Jared Padalecki is bringing a whole new light into the classic “Walker, Texas Ranger” character.
He may not be the hardcore Chuck Norris of the ’90s, but his goal for the new adaptation, “Walker,” is to create a modern rendition of the famous Texas ranger. The actor/producer will be replacing a roundhouse kick for something a lot more real.
Despite changes, Padalecki is still sporting that classic button-up shirt with the ranger pin and a cowboy hat combo just like Norris.
So, what’s the biggest difference between “Walker” and “Walker, Texas Ranger?”
‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Reimagined
Padalecki is the star and producer of the new CW show. He has said that the show is more of a family drama than anything else. It won’t have that same weekly good versus bad plot that ends with justice for the good.
The show will follow Cordell Walker, a husband whose wife was just murdered. He threw himself into his work, leaving behind a changing work environment and kids who are struggling with intense grief.
“There’s a reason we called it ‘Walker,’ not ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ because it refers to the whole Walker family … It’s more a show about how people in these times can deal with very human issues as opposed to ‘good guy beats up bad guy.’ ” Padalecki told the Daily News.
Fighting the Bad Guys
Instead of just fighting bad guys, his character will be fighting the bad “guys” of society. This means tackling issues like immigration, police violence/tactics, and grief. These are issues that are all too real and will give the show a dynamic balance between action and drama.
Padalecki played Sam Winchester in the CW show “Supernatural.” Here he battled monsters with his brother as a monster hunter. Now, the monsters have shifted shape into something a bit more real.
“I want to do it justice, while also doing more justice to the world we find ourselves in now, so if we can find some way to marry the two then that sounds great,” Padalecki said.
Padalecki has said that he is in no way interested in doing a show that leans into toxic masculinity tropes. He told Variety that the show, “is not a show about a martial artist kicking minorities in the face; this is a show about a legit Texan saying, ‘Hey, I need to hear the whole story before I make a decision.’ So this version is less about what goes through somebody’s fists and feet, and more about what goes through somebody’s head and heart.”
Female Cast Members
Besides Jared Padalecki as the leading figure in the show, his family, coworkers, and kids are a major driving point in this new family drama.
Lindsey Morgan will play his partner-in-beating-crime, Ranger Micki Ramirez. She has also starred in a CW show, “The 100.”
She is battling the idea of being a Mexican female character in a state with the majority Caucasian law enforcement.
“From my position, and the character I play, a big obstacle and learning challenge I face daily is where do I fit as a Mexican woman in a majority Caucasian law enforcement team, in a state that is, for the history of it, has been conservative and not caring too much about marginalizing communities and immigrants. I love that my character is placed in these two worlds, and these two warring communities and hoping to be a liaison, and hoping we can tell a story of tolerance …” Morgan said in an interview with Deadline.
In addition to Morgan, Padalecki’s wife, Genevieve Padalecki will play the ranger’s deceased wife. She was also on “Supernatural.” Besides acting, she has her own blog, a book club, is on the charity Random Acts board, promotes sustainability and had a clothing line at Kohl’s. The two have three kids together.
“For the last almost nine years, it’s been Gen as a mother so often, that to see her again across the set from me, playing a character is just awesome. It’s really fun to work with her and watch her flex her acting chops,” Padalecki said.
The pandemic, as well as “Walker,” has allowed the family to spend more time together than ever before.
Inspiration and Adjustments
When Jared Padalecki first pitched the idea of the show, he was inspired by current events.
One of the most influential was a story he heard about detention of children at the Mexico-U.S. border.
“I read a story about a law enforcement agent who couldn’t bring themselves to put a three-year old in a cage and take them away from their parents. They said something along the lines of that they had a three-year old, they couldn’t bring themselves to do it. And that empathy and that emotion struck me as something as the evitable stuck in between a rock and a hard place, but you’re bound by duty, but you still have a moral code and you see people as human beings, not perpetrators or heroes,” Padalecki said to Deadline.
Then COVID-19 began its spread and the Black Lives Matter movement had major protests throughout the world after the murder of George Floyd. These major ongoing events caused a ripple in 2020 that the show will work with.
“While I was waiting for the show to begin, the world began to drastically change, and I feel like the show that I had spoken to Anna about prior, was also changing with it. It became this unexpected blessing. Suddenly a show about law enforcement in a very divided state such as Texas means so much more now in our world today than it would have pre-2020,” Morgan said.
The show will tackle these huge issues head-first. From immigration to racism to the police system, “Walker” will approach some important areas of conversation in America.