‘Walker: Independence’: Katherine McNamara & Cast Say It’s ‘Not Your Mama’s Western’

Walker Independence Cast - Justin Johnson Cortez, Katie Findlay, Katherine McNamara, Matt Barr, Lawrence Kao, Philemon Chambers
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The CW

The CW is taking on another western in Walker: Independence. A prequel to Jared Padalecki‘s Walker, this new series stars Katherine McNamara as Cordell Walker’s ancestor, Abigail Walker. Speaking at The CW upfront on May 19 in New York, McNamara told TV Insider what to expect with this new series that she and her co-stars agree is “not your mama’s western.”

For starters, the Arrowverse alum tells TV Insider “it’s great to go from playing Stephen Amell‘s daughter in the future, and then Jared Padalecki’s great-great-great-great grandma.” And like Misha CollinsGotham Knights a new CW Batman show coming this fall — Walker: Independence is “saddled with tragedy” in the first moments of the pilot.

After Abby’s husband is murdered on their journey West, she makes her way to their destination — the small town of Independence, Texas — with the help of an Apache tracker named Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez). Once there, she’s able to create a life for herself on her own. But she soon discovers her husband’s killer was the town’s sheriff, who now has the position her husband was meant to fill.

Abby sets off on a mission to avenge her husband, recruiting con artist Hoyt Rawlins (played by Matt Barr, who also played a different Hoyt Rawlins in Walker) to help her. This new Hoyt, according to Barr, is the “same DNA, same core,” but “dangerous.” And while the show will feel familiar, McNamara says viewers will quickly learn that Walker: Independence sets itself apart from the genre with a diverse cast of actors and modern storytelling.

“It’s not the western you’re expecting,” she explains. “Every character is not what they seem on the surface. It has the feel and the nostalgia of a western, but it’s a very modern story with characters that are going through real things that are so fascinating.”

Philemon Chambers (Augustus, Single All the Way) tells TV Insider Walker: Independence rewrites “narratives that have been used in westerns so often.” Their Wild West showcases the true diversity of the time period, which too often is ignored in other stories in the genre.

“The frontier, in reality, was deeply diverse and queer, and all kinds of things,” adds Katie Findlay (Kate Carver, How To Get Away With Murder). “You don’t often get to see that because history is written by white guys. It’s really nice to be in a cast that represents more of the reality of the landscape of a time where so many people were coming together and struggling to survive.”

Walker: Independence is like Bridgerton in this way, even when it comes to music choices.

“[The music] is not quite what Bridgerton does, but they make a choice a la Bridgerton that is very modern,” McNamara reveals. As Cortez adds, “it has this modern twist that’s kind of rock ‘n roll,” and Barr compares the musical choices to Baz Luhrmann and Guy Ritchie films.

“We’re a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n roll,” McNamara explains. “And it’s like Katie said, it’s ultimately a story about people coming together and surviving in the best and worst of circumstances.”

Walker: Independence, Thursdays, 9/8c, Fall 2022, The CW