tvinsider – 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 Collins‘ Gotham 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
the nerds of color – 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. 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!
Euphoriazine – Of her character in the upcoming Hallmark film Love, Classified (out April 21), Katherine McNamara says, “Taylor and I share one main quality, above all else, we are both workaholics.” No kidding. McNamara has been working since she was 13 years old. She had a lead role in two hit television shows — Mia Smoak on Arrow and Clary Fray on Shadowhunters. Since both of those shows ended in 2019 and 2020, respectively, McNamara has been in the Stephen King miniseries The Stand, as well as several horror films, plus she has a couple new projects on the horizon. McNamara’s Instagram bio describes her as a professional chameleon and with the amount of entirely diverse characters she has played, it’s a title she has earned.
Her most imminent project, Love, Classified, tells the story of a romance novelist and mother (played by Melora Hardin) who returns home from a book tour, hopeful to become closer to her children. Meanwhile her son, Zach (Max Lloyd-Jones), and daughter, Taylor, (McNamara) become involved in a new dating app that offers a fresh perspective on love and life in general. It’s a pretty significant departure from her time cage fighting, battling demons, and shooting down foes in a warehouse, but the role seems a natural choice for McNamara, who is happy to talk about love in all of its forms. “The great thing about Love, Classified is that it does what Schitt’s Creek did in a beautiful way, like Schitt’s Creek said it so perfectly — it’s about loving the wine, not the label,” she tells EUPHORIA. “It is not the labels that are important, it’s not about anything other than having an honest, authentic connection to another human being.” That authenticity is something she brings to all of her roles and possibly what has made her so popular in the darker worlds she has existed in. Even when she is kicking ass, bloody and beaten, McNamara’s characters are consistently human and relatable. So even when she slips easily into the skin of a character in the 1800s — like in her upcoming TV series Walker: Independence — plays the daughter of a superhero —like when she was Mia Smoak on Arrow — or portrays the daughter of a romance novelist in Love, Classified, there is always that spark of vulnerability that is 100% McNamara. Maybe that’s what makes her so in demand no matter the genre.
If there is a genre that most would associate with McNamara, it’s fantasy. She became a fixture in the public eye through Shadowhunters on Freeform, which was a television adaptation of an already popular book series called The Mortal Instruments. After a failed film adaptation, the stakes were high for the show. It helps that McNamara took the role just as seriously as any fan — because she was a fan too. “I grew up loving those books and those films and the mythology of the world in the sense of an escape,” she shares. “It had always been a dream of mine to put on a superset or play someone with magical abilities. It’s just fun being in the forest and sword fighting. You feel like you are 6 years old again and that’s why I love the life I live, because I get to do so many different things.” That enthusiasm ended up serving her well. Shadowhunters has the kind of following that hasn’t died down even three years after the show’s end. While some critics called the film a disappointment, largely because of the awkward lack of chemistry within the cast, Shadowhunters was filled with believable people in believable relationships who just happened to be dealing with unbelievable situations.
LOVE, CLASSIFIED’s Melora Hardin & Katherine McNamara talk their characters’ motivations, representation, love, and more.
Kat McNamara stars in Hallmark Channel’s upcoming movie LOVE CLASSIFIED. She also just booked a huge role in the upcoming CW series WALKER: INDEPENDENCE. How incredible!
Kat has done her first magazine cover of the year with 71 magazine – march-april 2022. We got a amazing photoshoot and new interview with Kat. You can find the digital scans and photoshoot in the gallery now.
Katherine McNamara | Life is Short | Justin Long :
Katherine McNamara (The Stand, Arrow) talks to Justin about her love of economics (she graduated high school at 14 years old!), the time she was Elaine Stritch’s guest on the set of 30 Rock and the volunteer work she does for anti-bullying.