Exclusive: CW star Kat McNamara on the 'dark side' of new show Walker Independence

Actress Kat McNamara has revealed new show Walker Independence is "more dangerous" than Jared Padalecki's Walker.

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This is very much a women-focused CW show with dramatic music, marginalized voices getting center stage, and a love triangle.

WATCH: Trailer for Walker: Independence 

Set in the late 1800s, Walker Independence is an origin story of The CW series Walker, itself a reboot of Texas Walker Ranger. It follows Abby Walker, an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West.

When Abby finally arrives in the town of Independence, where her husband was set to be Sheriff, she encounters diverse residents who all have their own secrets. But who killed her husband - and why?

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As Abby finds herself aligned with con artist Hoyt Rollins and Calian, an Apache tribesman, they seek to get justice, however that looks.

Kat is currently still shooting the first season on location in New Mexico but spoke to HELLO! about her character choices, the dark side of Independence and how the new show is more "dangerous" than Jared Padalecki's Walker...


What was it about this story that drew you in?

Kat: It is a genre that so many people have nostalgia for and love but somehow we are finding a way to tell a story with fresh eyes, and shed some light and perspectives that in this genre we haven't seen.

What did you love about Abigail?

Kat: I am always drawn to characters who, when they are faced with challenges, rise to the occasion and that is the case for Abby.

In this story, she has watched as her entire life goes up in flames in front of her lives and now she has a choice to make - to be a victim of her circumstance or she can rise from the ashes as it were, and start her own life and gain independence.

I always want something challenging. This came across my desk and like anything else it happened to be the right place at the right time - and the right people. I am so fortunate to be a part of this project.


Kat and Matt Barr star as Abigail and Hoyt in Walker: Independence

Abby is clearly Booksmart and trusts herself but is also naive in many ways, what journey will we see her take?

Kat: We are only halfway through shooting so I still don't know too much but what I do know is that she will take this new world and use the tools she has and the people she finds and befriends to gain justice - in whatever way she sees fit.

But as we know, in the West, justice is not always black and white and she will be faced with choices and having to decide what she's willing to compromise and sacrifice to get the truth she requires.


Matt and Kat did their chemistry read over Zoom

Walker Independence very much sits in that CW stereotype with the coloring and music choices, can you talk about how much you were involved with the development of Abigail?

Kat: We were really lucky with this show. Our showrunner and director of the first three episodes had such an incredible vision from day one - Larry had paintings and images and things to draw from to build this world.

It was such a clear picture. It is not sepia toned, there is color and life, but also the danger and romance and adventure that is the West.

The first episode plays into the themes we know from Walker, of morality and justice. But how will it also differ?

Kat: Our show has more danger. Walker plays in 2022 and their world is our modern world. But the world of the West at this time is still being formed and it is very raw with real consequences and real blood sweat and tears.

All these characters are running from something, so there is a lot of mystery and a real dark side that folks will be interested to see.


The show shines a spotlight on marginalized voices

There are characters here shining a light on marginalized voices from this time - how important was this to you?

Kat: It is honestly one of my favorite things about this story that we get to shine light on an historic and accurate version of the West, a version that does give different perspectives.

One reason we all fell in love with the characters is we all fell in love with each other's work - we are fortunate to have a wonderful cast and crew and everyone came together to tell stories in a way we are extremely proud of.

It's amazing to see rich characters and how the combinations of them bring about entirely different sides and colors to these characters and makes it more interesting to discover who these people are.


The show has a 'dark side'

How did you build chemistry with Matt Barr who plays Hoyt Rollins?

Kat: Our test was on Zoom and it was two weeks before we started shooting as we were both off doing other things, so we never met until we arrived. So we were lucky!

Fortunately we were all on the same page about the show we wanted to make and the environment we wanted, and it has been a wonderful partnership.


Calian and Hoyt may form an unlikely friendship

There is also a wonderful friendship appearing between Hoyt and Calian - will that be built upon?

Kat: It is the most unlikely of friendships, the beginning of a bad joke... a widow, Apache and cowboy walk into a Western. But this unlikely trio who don't seem aligned at all will work together, and use all their unique experiences to go forth and try to dig out the truth from something that is not what it seems.

Moving forward will we see relationships between Abby and others towns people explored?

Kat: Absolutely - and that is what is so great about a rich ensemble cast. All the characters know each other, and we all have secrets but there are consequences for all actions.

So we see friendships wax and wane, and that is what our show is about - who do you trust and what is the truth even? There are a lot of twists and turns!


Katie Findlay as Kate, a confidante of Abby's

Outside of Abby's revenge story, what else will we see from this season?

Kat: In order to find the truth she has to confront not only Liam's past but her own, and why they went West in the first place. So there are the secrets and mistakes that these characters have made and that brought them to Independence and then the consequences of the future developments of the West.

There was so much happening in history during this time that affected small towns and their hopes and dreams, and it will be interesting to see how the bigger event of history plays its way through the small town.

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