The CW's upcoming Walker, Texas Ranger reboot is still several months away from hitting the airwaves, but Supernatural star Jared Padalecki and showrunner Anna Fricke shared some new details about the new series this week. The series, simply titled Walker, is an update of the classic 1990s drama starring Chuck Norris. The new show pays tribute to the original series but updates the story of a widowed Texas Ranger to fit today's world.
"It’s still a love song to Texas and the character is still obviously a Texas Ranger and somewhat of a maverick character with a very strong moral compass. I’d say that is a powerful carry-through from the original," Fricke, whose previous credits include Dawson's Creek and Valor, told Variety at Mipcom, where ViacomCBS Global Distribution had to introduce it to international distributors without a completed pilot. The CW ordered the show straight-to-series because they could not film a pilot during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.
The shutdown gave Fricke and the writers more time to refine their scripts and make tweaks that reflected the protests for police reform. "This was always supposed to be a show that was set up to have conversations on both sides of the fence and that Walker is a character that can see things both ways — we call him the edge of the coin," Fricke said. She noted that the pilot was changed a bit so Coby Bell's Captain Larry James, a Black character, is "on a mission to bring progress into the department and to keep an eye on corruption." The show also pairs Walker with a Latina partner, played by The 100's Lindsey Morgan.
Fricke also dubbed the show a "family soap." Her team took influence from the original series, which highlighted Walker's family ties. In the new series, Padalecki's real-life wife Genevieve Padalecki will play Walker's deceased wife. Violent Brinson and Kale Culley play his children, while Mitch Pileggi and Molly Hagan play his parents. Keegan Allen plays Walker's brother.
In a separate Variety interview, Padalecki noted that playing Walker is far different than Sam Winchester, the character he played for 15 years on Supernatural. While in quarantine, Padalecki worked on developing the new character after he wrapped on Supernatural. "If Walker, the TV show, goes for three or four or five or six or seven years or whatever, then I hope he’s more fleshed-out and more developed than he was during the pilot," Padalecki explained. "And so, I’ve done a lot of work — I’ve done the character work — and I’m going to start from there and let what happens between ‘action’ and ‘cut’ inform me more."
Walker is being filmed in Austin, where Padalecki and his family live. The show is set to finally debut in January since The CW is not airing any new episodes of its dramas during the fall. Padalecki can stil lbe seen in the final episodes of Supernatural, airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET.