It seems like we had to wait forever for Jared Padalecki's reboot of Walker Texas Ranger to air, but it's finally in the midst of its first season on the CW. Padalecki is well known for starring as Sam Winchester for 15 seasons on Supernatural, but he already seems like a natural on his new series, changing gears from hunting demons to working as a Texas Ranger. There are quite a few changes to the show compared to what fans of the Chuck Norris original might remember, but we think that it will definitely attract a new generation of viewers to appreciate Walker and his story.
Padalecki's real-life wife Genevieve plays the Texas Ranger's late wife Emily Walker in flashbacks on the new series. Gen is also a well-known actress who previously starred as Kris Furillo for four seasons on the ABC Family series Wildfire. She sat down with Wide Open Country to discuss her recurring role on the new show.
On Working With Her Husband, Jared
When it comes to working together, Genevieve Padalecki and her husband Jared are pros -- that is how they met, after all, years ago on the set of another CW series, Supernatural, where they also played love interests. When asked what it was like getting to act with her husband again on Walker, Gen joked that it was one of her favorite parts of their relationship.
On the Differences Between the Original Series and the Reboot
There are quite a few differences between the reboot and the original series, one being that Walker now has a female partner. While Clarence Gilyard's Jimmy was memorable in the original, this time around Lindsey Morgan is starring as Cordell Walker's new partner Micki Ramirez. Gen believes this was actually a notable upgrade as it's "important to be more representative and diverse" as well as "be more truthful and honest." She applauded the series for writing in more diversity and calling out some inequalities that women face in the workforce. She also celebrated Morgan for doing an "incredible job being a great balance for Walker."
Filming During the Pandemic
The series filmed during the pandemic which, of course, came with its own set of challenges.
Gen noted that having to be separated from everyone else when the cameras weren't rolling was difficult at times. But ultimately the adversity of filming during a pandemic also ended up bringing the cast and crew closer together. Among other things, the litany of group texts going during filming made it so that communication was never an issue. The special circumstances ended up turning the cast and crew into a "tight-knit family."
Filming in Austin
But one of the most special parts of the series is the fact that the new show is being filmed in Austin, Texas where Gen and Jared are raising their three children together -- Odette, Shepherd and Thomas. This was quite a change from Jared having to travel up to Canada for long stretches of time while he was filming Supernatural.
Gen explained that it's "the first time since we've been together that we've worked and lived in the same place...we've been retraining our minds."
Before Walker, they had to compartmentalize work and play but now having their hometown as the heart of the show changed everything for the family of five. Gen added that "it's been very important for our family."
We can only imagine how much better Jared must feel as well without the travel. He's been busy not only starring on the new series, but also executive producing behind the scenes. Apparently, he's even been practicing his roping skills at home!
What sets the reboot apart?
While we're all big fans of the original Chuck Norris series and all the karate skills he used to fight the bad guys, Gen explained that part of what will set this reboot apart is that it has a huge focus on family, which will be guiding Walker throughout the season. The widower will be in mourning over his late wife while also working on repairing his relationships with his children.
"The reboot is about the heart of the family and the massive wound that the family is dealing with after Emily's death," she explained. "It has a Chuck Norris bad guy of the week vibe to it but there's a much more current messaging and transparency and I feel like the heart of the show is what's going to drive the story."