Congrats, Hoyt Rawlins, you’re a daddy!
On this Thursday’s Walker (The CW, 8/7c), fittingly titled “Daddy Was a Bank Robber,” Hoyt’s loved ones discover that he had a child, and she definitely takes after her good-hearted but scoundrel-ish father. But unfortunately for Hoyt, who died back in Season 1, he never got to meet his daughter Sadie (played by High School Musical: The Musical: The Series‘ Saylor Bell). Instead, it’s his best friend Cordell and his ex-girlfriend Geri who find catharsis through Hoyt’s kid, while flashbacks reveal “the genesis of [Hoyt’s] fall from grace,” his portrayer Matt Barr previews in the following exclusive Q&A.
The actor also talks about playing Walker‘s Hoyt versus his Walker Independence ancestor Hoyt and the spinoff’s Season 2 status. Plus, watch an exclusive sneak peek above, in which Cordell struggles to find the line with his troublemaking friend.
TVLINE | How did it feel to be back on Walker, the mothership series, after some time away?
It was special because it was all born there. That cast and crew… I did my first movie in Austin 20 years ago, and a lot of the crew was just out of film school at [The University of Texas at Austin] and now they’re heads of departments. So it was like not only a homecoming from the beginning of my whole career, but being there with the whole Walker family, it’s probably the greatest place to work in all of Hollywood.
TVLINE | Did it feel any different being back there after having gone on to star in the spinoff? And then the last time we saw Hoyt on Walker, he was alive, obviously.
I did feel like a bit of a ghost. What was kind of fun was now that I’ve had the chance to explore Hoyt, even through the Walker Independence version of Hoyt, I was able to kind of influence choices in this episode, add little tidbits and sort of things that would have informed who he was. So that was a fun little cookie to kind of add in there.
TVLINE | What are we going to be seeing from Hoyt in the flashbacks in this episode?
We see the idea that Hoyt just really can’t outrun his demons. It’s very Shakespearean, that idea that Hoyt’s intentions were so pure, but his actions were so flawed. We learned that when we saw Hoyt in the original series, but we get to kind of see that play out, see sort of the genesis of his fall from grace, if you will.
TVLINE | There’s also this really interesting push-and-pull tension between Hoyt and Cordell in their scenes together. Can you talk about the dynamic that we’re going to be seeing between the two of them in these flashbacks?
I think, deep down, Hoyt knew that Bonham and Abby had given Cordy this compass that he always longed for, like how to navigate life, fatherhood, just kind of being a man. It’s not a resentment, but I think it’s more of almost like a boy longing for a father through Cordy. Hoyt’s compass was Cordell by way of Abby and Bonham. But I think that push-pull was like Hoyt’s always kind of searching for boundaries, someone to kind of give him a North Star, and for better or worse, that’s what he’s always looking for with Cordy.
TVLINE | Since it’s in the promo, I think it’s safe to say that we find out Hoyt has a daughter in this episode. What was your reaction when you found out Hoyt is a father?
I’m like, “Who is this little scoundrel?” The apple can’t fall far from the tree. I think it was a great way to kind of infuse that same energy into the show. And you can tell that Cordell is still struggling with Hoyt’s death, sort of what that means to him… So I think by introducing Sadie, that’s going to help Cordell along with his own self-discovery and kind of coming to terms with Hoyt’s death.
TVLINE | Is there a part of you that’s a little bit maybe disappointed that Hoyt’s dead and you don’t get to explore this father-daughter dynamic?
Yeah, ’cause she’s so badass! This actress, Saylor Bell, I walked on set and I was like, “Hey, would you like some advice on Hoyt?” She goes, “No, I got this.” [Laughs] I’m like, “Oh, my God. I’m gonna start taking lessons from her.” So yeah, I would have loved that. I can imagine the father Hoyt would have been had he known because he was so all heart. I think knowing he had a daughter would have definitely given him a sense of purpose that he was always kind of searching for.
TVLINE | The two Hoyts on Walker and Walker Independence are similar, but is there something in particular about one of them that you enjoy more or that’s more fun to play?
[On Walker], there’s just a sense of joy and amusement in life, and there’s a twinkle in his wink… and I like that quality in him. I remember [executive producer] Seamus [Kevin Fahey] said, “If you could judge a man’s wealth by the size of his heart, Hoyt would be the richest guy in the world.” 1800s Hoyt has a bit of baggage and carries that with him. There’s a little more darkness even though he’s playful. But I always love that reckless abandon of modern-day Hoyt, just living the moment. It’s one of those things that I think maybe I vicariously want to live through him.
TVLINE | Have you heard anything about Season 2 renewal odds for Walker Independence?
I wish I had more to report. I think we’re all waiting to hear. I’ve certainly talked to the writers and producers, and I know we’ve got a lot of fun, colorful stories to tell.
TVLINE | What are you most excited to explore with Hoyt if the show is renewed, coming off of the Season 1 finale?
Hoyt was a guy kind of searching at his core for his soul. He’s found some sort of compass, but it’s very raw at this point. So it’s like, “What am I going to do with my life, with this beautiful horizon in front of me?” So I’m excited to see where he goes from here. Abby gave him a purpose, and now he’s got to take it and do something with it. For this outlaw scoundrel, who’s actually pretty savvy, there’s a great line in a movie I love where it’s like, “God uses people like you.” Hoyt’s got a purpose. He’s gotta go find it now.
TVLINE | In the unfortunate scenario that the show is not renewed, are you already brainstorming ways to get yourself back on Walker? Like maybe Hoyt has a secret twin brother we’ve never met before?
One hundred percent! Already planted the seeds. Hoyt’s obviously a twin. His brother’s just got a different haircut, but the same charm.
I know they were sure when MP was in charge of the CW that Independence would be picked up. Killing off Hoyt Rawlings in Walker in hindsight was an unfortunate causality of the sale.