After over two decades as an actor, Jared Padalecki takes on a new, behind-the-scenes role as an executive producer.
Jared Padalecki has been on TV screens for over 20 years, playing roles including Gilmore Girls’ Dean Forester and Sam Winchester on Supernatural, the longest-running genre series in the history of American broadcast television. As a follow-up to those iconic roles, Padalecki is now starring in and executive producing the new CW series Walker, stepping into the boots of the iconic titular crime-fighting Texas Ranger.
A reimagining of the original series Walker, Texas Ranger, the series centers on Cordell Walker (Padalecki), who returns home to Austin after being undercover for several months and is now reconnecting with his family while investigating crime in Texas’ elite law enforcement unit. “I was sitting in my trailer and had just read an anonymous op-ed by a law enforcement official who was working on the Texas border in the height of the immigration fiasco,” says Padalecki about the project, which was conceived in 2019. “They told a story about their family and children, then went on to describe the conditions that these immigrant families were confronted with when they made their way into the United States. … Knowing that they could lose their job, their pension, their career, they took their badge off and set it on their boss’s table. They said, ‘I’m sorry. I can’t do this.’ I read that and thought, ‘Wow—what deep moral character! What a difficult decision between a rock and a hard place!’ And I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to hear more of their story,” he shares, “the story of so many law enforcement agents that have to toe the line between their sworn duty and their own moral compass.”
What has it been like stepping into this iconic role? “Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, it felt like a rite of passage to watch the original Walker, Texas Ranger,” says Padalecki. “And we’re all familiar with the countless memes and jokes about how tough Chuck Norris is, so it’s a bit intimidating to be taking over the reins. That said, this Walker is far different from the original, and I hope I can do it justice,” he adds.
Just as his new journey begins, Padalecki is ending his 15-year journey with Supernatural, which is currently airing its final episodes with an eager fandom waiting to see how the Winchester story concludes. “Supernatural has meant so much to me,” he says. “I met my wife and one of my best friends. I made a family—with my fellow cast and crew, with our fandom and with my imaginary friend Sam Winchester. There are countless things I learned during and because of the show,” adds Padalecki. “I’m sure those lessons will continue to reveal themselves as I move forward in this life, and I intend to put them to good use on Walker.”
Photography by: By Katie Jameson