walker the cw pilot jared padalecki

Spoilers ahead for the series premiere of Walker on The CW

Jared Padalecki returned to The CW after a surprisingly brief break following the end of Supernatural, as the star of the network's new reboot of Walker, Texas Ranger. Comparisons of Walker and Sam Winchester were as inevitable now as comparisons between Padalecki's Gilmore Girls character and Sam were back in the early days of Supernatural, but I find myself wondering if Walker made a mistake in casting multiple Supernatural actors and inviting even more comparisons.

Walker added two former Supernatural actors on top of Jared Padalecki, with his real-life wife Genevieve Padalecki playing Walker's deceased wife and Mitch Pileggi on board as Walker's dad. Genevieve Padalecki of course played the demon Ruby on Supernatural, with Pileggi playing Sam's grandfather.

Walker casting them isn't nearly as distracting as it would be if Jensen Ackles or Misha Collins suddenly turned up on the new show, but Walker adding these Supernatural stars had me thinking about Supernatural during the series premiere when I should have been thinking about Walker, his family, Micki, everything that was setting up what could be The CW's next hit.

Supernatural ended its 15-season run just two months ago, so it's not like the show has been out of sight and out of mind for long. It doesn't really help that Genevieve Padalecki is playing Jared Padalecki's love interest on Walker, when she filled the same role in a twisted sort of way on Supernatural. The same is true of Mitch Pileggi, even if he did play grandfather rather than father to Padalecki's Sam on Supernatural.

Walker starting with Supernatural cast members on top of Jared Padalecki also makes me wonder what other Supernatural veterans could appear on the new show, and that's not what I should be considering at this point. Of course, considering how long Supernatural was on the air, we shouldn't rule out other actors turning up just because of the sheer number of people who appeared on Padalecki's previous show.

In fact, even Supernatural recycled some of its own actors to play different roles. That said, Walker films in Jared Padalecki's native Texas rather than Vancouver where Padalecki spent a decade and a half filming Supernatural, so the pool of actors should be different. And probably fewer chases through dense green forests, and definitely fewer demons!

None of this is to say that Walker doesn't work just because it added a couple of Supernatural actors to join the former top-billed Supernatural star. The CW is no stranger to recycling stars, with Padalecki now on his third major CW show, and Jensen Ackles appeared in three as well. Katie Cassidy (who played Supernatural's Ruby 1.0) was four CW series in before she landed the role of Laurel Lance on Arrow, and Walker leading lady Lindsey Morgan is fresh off her seven-season run on The 100.

Recycling actors works for the network, and surrounding Jared Padalecki with a couple of other Supernatural stars might not be distracting in the long run. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to be reminded of Supernatural. We can find out with new episodes of Walker airing on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. If this put you in the mood for for some Supernatural, you can find all 15 seasons streaming on Netflix now. For more of what to watch and when to watch it, check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.

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