Jared Padalecki Teases a Dark Future for the ‘Walker’ Boys: ‘It Gets Real Bad’

Jared Padalecki in 'Walker'
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Walker‘s Season 3 premiere, “The World on a String.” So if you haven’t watched yet, we’re gonna send Abilene over to your place to straighten you out.]

There is no way we could start a new season of Walker without talking to Jared Padalecki first. Especially when there is so much to discuss, between Cordi’s kidnapping, Emily (Genevieve Padalecki) making a ghostly return, and Liam (Keegan Allen) getting dragged—literally—into his brother’s mess. So without further ado, here is the man himself to shed some light on what we just saw and what is coming down the bend, should his captors break him.

Damn, son. Even when you are basically sitting in a cell in captivity, Walker has it harder than the rest of us!

Jared Padalecki: I know, I know! What in the world? Who thought this was a good idea?! [Laughs]

How was it filming those scenes? Because for the most part, it’s just you and Gen…and this is not glamorous at all.

It is not glamorous. And it also wasn’t super comfortable. In the clothes I was wearing, since I’m in shorts and my running gear, you can’t put any pads on. So if you’re banging around on the ground or into the cell bars, it’s just you. And I’m getting old. I’m 40 now, so now everything hurts a little bit more for a little bit longer. [Laughs]

Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker 'World on a String'

The CW

Yeah, you might want to quit with the running and maybe just get yourself an elliptical.

[Laughs] I think you’re right. Yeah. I’m actually going to borrow your suggestions there. I promise. I’ll send the receipt to prove it.

Now, it’s interesting the way we kind of see what your captors want out of you and this interrogation situation seems very Black-Ops.

Yeah. We find out, needless to say, that Walker has a target on him…always will and always does. You know, he’s the Ranger that makes the news. And if you were to purely just look at his file, you might think like, “Hey, he doesn’t really play by the rules. Maybe he’s anti ‘the rules,’ as well!” Even though viewers and the Walker family know that that’s just kinda who Walker is: He very much believes in what he’s doing for a living. So yeah a lot of Black-Ops stuff that we continue to find out more about as the season progresses.

So they really are looking to radicalize you in some way?

That’s what they state their goal is. They’re claiming to want something, but in true Black-Ops form, I think we might be concerned that they actually want something else and they’re just going about it in kind of a novel way. They certainly figure that Walker has done training to deal with stuff like this if the situation ever arises and so, they’re playing chess. They certainly would love to break Walker and remake him in their likeness. But if they’re unable to, then they have options, B, C, D, E, so on and so forth.

ared Padalecki as Cordell Walker in. Season 3 premiere

Rebecca Brenneman/The CW

And if Option B is bringing in Liam, one can only imagine what is after that.

Correct. That’s where it really changes things. I think Walker assumes once he’s been kidnapped that you know, it’s gonna be all-hands to find him and find why he’s missing. And you know, he very much believes in his partner and teammates, that they’ll get him, He’s obviously concerned about missing his daughter’s graduation and not being there for the family and missing these big moments that he’s committed to ever since he came back from being undercover, but he knows that he’s tough and has got thick skin and can get through this. It’s when they kidnap his brother, who certainly has not had the training to deal with that kind of stuff, that’s when everything changes.

How bad does it get for the two of you? Because I’m assuming that they want you to see Liam being tortured.

Oh, it gets, it gets real bad. It gets to the point where Walker knows he has to do something and obviously he doesn’t have a lot at his disposal. He’s caged up and unable to really move around. He doesn’t have any weapons. And they always bring in multiple guys to make sure that they’re compliant, right? It gets so bad that Walker knows he’s got to do something.

They’ve been playing with a lot about the white hat theme. It’s a big part of the marketing art and we see one in this episode…so are we gonna see Walker being forced into “black hat” territory? Having to do some illegal stuff to keep the rest of his family safe going forward?

Yeah. Going forward, he’s having to toe that line that we love playing with in the writer’s room and as producers. That space where he doesn’t want to break the law outright and obviously he’s got a lot of eyes on him right now, not just with [his kidnappers] but within the Texas Rangers organization as well. And so he’s going to have to do a lot of soul searching and find out just how far he’s willing to go without compromising the people he cares about, while also not compromising his job.

I’m loving the fact that Emily is now like his true north that comes to him in times of need.

Yeah. She was always his rock. And so to some extent, he’s kind of been a ship at sea without a sail ever since he lost her. And so in these especially desperate times, I think if Walker could summon her whenever he wanted, then she’d be there the entire time. [Laughs] But she shows up in times when he really, really needs her, when he needs the person he loves and respects the most to bounce ideas off. Emily is to Cordi as Gen is to me.

Walker - Mitch Pileggi + Jeff Pierre + Keegan Allen + Ashley Reyes

Ryan Green/The CW

And how was it getting to those super emotional scenes together again? Saying “Don’t leave me” to the woman you would say the same thing to in real life?

You know what’s funny is that line specifically was not scripted, but it’s what Sam says to Dean in the Supernatural series finale. The exact same words. So I was like, “Hey, I wanna do something here.”

Amazing. And so while you’re locked up in hellacious conditions, everyone else is at the Walker Ranch, getting to play with each other in these big brightly lit scenes. Did you miss getting to be with the rest of your cast?

Yeah! It’s like, they’re having fun, don’t mind me! I’m still over here getting tortured and y’all go joke around on set and have on-stage air conditioning. I’ll just be over here getting the waterboarded. [Laughs] They knew that Walker was not gonna miss Stella’s graduation, come hell or high water. So if he’s not there, something bad has happened.

I also need to point out that fantastic scene between Augie (Kale Culley) and Stella (Violet Brinson) that so mirrors the Walker-Liam relationship.

Oh, it’s brilliant. And we play with that a lot throughout the rest of the season. And it’s really funny because Kale, you know, he’s 17, he’s gonna be 18 in May, and is very much going through what Augie is going through. And so our writers are amazing at understanding who each person is, not just as [a] character, but as a human. And so Kale is gonna be an adult in a couple of months and he’s going through this little bit of “What do I do? What’s the best way?” as, you know, we all do. And that doesn’t just stop at 18. I’m 40 and I’m still trying to figure it all out. [Laughs]

I’m ready for like Trey (Jeff Pierre), Cordi, and Cassie (Ashley Reyes) to start working together on cases.

I know, right?!

There is such potential for a Three Musketeers situation with Captain James (Coby Bell) above all of you and in on it.

Well, well, not to say too much, but I think you might get what you want.

Sweet. Now…for Cordi’s flashbacks, we’re going to see somebody else playing you in the younger military version, right?

Yep. It’s awesome. We have a surprise in store that was a fun…I don’t know what they call it. A casting process, a fun thought exercise? It’s gonna be a great Easter egg but also, it was fun before we even got into casting to go like, “What to do?” You know, I’ve worked with hundreds or thousands of actors on Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, and Walker. And so I was like, “Okay, well who do we know? Who do I trust? And who can pull it off?” And so we have an awesome Easter egg in store.

Jared Padalecki as Cordell Walker in 'Walker' Key Art

Brian Bowen Smith/The CW

Walker, Thursdays, 8/7c, The CW.