On 23rd September 2019 it was reported that Jared had his first post Supernatural project lined up -- a reboot of the '90s action procedural series Walker, Texas Ranger that starred Chuck Norris. Coincidentally, in 6.18 Frontierland Sam used the alias "Walker, Texas Ranger"! The original series ran for eight seasons from 1993 to 2001, and was moderately successful throughout its run.
According to publicity, the series, which will be called Walker, would "focus on Cordell Walker as he returns from years undercover. A widower and father of two, he begins fighting crime with a new partner, who is one of the only female Rangers in history." Walker and his partner will be "the modern day heroes our world needs, following their own moral code to fight for what’s right, regardless of the rules." The show will be set, and film, in Austin where Jared and his family live.
The series is being written and executive produced by Anna Fricke, who is currently under an overall deal at CBS Television Studios, and who previously co-created the North American adaptation of Being Human for Syfy with husband and former Supernatural writer and showrunner Jeremy Carver. Jared is also listed as an executive producer along with Rideback's Dan Lin (Fox's Lethal Weapon), and Lindsey Libertore. Jared's manager Dan Spilo was also involved but was removed after his high profile removal from "Survivor" for sexual misconduct.
CBS Television Studios will produce the show, which has still to find a home. Both The CW and CBS were reported to be interested, before it was announced that it had landed with The CW. On January 19th, 2020, it was announced that the network had ordered the first season.
The first episode was to be available for ad buyers at the Upfront presentation in May, which will mean Jared would have gone into filming it very soon after Supernatural wrapped filming. However the shutdown of filming across the US in March due to COVID-19 changed the schedule. On 14th May 2020, the CW announced that it would launch its new season of original scripted shows in January 2021, rather than the traditional October launch. Walker will air on Thursdays at 8pm.
In October, 2020 showrunner Anne Fricke described the show in comparison with the Chuck Norris "Walker, Texas Ranger" as follows:
- It’s ... 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... This show, I’d say, is even more of a family drama just because Walker himself now is living on the ranch with his own parents, so it’s a real multi-generational story.
When asked how the show would deal with calls in 2020 for a racial reckoning and police reforms, Fricke said:
- Walker is a character that can see things both ways — we call him the edge of the coin. We realized that unwittingly we were set up to have those conversations in the characters of Captain James, who is a Black man, and in Walker’s new partner, who is a Latinx woman. Given that we had the extra time, we tweaked the pilot slightly in that Captain James, as a newer captain who was promoted while Walker was gone on a case, is really here on a mission to bring progress into the department and to keep an eye on corruption.
Walker will air at 8pm on the CW with the premiere on Thursday 21st January, 2021.
- After eleven months undercover, Cordell Walker is a widowed father of two finding his way back to his family while serving in the most elite law enforcement unit in Texas. Walker returns to his home in Austin after eleven months of undercover work on a high-profile case to discover that his family needs his attention.
- He attempts to reconnect with his children, navigate clashes with his conservative family, and find unexpected common ground with his new partner Micki who is one of the first women in Texas Rangers history, while growing increasingly suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his wife's death.
- Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker – "He finds his transition back into everyday life proves tougher than he imagined, though, with Cordell needing to reconnect with his two children, navigate culture clashes with his conservative family, and find common ground with his new partner."
- Genevieve Padalecki as Emily Walker - "She is capable, generous, and focused on helping the disenfranchised."
- Lindsey Morgan as Micki – "Who was born and raised in San Antonio. Described as focused and perceptive, her family has been in Texas since before it was Texas. She’s been in the Army and on the police force and knows first-hand what it’s like to be singled out and discriminated against because of her gender."
- Keegan Allen as Liam Walker – "Smart, slightly smug, but with a strong moral compass, Liam is Walker’s younger gay and conservative brother who has been recently promoted to assistant DA. Liam and Walker are close, but Liam gives his brother no shortage of tough love. Liam has always stayed close to home, often sacrificing his personal life in favor of his family duties. In Walker’s absence, he stepped up to take Walker’s kids under his wing. Liam’s close relationship with Walker’s son and daughter makes Walker slightly jealous."
- Mitch Pileggi as Bonham Walker – "A sturdy, conservative, tough-as-nails family man who doesn’t hold back when talking with his sons. A third-generation Texas rancher, he’s most comfortable taking care of business on the ranch."
- Molly Hagan as Abeline Walker – "An intelligent force of nature who’s a third generation Texas rancher. Abeline always puts family first and is ready to give you advice whether you want it or not."
- Coby Bell as Captain Larry James – "Trailblazer in his division, confident, sharp as a razor. Captain James, as the only African American man in the Austin headquarters and one of only a few in the entire Ranger division, has true grit and a wry sense of humor."
- Jeff Pierre as Trey Barnett – "Micki’s boyfriend. Warm and loving but haunted, Trey is an army medic recently back from his deployment. He’s doing his best to adjust but it’s not easy. He has a good relationship with Micki; they keep each other honest, and know each other better than they let anyone else know them."
- Violet Brinson as Stella Walker – "Sixteen years old, insolent and riding an emotional roller coaster, Stella is Walker’s teenage daughter. Headstrong and smart as hell, she resents her dad for being absent – and she’s not about to forgive him anytime soon. Her unrest leads her to ask questions Walker isn’t ready to answer."
- Kale Culley as August Walker – "Fourteen years old, sweet, sincere and quietly smart, August is Walker’s son. August rabidly consumes information and is eager to learn any skill that will help, please and impress his family. Unlike his sister, he doesn’t want to cause a stir. In other words, a time bomb." (Trivia: Originally called Arlo, the name of one of the Padalecki's dogs.)
- Matt Barr as Hoyt - Cordell's best friend is described as a "Hill Country's Han Solo" and a "Lonestar lothario' who finds himself facing off with his friend on the opposite side of the law.
- Odette Anabel as Geri - A bartender who shares a history and friendship with Walker and his late wife, Emily. However, Geri hasn’t seen Walker in a long time and his return to Austin after being undercover for eleven months will bring her back into his orbit.
- First preview video
- Season 1 promo photos
- Jared promo from Winchester to Walker
- Jared sahres backstory to new series Bleeding Cool
- ‘Walker’ Showrunner Previews Upcoming ‘Family Soap’ Starring Jared Padalecki by Variety
- Preview of the Pilot script
- ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Reboot Starring Jared Padalecki in the Works by Deadline
- ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Reboot Starring Jared Padalecki in Development by Variety
- Supernatural's Jared Padalecki to Be the New Walker, Texas Range by Empire
- ‘Supernatural’ star Jared Padalecki talks ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ reboot NY Daily News
- Jared Padalecki Reinvents a Lone Star State Icon with Garden and Gun
- The ATX Television Festival featured a "Walker Music Showcase" on June 20 hosted by Lindsey Morgan and Odette Annable, and will have live performances from Erika Wennestrom, Kalu and Mobley.