Meet Jack Carr – The Real-Life Navy SEAL Author of The Terminal List
Meet Jack Carr – The Real-Life Navy SEAL Author of The Terminal List

Chris Pratt will play a character directly inspired by Carr’s military career.

July 1st marks the premiere for Amazon Prime Video’s The Terminal List – the latest in a string of action thrillers on the platform such as early ‘22 release, Reacher.


The series sees Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt play Lieutenant Commander James Reece, a Navy SEAL who finds himself the lone survivor of an ill-fated mission, and furthermore, at the centre of a deadly government conspiracy. 
While director-producer Antoine Fuqua has routinely employed combat veterans as advisors to his films – such as 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. When it came to the script for The Terminal List, however, he didn’t really have to look much further than the original novel’s author – Jack Carr.


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Carr’s own career in the special forces lasted a long 20 years, in which he served across a variety of fronts ranging from counter-insurgency operations in the Philippines to missions spent leading assault and sniper teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Today, the author sits atop multiple bestsellers lists in the action-thriller genre (the most recent being 2022’s In The Blood), while spending his days out hunting and travelling with his family. Here’s a few things you didn’t know about Jack Carr – ex-Navy SEAL and New York Times bestselling author:


He’s Descended From A World War II Martyr

“My grandfather served in WWII and he was killed in WWII — he was a Marine aviator,” explained Carr in a recent interview with Fox News. “He was killed in May of 1945 near the end of the war.”

Carr’s grandfather, despite dying long before his own birth in 1975, left behind plenty of photographs, medals, and even the iconic silk maps used by WWII aviators, which could survive marine deployments unlike paper maps. These formed the early dreams of joining the military, which Carr soon followed through with.

“Black Sheep Squadron” was on TV, with Robert Conrad playing legendary Marine aviator Pappy Boyington,” he continued. “I watched that with my dad and it was the power of popular culture. It was his connection to his dad — my grandfather — so I was headed in that direction.”

He Was Inspired By War Novels Early In Life

Curiously, the other side of Carr’s interests came from his mother – a librarian. You could almost say he was destined to become a military author! It was at the library with his mother that he came to learn what Navy SEALs were, and he quickly devoured all the literature he could find, fictional and otherwise.

By the time Carr enlisted, he had already read all of Tom Clancy’s classic novels such as The Hunt for Red October – naming David Morrell, Nelson DeMille, and Stephen Hunter as some of his childhood favourites.

“All these guys had protagonists that I wanted to be one day. A Marine sniper in Vietnam … Army special forces in Vietnam … I had such a good time reading those books and I continue to read them to this day,” he shared.

Carr Wrote His Novel As A Form Of Therapy

By the time Carr published The Terminal List, he was already in his forties, and had spent two decades as a special ops soldier. While this meant he had plenty of experience and passion to put into his book, he definitely wasn’t immediately looking to get famous.

The book was essentially written for me – it was very therapeutic,” he admits. “I revisited what was important to me over the last twenty years including emotionally, strategically, and tactically.  I combined them into a fictional thriller hoping to make the weapons and the people authentic.  It was me pouring out my passions and emotions.”

Its interesting to note that the Terminal List series will deal heavily with PTSD as a central theme, explored across its eight premiere season episodes.

Some Of His Books Have Text Redacted By The US Government

As an actual military veteran, many of Carr’s works have been subject to intense scrutiny from the United States Department of Defense – specifically the ‘Office of Pre-Publication and Security’.

This department’s official purpose is to ‘ensure that information being released is both accurate and represents the Department’s official position’, with respect to manuscripts, theses, official documents, and several works of fiction. Carr has gone on record to criticise the department – while he admits that ‘select information should remain classified’, he also accuses the review process of being inefficient and ineffective.

This makes sense given that Carr’s chosen topics mirror very real military scandals associated with the U.S. government and military. The Terminal List, for instance, was partially inspired by 1970s hearings on experiments performed on Navy divers by the government.

“These guys were used as guinea pigs. I molded much of this information into a fictional story,” he said in an interview with Crimespree Magazine.

Chris Pratt – who previously played a Navy SEAL in Zero Dark Thirty, also went on Jimmy Kimmel Live recently – discussing his experience of reading the book, and finding great potential for a series:

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The Terminal List is set to air on Amazon Prime Video, this July 1st.


(Featured Image Credits: Amazon Prime Video, Jack Carr)

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