Jared Padalecki previews Walker season 2: 'We hit the ground running'
In the first season of Walker, Jared Padalecki's titular Texas Ranger didn't stop until he got answers about the death of his wife, Emily (Genevieve Padalecki). But naturally, those answers came with their own set of questions as the season ended with a twist: Someone is keeping a very close eye on Cordell and the rest of the Walker family. And then there's the question of who shot Stan Morrison (Jeffrey Nordling) and Walker.
Heading into season 2, EW spoke with star and executive producer Padalecki about what comes next.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In the season 1 finale, Walker finally got some answers about Emily's death. Has that given him a sense of peace heading into season 2?
JARED PADALECKI: Yes, Walker certainly enters season 2 with a greater degree of peace than he entered into season 1. He's still a Ranger and he still has some questions and he was shot at, but conversely, Micki [Lindsey Morgan] has kind of taken the mantle for starting the season in a complicated headspace. The peace that Walker has found, even if it's brief, was taken from Micki and given to Walker because now she's undercover. We pick up in season 2 with Micki having been undercover for about three months trying to figure out who shot Stan Morrison and Walker, and Walker is not privy to all the facts. Until he ultimately does find out and he becomes equally worried about Micki having gone through what he went through in season 1, having been undercover and coming back to normal life.
What can you tell us about the Davidsons and how they factor into things?
When Walker grew up, the ranch next door was owned by the Davidsons and the Davidsons and Walkers had a long-storied feud almost a la Hatfields and McCoys. In season 2, the Davidsons find their way back into Austin onto that same ranch. And on that ranch, there was a tragedy that happened when Walker was about 13 or 14, and it was such a tragic event that it actually sent the Davidsons away for about 25 or 30 years. So Walker runs into them again when he realizes that the job of district attorney that Liam [Keegan Allen] was fighting for has actually been filled, temporarily at least, by Denise Davidson, who was Walker's childhood friend. Walker had a little crush on Denise and then she goes away, starts a family, and then she comes back, and not only are they back next door to the Walkers, but Denise is now the DA that we're working with.
We obviously had the kiss with Geri [Odette Annable] last year, but now that Walker knows the truth about Emily's death, is he ready to move on romantically?
He's still not moving on romantically just yet. Cordell Walker still wears his wedding ring. Emily is his wife, as far as he's concerned, and will be forever the mother of his kids. With Geri and Walker and what we touched on in season 1, their relationship is complicated because they were friends for so long. They cared about each other as friends and then they obviously found comfort beside each other after Emily's death. There's some romantic attraction there but Geri and Walker both feel like, are we dishonoring Emily if we give this a shot? And even worse, are we going to ruin our friendship? I think with Cordell and Geri, though it's unspoken, they both feel like this isn't something to casually dip our toes into. They don't want to do Emily a disservice and they don't want to do their friendship a disservice.
So Geri and Walker do both start to dip their toes in the waters outside of each other, and we see Geri and Cordell kind of going like, "Live your life, be happy, uh what were you doing with that girl at dinner?" [Laughs] I think they're gradually realizing and accepting how much they do mean to each other, and we'll see as the season progresses what they're thinking as far as: Do I want to risk letting this person get away, or is the best thing I can do just be this person's friend for all of time?
Currently the audience knows the Walkers are being watched, but they don't. Does it stay that way for long, or do they find out relatively quickly in season 2?
It does not stay that way for very long. We don't get answers in the premiere, but we get answers quickly, and then the question becomes: Who set it up? Why did they set it up? The questions remain about why it was there, who set it up, and what were they using it for, but the Walker family does find out that someone might have eyes on them.
The first season of any show involves a lot of world building, and season 2 feels like when you can really delve into certain aspects of a series. Does season 2 feel different for you in that way?
One hundred percent. Not just story-wise; the best way I can put it is the premiere of season 2 doesn't feel like season 2, episode 1, it feels like Walker episode 19. I remember from Supernatural, it started happening more and more as the 15 years went on where we'd have a three-month hiatus and we'd get back to shoot the season premiere and we'd all look at each other and be like, "Did we actually have three months off? Can anybody name anything they did in the last three months?" You carry on. So much of the first season of a television show, especially the pilot, is just introducing the audience to the characters. You have so much explanation. Now we know who the characters are. We're beyond that. We hit the ground running, and we're almost done filming episode 5 and we are already deep into the season arc.
Now that you've been in this for a while, is being an executive producer on a project like this what you expected?
Yeah. Ever since Jensen [Ackles] directed his first episode on Supernatural, people were like, "Are you going to direct?" And I was like, "I don't want to direct, I want to produce." That's kind of the way my brain works. I would rather put together the Legos than have the finished piece. I read instruction booklets. I love the engineering, puzzle aspect of it. I'd rather try and figure out the answer than know the answer. I say this without a hint of irony: I can't wait to never be on camera again. I hope to be able to continue to EP and develop stories and shows and movies and whatever because that part to me is so exciting, even when it's stressful. Acting, I've done it for, this is my 22nd year in the business, and I enjoy it, I enjoy being around people and telling stories. But I always said I don't consider myself an actor as much as a storyteller. I'm trying to tell a story, whatever that means. Being an EP, I feel like I'm allowed to have a heavier hand in the overall macro storytelling elements, which is really exciting.
Walker returns Thursday, Oct. 28, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.