Walker: Independence Goes Back to the Past

New prequel Walker: Independence delves into the family history of The CW's Texas Ranger

New prequel Walker: Independence delves into the family history of The CW’s Texas Ranger

After two seasons of Cordell Walker’s less-than-conventional law-enforcement tactics, we’re about to see that the modern-day Texas Ranger inherited his shoot-from-the-hip approach from another branch of the family tree… as did his best pal Hoyt. 

Exec-produced by Walker star Jared Padalecki, Walker: Independence tracks the adventures of his character’s ancestor, Abby (Katherine McNamara, Shadowhunters), a well-to-do Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes during a journey out West. Walker: IndependenceThe CWDetermined to avenge his death, she hooks up with Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr), a rogue and gambler in search of direction, and together they wind up in the Texas town of Independence, a ’burgh full of eclectic residents who themselves are fleeing pasts and pursuing dreams. Here, the duo become forces for change in a town where nothing is quite as it appears. 

The new series means double-duty and an interesting acting challenge for Barr, who in Rawlins creates a character that is a 19th-century version of the 21st-century Hoyt Rawlins he plays in Walker; thus, he wanted them to be… well, the same but different. 

“I wanted us to realize… that that Rawlins DNA is really strong,” he explains. “But I made the decision that the 1800s Hoyt Rawlins is going to be more dangerous. I always thought you had to be to survive in that time period; like, nice guys just didn’t make it. And the modern-day Hoyt, to me, might rob a liquor store with a toy gun, but he was never going to kill someone. This version of Hoyt has killed people and he has that element in him. 

Walker: IndependenceThe CW“But I do think their sense of amusement by life, there’s a sense of levity and they sort of find the fun in these situations they find themselves in, and that’s very consistent between the two.” 

Much of the series hinges on the inteplay between Hoyt and Abby, kindred spirits from vastly different backgrounds who find each other in this new setting, and for that Barr gives his co-star high marks. 

“I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” he says. “It’s like you know when you dance well with someone that you’re going to be a good scene partner. We just seem to dance really well together. She picks up on my kind of unspoken little instincts and vice versa. So yeah, she’s just really, really talented and it helps when you’re just a good human being.”  

Walker: Independence premieres Thursday, October 6 on The CW