must have crossed paths with many CIA agents. Those experiences could also have inspired the creation of Ben Edwards.
Read More: Is The Terminal List Based on a True Story?