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Jared Padalecki Reflects on ‘Walker’ Season 2 & Teases ‘Independence’

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Walker‘s Season 2 finale, “Something’s Missing.” So if you haven’t watched yet, that’s OK because this is a conversation with Jared Padalecki and that’s always a good thing!]

The fiery feud between the Walkers and the Davidsons came to a fittingly heated end Thursday night as Gale (Paula Marshall) finally admitted to daughter Geri (Odette Annable) that she, not Cordell (Jared Padalecki), had caused the barn blaze years ago that killed Marv Davidson. After learning that he’d lied about Baby Geri dying, Gale clobbered the jerk with a lantern, the place went up in flames and poor lil Cordi became convinced it was his fault because he’d brought the lantern to the barn to watch a comet with Denise. Got that? Good, because once the smoke cleared, there was even more to deal with: Gale was taken into custody, Abby (Molly Hagan) got her long-overdue apology and Denise admitted to cutting Cord’s saddle to sabotage their horse race for ownership of the Walker ranch.

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

On top of all that, Trey (Jeff Pierre) and his massive biceps were invited to join the Texas Rangers, but he then found out his new apartment was right next door to Cordi’s partner, Cassie (Ashley Reyes), who is definitely showing some neighborly interest; Stella (Violet Brinson) graduated from high school; Liam (Keegan Allen) told his folks that he was ready to try his hand at ranching; and Geri broke it off with Cordi in order to figure out who she really is. Hopefully it doesn’t take her too long, because the hour ended with Cordell being kidnapped from the trail during a race (in the blazing Texas sun?!) with Trey and Liam. With Cordi last seen bound and unconscious in the back of a nondescript van, it definitely seems like we’re gonna need as many of his loved ones around to figure out what happened to our hero.

Until then, we have this chat with Mr. Padalecki, who offers a little bit of insight into what is coming next, as well as a lot of laughs about this past season, the show’s Independence spinoff and, of course, a certain former costar’s current (and cheeky) gig.

Sir! How is it going?!

Jared Padalecki: Oh, it’s going. I’m here. Been here, there and everywhere. I have a big birthday next month but we’re gonna be out of the country, so [Padelecki’s wife] Jen had a bunch of our friends fly in…I had a pretty overwhelming weekend of seeing friends from like my high school days, my Gilmore Girl days, my Supernatural days, my Walker days and everything in between. It was awesome.

Nice. And now you’re finished filming everything, right?

We finished about a month ago. And we don’t go back to Season 3 of Walker until August, but I think Independence — I don’t know if it’s set in stone yet — but I think it’s gonna be towards the end of next month that we start in Santa Fe.

Are you gonna back-and-forth it?

I’m gonna try and go to Santa Fe as much as I can, but you know how busy it gets with Walker in Austin during the season, so I might not be able to get out there a whole lot. I hope I do. I’m not in Independence obviously, so I don’t have to be there a whole bunch, but I’d love to be there as a producer and as a friend to the cast and crew and what-not.

Walker - Jared Padalecki

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

It helps that Cordi has been kidnapped because you could be missing for a couple episodes while you’re down in Santa Fe

[Laughs] You know? I’ve been trying to pitch that for months now. I’m like, “Hey, maybe I don’t really resurface until like episode five.” And then I’m gonna be Instagramming me, like, from Spain, having a good old time, you know? Eating prosciutto. And then come home with my pants three sizes bigger.

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Oh please, you would just sweat it all off in that Texas heat…that final shot of you guys running, I was like “Mother of God, the cruelty.”

We kinda laugh sometimes, looking at the little weather app on our iPhones and it’ll be like, “Oh, it’s only 101…but the heat index is 106!” And that was just a couple of weeks after I was in that big car accident [in Texas, when Padalecki was a passenger in a car that went over a retaining wall and into a utility pole].

Oh my God. That’s right.

And so I hadn’t really moved around and that scene had already been written long before that. So I was like, “Okay, well I’m gonna give it a shot. I haven’t moved my legs in a while but here we go.” I was really sweating and was not used to running; that was the longest I’ve gone without running in my adult life. So yeah, the sweat was real. That wasn’t makeup. [Laughs]

How are you feeling now from the accident?

I feel great, thank you. Yeah. I feel, I feel great. I was a little banged up up but got up and at it, got through the last three episodes. I probably, I dunno if I’ve really talked about this but, unbeknownst to I think a lot of the viewing audience, they had to rewrite a lot of the scenes in episodes 19 and 20 because I couldn’t film for a couple of weeks. I was kind of bedridden, so yeah. Even with episode 218, which Austin Nichols—our beloved Clint West and my dear friend—directed, they had to kind of take me outta some stuff. It was a beautiful episode and a lot of it luckily happened anyways with the hiking and climbing that Stella and Colton were doing.

You gave us a bit of a scare when Jensen revealed the news.

Yeah, I know. Jensen called me before all of that, because it happened on Easter and then he was at the New York convention the following weekend, which I was supposed to be at, too. But you know, I was on medication that makes you loopy so you don’t want to be trying to do appearances like that. And I also didn’t wanna be tweeting to people, because I don’t think I was making much sense. It might have just even been more frightening to people if I had come out and said like, “Hey, so the other day…I blah blargh blech.” [Laughs] But I am all good now.

Thank God. So you got to close out the season with another great curveball. It was like 45 minutes into the hour, and the Davidson situation is settled, so I started to think “Ok, what is happening now?” And then you give us this nice resolution and then the kidnapping twist! I did not see that coming. I was thinking you were all gonna like run up onto a body somewhere.

That would’ve been great also!

How early into Season 3 will we find out who’s got Cordi?

Very early. Certainly in the Season 3 premiere, we’ll get a glimpse of just how much trouble Cord is in, if there’s any way for him to get out or if he’s gonna need help…and how help would even get to him or find him. We find out quick, much to my chagrin. I kind of pitched that like, “Hey, maybe I’m just kidnapped for like 10 episodes and I have a really long summer.” And they’re like, “No, that’s not really gonna work. The show’s called Walker, so we’re gonna need you.” [Laughs]

Walker - Jeff Pierre

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Yeah, he needs to be back on duty now that Trey is becoming a Ranger.

If he chooses to follow through with it.

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And Liam is becoming a rancher. So we’ll get a scruffy Keegan Allen and Jeff Pierre in uniform. You are really giving the people what they want, you understand?

Right?! [Laughs] With Trey having done so many great heroic, wonderful things, like in Season 1’s tornado and just recently in Season 2, seeing him hop outta helicopters and what-not, it’s clear that he has great skills. We did some research and there is precedent of the Department of Public Safety making allowances for [Rangers]. Usually, you have to be in the DPS for seven years before even being eligible to be a Ranger, but they have made exceptions for special circumstances. And I think we’ve all seen over the last two seasons that the character of Trey Barnett would clearly be a fantastic Ranger. And I wanna see him in the outfit. I wanna see if he can fit all those muscles into the uniform. [Laughs]

And I’m guessing Geri needed to break off things with Cordi because Odette needs to go and be pregnant?

[Laughs] Maybe? I think, outside of O’s personal situation and giving birth, the storyline just seemed to make sense that Geri—who’s been so independent for so long—would go on a personal journey of her own. Finding out that her father wasn’t really her father and that her father kind of killed her father and that she’s kind of a Davidson, but kind of a Walker, like she needs to get her head set on straight. Like when she sold the Side Step and drove off last season? Geri is kind of a lone wolf. As much a she’s loved and as much as she’s part of both the Walker and Davidson families, she is also a strong human being who just needs to reset and approach things with a clean slate. And so we’re gonna see her character take a reset, take a hard reset, and then figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Walker - Paula Marshall + Dave Annable + Jalen Thomas Brooks

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

Are the Davidsons sticking around?

I hope so. Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of sparks between Colton and Stella, we’ve seen Dan (Dave Annable) have redemption of sorts. And Denise and Gale have their own sort of redemption, you know. I think part of the whole [theme] of the series Walker, this one, is that no one’s perfect, right? Everyone makes mistakes and everyone can take steps to try and make things better, make things right. So I love the idea of the Davidsons sticking around and us seeing their journey to redemption.

And now Cassie…love her.

Love her. Amazing.

Ashley Reyes is so great. I wanna see you guys work more together.

Me too! And Ashley, as a human being, I just love the shit out of her. She is just an awesome young actress.When we were casting the character, we had seen God knows how many audition tapes. These days in Covid, it’s done via Zoom or you log in to watch test auditions. Finally, when we were getting towards the very end of the casting process, we had a call and they’re like, “Hey, we really like this actress. We haven’t sent her to y’all yet because she’s five-two and Jared’s six-five, but give her a look because we love her.” And so we watched her tape and we were like, ” Damn it, she’s it!” Then we had a Zoom read, Ashley, me and a bunch of the other execs and they were like, “Yep, that’s it. Let’s get her to Texas.”

She’s charming and she’s funny and she brings a nice lighthearted aspect. Ashley, along with Matt Pascua, who plays her brother, are just wonderful people, wonderful actors…they really flesh out the entire Walker world.

Walker - Ashley Reyes

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

That’s what I really love, the way the show’s universe really did expand this season. The way we saw connections among the characters develop…Bonham (Mitch Pileggi) and Abby having that connection with the Davidsons and having that history. It’s like they could have had their own show that would’ve aired 20 years ago and this season was almost like the recap of that.

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That’s an amazing way to put it. And yeah, I would watch the Bonham and Abby show, all day, every day. All they’ve been through, their acceptance of each other, their forgiveness and their frustrations. When you have actors like Mitch and Molly, you can have ’em read a phone book and it would be compelling, so what they’ve done, alongside the writers, has just been a special joy to me. And another thing, you know, watching the show in my capacity as executive producer — I’ll watch the dailies and what-not — but a lot of the scenes that take place between Bonham and Abby Walker, I’m not there on set for, you know? I’ve read the script obviously and know they’re shooting that scene that day, but I don’t see it until later when I see it on camera and I’m always like, “Holy s–t, this is good….they’re so good.”

Oh we totally ‘ship them. Now, are you ready to be the lead of a show and the executive producer of that show and launch a second show? Are you ready to juggle it all?

As you ask that question, I started profusely sweating.

Sorry!

[Laughs] No, I can’t wait. Fortunately for me, a lot of the load goes to Anna Fricke and Seamus Kevin Fahey, who’s running Independence. So I just have to kind of be there to go like, “Guys, this is badass. And guys, this is badass, too.” I can’t wait and I’m so thrilled for that cast and crew.

Kat McNamara is an absolute delight.

You know how I was mentioning before, because these days during Covid, that you can’t really cast people in person? So when you’re casting No. 1 of the call sheet, that is who’s gonna to be the person that’s there every day and that’s doing interviews on the weekends and doing photo shoots in between takes and this and that. Well, we did our research. We called other shows she had worked on, other actors she had worked with, other producers and writers and — to a person — they all just sang her praises. They were all like, “Oh my God, she’s wonderful.” And like, in that way of “Please don’t hire her because we want her,” [Laughs]

Walker: Independence - Katherine McNamara

Anna Kooris / The CW

I just spoke to one of your friends, Mr. Eric Kripke over at The Boys and he said that you have an open invitation to come over and make a cameo.

No s–t! Oh my God, I would love to. I’d have to start doing some squats though so I would be ready to show my naked ass.

Yeah, how about that?! But if it’s a cameo, you probably won’t have to go that bare, but you never know with that show.

[Laughs] Well, I mean, if I’m gonna do it, I’ll have to do it right, you know? I can’t just show up and have a suit on.

You can’t let Jensen be the only one showing off his butt.

Correct. I mean they all get it, so if I’m gonna fly all the way up to Toronto, then I may as well make it count.

Exactly. Again, giving the people what they want.

[Laughs] Well, we’ll see. It’ll be my 40-year-old ass!

Walker, Thursdays, Fall 2022, 8/7c, The CW

Walker: Independence, Thursdays, Fall 2022, 9/8c, The CW

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