The Terminal List’s Major Book Change Makes The Prequel TV Show Much More Exciting


  • The Terminal List’s twist ending with Ben Edwards was handled differently from the book, making the character more sympathetic and morally complex.
  • Taylor Kitsch’s portrayal of Edwards in the TV show was likable and intriguing, leading to the spinoff series Dark Wolf exploring his backstory.
  • Dark Wolf can expand on the Capstone conspiracy and add depth to the fictional world of The Terminal List by exploring Edwards’ motivations and role in the conspiracy.

The Terminal List‘s big villain change means that its prequel show, The Terminal List: Dark Wolf, can now be a much stronger, more exciting project. The Terminal List was a huge hit when the series was released in July 2022. Starring Chris Pratt as the Navy SEAL James Reece, the show told the dark story of Reece attempting to unearth a conspiracy that led to the death of his colleagues on a dangerous mission and the subsequent endangerment of Reece’s family. In a poignant twist, Reece soon discovered that his repentant former friend Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch) was involved.

In The Terminal List season 1’s ending, Reece finally killed Edwards after discovering that his fellow Navy SEAL played a pivotal part in killing his unit. However, this twist ending was handled very differently from the Jack Carr novel that inspired the series. In the original book of the same name, Ben Edwards was a more straightforward villain. He was still a former friend of Reece, but he seemed unrepentant about his involvement with the conspiracy and did nothing to help Reece hunt down those responsible. The TV show took a much better approach.

How The Terminal List Changed Ben Edwards From The Book

TV’s version of Edwards is a more rounded villain

In The Terminal List season 1, Taylor Kitsch’s take on Ben Edwards was portrayed as the show’s tragic anti-villain. Edwards eventually became so sympathetic that it questioned how he got involved in the conspiracy in the first place, with Kitsch’s character emerging as the show’s breakout star. This caused Amazon to greenlight a spinoff series, The Terminal List prequel Dark Wolf.Dark Wolf will focus on what happened after Reece and Edwards served together in the Navy SEALs, eventually explaining what led Edwards down the dark path that ultimately resulted in his brother-in-arms killing him.

The Terminal List made the book’s fairly one-dimensional villain more repentant and sympathetic, as Kitsch gave Edwards an unexpected human side. This did make the discovery of his actions all the more heartbreaking, but the fact that Edwards genuinely helped Reece uncover the conspiracy proved that he wanted to make things right despite his mistakes. Kitsch’s antihero was always doomed to die, but unlike his book counterpart, he wasn’t a sneering villain whose death viewers impatiently awaited. Instead, Edwards was a flawed, morally ambiguous figure who was arguably more interesting than The Terminal List’s actual protagonist, Reece.

The Terminal List’s Dark Wolf Prequel Is Better With The TV Show’s Edwards

Taylor Kitsch’s version of Edwards was a more complex, interesting character

For The Terminal List’s prequel Dark Wolf to give Kitsch a lead role, the original show needed to soften the book character’s personality. There wasn’t much to explore in the novel’s version of Edwards, a more unambiguously evil figure who eventually falls victim to a well-earned death. However, The Terminal List TV show’s version of Edwards was likable, charming, and complex enough to warrant a separate spinoff series of his own. It was tough to get to the end of The Terminal List season 1 without wondering what made Edwards take the dark turn that he eventually did.

Edwards was never fully redeemed before his death, but his season 1 role did provide viewers with enough moral complexity to make the prospect of a prequel intriguing. The Terminal List’s spinoff can make its villain even more understandable, thus making the first season more tragic in retrospect. Reece struggled with his own dark side in season 1, so it will be interesting to see whether Edwards was substantially worse than his former colleague or if he simply faced his challenges earlier than Pratt’s Navy SEAL.

The Terminal List’s Dark Wolf Prequel Can Improve The Main Show

Dark Wolf can flesh out the world of The Terminal List

Chris Pratt as James Reece aiming a gun in The Terminal List

By adding more depth to Edwards and Reece’s history, Dark Wolf can expand the fictional world of the franchise. Viewers barely got a glimpse of the conspiracy’s machinations in season 1’s ending and the ramifications of Capstone’s RD4895 have not yet been explored. As such, while The Terminal List season 2 can foucus on Reece, the spinoff can expand on the Capstone conspiracy by seeing the story from the perspective of Edwards without holding up the main series.

While the Capstone plot is far from finished, viewers have now got a relatively clear understanding of why the shady company targeted Reece and his fellow Navy SEALs. However, the question of why Edwards went along with the risky trial remains open, and his justification could change how viewers perceive the conspiracy. Edwards already proved unexpectedly charismatic in season 1 before the extent of his complicity in the conspiracy was revealed in the finale, and his backstory can reinforce the idea that he is arguably no more inherently villainous than Reece. Thus, The Terminal List’s prequel, Dark Wolf, can make its villain an unexpected hero.

The Terminal List

Release Date
July 1, 2022

Jared Shaw , Arlo Mertz , JD Pardo , Patrick Schwarzenegger , ​Chris Pratt2 , Tyner Rushing , Constance Wu , Christina Vidal , Matthew Rauch , Alexis Louder , Jai Courtney , Stephen Bishop , Taylor Kitsch , Jeanne Tripplehorn , Warren Kole , Nick Chinlund , Riley Keough , LaMonica Garrett , Sean Gunn


David DiGilio