Why Fans Love ‘Walker: Independence’ and What it Means to Them

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Richard Foreman/The CW

The CW’s Walker: Independence may only be halfway through its first season, but it’s taken up significant space in fans’ hearts. With a stellar crew and a spectacular cast, it was easy to fall in love with this western story.

From the team of The CW’s Walker, Seamus Kevin Fahey, and Anna Fricke, and executive produced by Walker and Supernatural star Jared Padalecki, this Walker prequel is set in the 1800s and follows Abigail Walker (Katherine McNamara) — the ancestor of Padalecki’s character on Walker — and her time in the town of Independence. There, she runs into people from the town like Hoyt (Matt Barr), Calian (Justin Johnson Cortez), Kate (Katie Findlay), Kai (Lawrence Kao), Augustus (Philemon Chambers), and the town’s bad guy/sheriff Tom (Greg Hovanessian).

Larry Teng (Nancy Drew, NCIS: Hawai’i) executive produces the show and directed the first three episodes, really setting the tone and visually helping to create a world that’s so painstakingly beautiful.

In this show, they tackle issues that so many westerns have either grazed over or decided to not tell at all. The cast is diverse and inclusive, and the writing gives each character and actor their own time to shine. They don’t shy away from the hard parts; like using the authentic language of the characters, and it really is so lovely to see. It’s a show that pulls at your heartstrings, has you laughing at times, but is also really in tune and has you crying at times, too.

It’s no wonder that this show is a hit, becoming one of The CW’s top shows this year. While we’re waiting to hear about a renewal, we’ve asked fans why they love Walker: Independence, and what it means to them.

Anna Kooris/The CW

Lori — I love WIndy’s ability to give characters depth. There are no stereotypes. The characters encompass the human experience where no one is either all good or all bad. Regardless of the time period, people, and their motivations, have always been complex and I love to see that portrayed! In addition to the writing, everything else from the acting to the production exemplifies the care and passion shared by everyone involved. I also love the fandom engagement from the actors and producers who’ve invited the fans into the WIndy family with open arms so that WIndy’s success is everyone’s success.

Laura — I love this talented, gorgeous cast! I can’t pick a favorite actor or character. Each episode I’ll decide on a new favorite. It’s truly an ensemble. Each character has the opportunity for compelling storylines and I leave every episode wanting more!

GC I love Walker: Independence because it is beautifully shot, well-researched, and embraces Western tropes while still subverting expectations. Every episode is a rollercoaster with dialogue that’s delivered in ways that bring a laugh out or a gut punch. The fact that no character is left behind in this ensemble means that there are fresh dynamics to play with every time. It’s a truly lovely little nugget of a show.

Holly I love the time period that they use. The wardrobe, the sets … it just transports you into a time you wish you shared.

PaigeI love Walker: Independence because of its diversity both on and off camera. It has taught me so much and made me really think about things. I believe it’s very important to have a show like this, especially during these times when so many people are deliberately trying to misconstrue history. I can’t thank the cast and crew enough for all their hard work and dedication to make this show what it is.

Anna Kooris/The CW

AnneMarieI love the storytelling which is complex and inclusive. I love the characters because they’re three-dimensional whole people with faults, failings, strengths, and superpowers. I love the dynamics and how real they seem.

Jo — I love the genealogy aspect of Independence because I’m hooked on the modern-era family. It would be VERY cool to take time and trace all of their roots to these founders. But I also love, love, love that they started with a mission to recognize the marginalized voices of that locale and era. It’s very authentic and also a breath of fresh air in Westerns, overall. Finally, purely from a IRL perspective, I love this cast and crew. They are hard-working, funny, engaging … and truly deserve all the best in life.

JulieWhat’s not to love? I love the historical aspect of the show. The show is stunning visually. The costumes, the sets, the locales, all of it is gorgeous. I love the in-depth stories that the characters have and the character development for everyone. The way they have worked representation of the people who were in Texas at that time into the show is phenomenal. I love the Native American perspective and that the show makes such an effort to be authentic. Calian’s struggle to live in both worlds is heart-wrenching. I love that Kate is an undercover Pinkerton and that Kai has a history, and although he seems like the mild-mannered laundry guy he also has a past where he had to be able to protect himself.

Casey — There’s a lot to love about it. The actors have great chemistry, the plots are fun, and the show is dedicated to diverse voices in front of and behind the camera & telling stories about a wild west that wasn’t just white. Plus, we can never have too much Mark Sheppard on TV.

V — I really love the setting, a town on the cusp of great change, the tense backdrop of the railroads being built, the sense of growing connectivity, opportunity, and also danger, and I think it feels relatable to my generation who grew up in the “wild west” era of the internet. I love that many of the characters’ personal dramas, secrets, and backstories are inextricably tied to the historical period in a way that makes me want to learn more about the history, and yet they still feel applicable today. I love that everyone has their secrets and everyone is putting up some kind of front, and it’s interesting to see everyone’s facades and hints of their real selves clash in different ways. JJC, Katie Findlay, and Philemon Chambers in particular are wonderful and I hope to see more of them. I’m especially excited about the potential to explore genderqueerness in this historical setting (as hinted at in Pax Romana), and the notion of choosing to be the “lesser evil” (Strange Bedfellows).

Richard Foreman, Jr. /The CW

Mihaela I’ll always be grateful to Jared, Seamus & Anna for the expansion of the #WalkerVerse, and ever since I saw Larry using the #WIndyWay the first time I felt such a special connection with the series, it felt like creed and something just for us, so grateful to everyone involved for giving us the different western we’ve been waiting for so long, where brilliant writers are capable of breaking clichés & are not afraid to write truly and honestly. Not only every episode is filled with brilliant twists, funny moments, forming of strong alliances and having each other’s back and I feel a deep connection with every character — I laugh, cry, desire and feel everyone’s pain — but also Independence already feels like home and I don’t want to ever leave, as there are so many stories I’d like to hear and live with. I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to every single member of cast & crew for all the efforts, commitment, and hard work – here’s to many more years, let’s ride … the #WIndiWay ❤

So The unparalleled acting, the storytelling, the beautiful visuals, the representation. The fact [that] it’s not just your typical western but a new interpretation of the genre. It means so much to me because it’s one of the only westerns I like since the genre isn’t really my thing. Also, because its cast is so very wonderful.

MarleneI love seeing the diversity and how every character has their own storyline. Love the cast and crew. I am glad that they took us on this wonderful journey and can’t wait for more.

Sophie WIndy won me over on day one. I instantly fell in love with the cast and characters. I can’t even pick a favorite! The cinematography is amazing, the characters are interesting and the plot is really engaging. The show does a good job of peeling off layers every episode. And I love the representation.

Gin — Walker: Independence is a beautiful, fresh take on a period drama that offers diverse, intriguing characters with plot lines that keep me captivated and always wanting more. The writing and direction have been wonderful thus far. It has an amazing cast delivering a mix of drama, grit, and humor each week that brings these characters to life and makes us root for them. It’s easily one of my favorite shows.

KirstenNot only does it give me an escape on Thursday nights, but it also gave me a world to see characters grow, make mistakes, build relationships, and show the humanity in people, especially back in the late 1800s.

SherriI have rarely fallen so deeply in love with characters as I have with this show, each character is wonderfully written and the actors are amazing in their roles and it is hard to pick a favorite or a favorite pairing. This show is literally ship all the ships. We were truly blessed with the perfect casting choices. There are moments in the show that hit so hard like Calian’s speech at his trial, that stays with me. Kate’s brief romance with Charlotte worked perfectly into the episode it didn’t feel forced or come out of nowhere … there was chemistry in their scenes together. I love learning about the characters’ past and how they came to Independence and how friendships like Calian and Augustus were formed and the secrets sweet Kai was hiding. They feel like family.

PranjiliI love it because the story keeps me on my toes. Each character is defined and evolving as we get to see more. Absolutely love this cast!

JuliaIntricate story with diverse characters EACH of whom is critical to the overall arc and not just playing a “decorative” role. Beautifully shot visuals that enhance the presentation and allow you to get “lost” in that era. A great mix of drama and humor that keeps you engaged. I like being able to watch the show with my husband and teenage daughter. It’s family viewing at its best.

DollyI want to say something profound — like it’s the cinematography, the cultural sensitivity, the attention to detail, the use of original languages rather than all English … But if I’m honest … it’s Matt Barr and after I started watching, also Justin Johnson Cortez. I’m shallow I know but the heart wants what the heart wants :o).

Make sure to watch Walker: Independence on Thursday nights at 9/8c on The CW. Catch up with episodes on The CW app. You can read all of our coverage of the show, here.

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By Briar
Briar is the Editor-in-Chief of Nerds and Beyond. She has been running the site since 2015 with the goal of being a unique, professional news site dedicated to all the things she loved - and providing fans with the best content available. Briar oversees the day-to-day operations and runs all of the social media. She loves all things Disney, Star Wars, Supernatural and anything tech related. You can follow her @thebriarroseee.
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