While covering The CW’s Upfront 2022 Red Carpet, I had the pleasure of chatting with Katherine McNamara and Matt Barr about Walker Independence. The new show is set in the late 1800s and will serve as an origin story of The CW’s current hit series Walker.
WALKER INDEPENDENCE follows Abby Walker (Katherine McNamara, Arrow), an affluent and tough-minded Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West. After crossing paths with Calian, a curious Apache tracker, Abby arrives in the town of Independence, Texas, where she encounters diverse and eclectic residents running from their pasts, chasing their dreams, and keeping their own secrets, including Kate Carver, an idiosyncratic burlesque dancer with perhaps too keen an interest in Abby’s origins, and Kai, a soulful Chinese immigrant who runs a local restaurant/laundry and offers Abby friendship without agenda. Abby also literally runs into Hoyt Rawlins (Matt Barr, Walker), a slippery rogue, thief, and con artist with a dented heart of gold who quickly eyes Abby as a mark, until she turns the tables on him. In seeking justice for her husband, Abby encounters Independence’s noble deputy sheriff, Augustus, and his new boss, Sheriff Tom Davidson, who she has reason to believe is a very bad man indeed. Abby and Hoyt soon find themselves precariously aligned, both seeking to uncover the truth about the identity of Abby’s husband’s killer, and vow to save Independence – a frontier boomtown where nothing is what it seems.
We discussed what made Walker Independence stand out to them, their individual characters, how it adds to the world of Walker, dream storylines, and more. Keep reading for everything they shared with me!
What made the project stand out to you?
Katherine McNamara: I think what made it stand out to me is that it’s a Western that tries to refresh and reinvent what a Western is. We take the term independence very interestingly, and it comes with its pros and cons, but it’s about this woman who comes into the West and has a clean slate but is surrounded by people who are willing to be there and they survive together.
Matt Barr: I think it was sort of our… I guess the music video version of a Western, but it feels fresh. We got some modern music and the characters feel fresh and very, very current, and the dynamics are all relatable. I’m excited for a new generation to meet Westerns. It’s a fun sandbox.
McNamara: It’s a very magical world.
You led me into my next question perfectly, because I am a such fan of the different dynamics and relationships. Do you have a personal favorite that you’re most excited for fans to see?
McNamara: I don’t think I have a favorite because all of the characters are so rich. I have no idea where it’s gonna go, we have so much opportunity with all of the different intersections of people.
Barr: I’m excited about ours, Abby and Hoyt’s, because we’re just from different worlds, two different people. It’s like gonna be the whole Romancing the Stone thing, you know? City girl, kind of country boy, but it’d be fun to see us kind of come together too.
McNamara: Very strait-laced, very wild and then it’s…
Barr: I could use a little of this, you can maybe use a little of this.
McNamara: Yeah, they complement each other very well, but they butt heads a lot.
What has it been like to see the fan excitement for Walker Independence?
McNamara: It’s been really wonderful. Today we’re just now starting to see photos go out and people are really excited, I think.
Barr: Yeah, they are. It’s fun to see all the people that are loyal to Walker, to kind of hear them wanting to come check out this new world of Walker.
McNamara: It’s a family and I think people are gonna like it.
Walker is so big, what do you think that this show is going to add to that world?
McNamara: I think there are so many things that people expect from Westerns and we give you a bit of that with the expansiveness, the feel, and the nostalgia, but we also give you a lot of what you wouldn’t expect. I think that’s what people are going to really enjoy.
Barr: You know how Walker is set in Austin? I think of our show as like, here’s how Austin was built, here’s how the Texas Rangers were born. This is the beginning.
McNamara: This is the OG story of how the Walkers came to be and I think it’s gonna be an exciting history to tell.
Are there any dream storylines that you would like to eventually see with your characters?
McNamara: I think the biggest thing is I can’t wait to see the West affects Abby because she is very educated, very straight-laced, very driven to what she wants, but the West is never straightforward. I’m curious to see how her strength and flaws combine as she has to negotiate that world.
Barr: Good question. I want Hoyt to have like a little son or daughter that’s a mini Hoyt that he has to teach how to be a little mini gunslinger. It would be cute if it was a little daughter and she’s got a little hat on, her boots and he’s teaching her how she can walk into any bar and like con the guys out of their cards or something.
McNamara: We’ll get Hoyt a little tumbleweed eventually.
Barr: Yeah, a little mini Hoyt!