‘Walker: Independence’ Star Matt Barr Explains His Second Chance with Hoyt Rawlings

by Emily Morgan

Matt Barr, who stars in the newly picked up TV show, “Walker: Independence,” is getting a second chance. Earlier, his character was killed off early in the original CW show, “Walker.” Now, he’s back in the new prequel series. 

In February, the network announced that Barr would play Hoyt Rawlins in the show. Showrunners pegged Barr to play the male lead in the project, executive produced by Jared Padalecki.

Viewers know Rawlins as a gambling outlaw who lives in the town of Independence. According to Barr, his character is a sort of “antihero.”

“Those are my favorite kind of characters to watch,” he said in a new interview with Deadline. “They’re really dynamic, right? Redemption stories are just more fun. I remember watching ‘Point Break’ and being obsessed with the Bodhi [Patrick Swayze] character who’s an actual criminal robbing banks but you’re absolutely rooting for the bad guys. Now the antihero has become very much in vogue. What’s fun is that no matter what Hoyt does and no matter how many steps backward he takes we feel that nobility in him. I think that will follow him forever as long as he’s pursuing the right and noble thing.”

Beyond getting a second chance, Barr also says he’s proud to be featured on a show with a diverse cast. The show included cast members who authentically represented the Americans who were around at that time. 

“Across the TV landscape, there are attempts at diversity that can feel forced or like it’s treated as a novelty. It feels like you’re almost taking steps backward and even insulting,” he shared. “So to do it in an organic way is something special.”

Matt Barr excited to lean into Texas’ history in new spinoff series

As viewers will come to learn, the new “Walker Independence” will follow characters in the present but will also take a look into their past. The show will also dive into how they landed in the Lone Star state. 

“I can tease a little bit about Hoyt’s family which has a background that intersects with the Alamo, bringing in some real Texas history,” said Barr. “It informs why he is the way he is and why he’s chosen to lead the life he lives. I’m excited to explore that more.”

Barr, born and raised in Texas, can’t help but feel like this is a full-circle moment. He made his TV debut on “Walker, Texas Ranger.” At the time, he even shared a small scene with icon Chuck Norris. 

“The show was filmed in Dallas where I grew up and they shot one day on one of my friend’s ranches so they pulled me in as an extra. I remember Chuck and Clarence Gilyard running and they say, ‘Where did he go?’ and I pointed to the left so they went that way. I had no words, but I pointed. When I went to school after that, I walked in like I was Tom Cruise.”