Jared Padalecki on the ‘Walker’ Finale and ‘Supernatural’
This interview contains spoilers for Thursday’s season finale of “Walker”.
More than a year after his wife was murdered on the US-Mexico border, Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki) returned to the crime scene with his family and the man responsible for pulling the final trigger: Stan Morrison (Jeffrey Nordling), Friend of the Walker family, chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety and newly elected district attorney.
The twist was a secret Padalecki – who is the star and executive producer of “Walker,” a modern reboot of the hit 1990s series that featured Chuck Norris as a kicking Texas Ranger – had kept since production. on the show started last fall.
“The big difficulty for me has been having to lie to my friends, family and fellow cast and crew,” Padalecki said in a recent interview. “I didn’t feel good about it, but I’m learning to put that line between friend and fellow actor.”
Thursday’s season finale revealed the events leading up to the death of Emily Walker (played by Genevieve Padalecki, Jared’s real wife). Emily was dropping water for migrants one night when, in case she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, she heard a truck hit a pothole and found a group of people smuggling drugs smuggled through a secondary road. While Cali (Katrina Begin) hurt Emily, it was Stan who, fearing the wrath of a powerful crime syndicate known as the Northside Nation, dealt the killing blow. Stan and Cali paid off a dying man named Carlos Mendoza (Joe Perez), who agreed to confess to the crime only two days after the fact – only to be exonerated by Cordell’s diligent search for the truth.
In a phone interview from his home in Austin, Texas, Jared Padalecki spoke about the pivotal confession scene in the finale, the development of his Cordell Walker, the impact of his 15-year career as Sam Winchester on “Supernatural” and the brief online fallout of his reaction to the upcoming prequel to this fantasy drama. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
What do you think motivated Cordell to force Stan to confess his crimes in front of the entire Walker family?
Season 1 saw Cordell Walker still reeling from murdering his wife and trying to have a happy face and a professional face, but really going through a lot of turmoil behind the scenes. I think he realized that the only way to refrain from killing Stan was to have him confess. As a lawyer and president of the DPS, Stan knew all the loopholes and all the solutions. Walker must have fixed his eyes on a goal, so what was on my mind [as an actor] at the end of [Episode] 17 and all of 18 is i just gotta get this guy to tell the truth and agree to tell the truth in public.
In fact, I added this line the day I said, “Tell my family what happened.” Then, at that moment, it occurred to me to say, “Say Emily’s family.” [Nordling] did such a powerful job in this last scene of drawing the line between someone who is ashamed but finally just ready to release the proverbial exhaust valve out of all the pressure that has built up for him.
How does finally finding out the truth about his wife’s death help Cordell move forward?
He just needed to breathe out, and he’s in a better place now. Now he realizes that he has to be there for his children, for his parents, for his brother, for his work partners and for himself. We’ll see in Season 2 that Walker has found some degree of closure.
What influence have all the stories of families separated on the US-Mexico border had on this series?
I was reading an op-ed from a law enforcement officer in Texas on how they were bound by duty and how they were to obey the law, but they just couldn’t bring themselves to bring a 3 year old child. years in a cage. People talk all the time about how a coin has two sides. But in reality, a coin has three sides: there is the face, the face and the edge. So we wanted to find that edge, that gray area, and really lean into someone who takes their job very seriously, who risked their life to make other people’s lives safer, but also still has a deep moral code. .
We developed the show before the pandemic and things came to a head between our communities and our law enforcement agencies in different parts of the country. And America doesn’t really have a big appetite right now for tall, white, straight, law enforcement officers punching minorities in the face – and neither do we, so that has lined up. [Laughs.] We’re more interested in those stories of a parent or a human being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
How did you start Sam Winchester’s transformation into Cordell Walker last year during the pandemic?
We had already developed “Walker”, so I was able to spend some time looking into who this character might be. And at the time, I think [the showrunner] Anne [Fricke] and the tape had already broken five or six floors. I used this time selfishly to really try to develop Cordell Walker even more, because I knew that getting the phone call to go back to Vancouver and finish “Supernatural” would come in the blink of an eye.
I did 327 episodes of this show, and that’s basically 2,500 full days of filming and every day between prepping and trying to figure out who Sam is, so it wasn’t hard to get back to Sam. Frankly, knowing the last few episodes of “Supernatural,” I didn’t really want to live like Sam every day because they were so sad. [Laughs.]
Do you still feel mourning the end of “Supernatural”? How has this show changed your life?
We, the people who have worked and watched “Supernatural,” have all been blessed with this time to prepare for a loss. And finally, the loss was still tragic and dramatic. But in another sense, “Supernatural” never really died. I’m still talking to [Jensen] Ackles, Misha [Collins], and the rest of the gang. I did “Supernatural” from 22 to 38, and I will never deny that my time and experiences on this show is certainly part of who I am now. It’s still a part of me. I could shoot a scene as Sam Winchester right now because he lives in me, and I’m sure he always will.
I’m sitting in my office right now, and behind me is my newest brand of ribbon. On the last day of filming, when we shot on this bridge, which was the last shot in the series, we had our tape marks. My dear friend [the actor and stunt man] Jason Cecchini picked up the latest ribbon brands – my red ribbon brand and Jensen’s blue ribbon brand. He put them on a call sheet and framed them, and as we all said goodbye to each other, he handed them to us. I have so many reminders. The mother of my kids is someone I met on the season 4 show, and now we have three kids! It sounds like a cop, but because I’ve thought about it so much, I can’t even begin to explain how much it has changed me.
In June, you posted on Twitter that you were “eviscerated” to learn that your former co-star Jensen Ackles and his wife, Danneel, were working on a “Supernatural” prequel without your knowledge. What exactly happened that night?
I hadn’t heard of it, and then he and I discussed [the next morning]. He just kind of explained, “Dude, that ain’t picked up yet. It’s not even written yet. He knows and I know how much “Supernatural” means to both of us, and it wasn’t a secret he was trying to keep, necessarily. It was just something he didn’t really feel existed yet. But he said, “Hey, I’ll tell you what’s going on.”
I love Jensen deeply. He’s my brother – he has been for many years, and always will be, no matter what. He’s spent more time with me on camera than anyone likely ever will, so he knows my strengths and weaknesses better than I do, and vice versa. I respect his opinion.
It was just one of those things that because it was online, and people thought I was a part of it, I really just wanted to say, “Hey, I’m not hiding a secret from you. I just don’t know about it. And I should be old enough to know better than to post something and expect people to understand. It’s hard to tweet a specific tone. If you write it online, it’s like, “Oh he doesn’t know! They are going to kill each other! It’s the end of the world! “And I’m like” No, no, no. ” [Laughs.] I try to avoid social media as much as possible because of this.
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