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Matt Barr Shares Insight Into The Biggest Character Changes To Hoyt On Walker Independence

The untimely death of Hoyt Rawlins on "Walker" devastated fans everywhere back in Season 1 of the show. Matt Barr played the charming modern-day outlaw with criminal tendencies and more than a few bad choices under his belt. Fans were just getting to know the lovable antihero, and 18 episodes didn't seem like nearly enough time to get swept up in his chaos. Yet fans weren't the only ones bummed about Hoyt's sudden death. Sometimes, creators regret their own choice to kill a character off, and it haunts them for the rest of their careers. Just ask Josh Schwartz about killing off Marissa Cooper on "The O.C."

Yet "Walker Independence" creator Seamus Fahey and producers Anna Fricke and Jared Padalecki turned their regret into a spinoff where Barr takes on the role of his "Walker" character's ancestor — also named Hoyt Rawlins. While the characters are similar in some ways, they're easily distinguishable. 

Looper participated in a press conference for "Walker Independence," where Barr discussed the most significant differences between both iterations of Hoyt. Series creator Fahey also dished on how exactly the show came about — and how Barr and Hoyt inspired the series.

It's a dog eat dog world in Independence

On the difference between 1800s Hoyt Rawlins and his original "Walker" character, Matt Barr said, "You know, I always thought of the modern-day Hoyt as like a golden retriever with an unloaded gun. And 1800s Hoyt is maybe like a German Sheppard. You know, he's nice until you cross him, and then he's gonna bite."

While modern-day Hoyt certainly has an edge when he needs it, he's got nothing on his gun-slinging ancestor. "1800s Hoyt's more dangerous, I think. In the Wild West, you kind of had to be to survive. So I wanted to see that sort of DNA in him, but I also like the idea that you can't really outrun your fate," Barr added. "And so there was that consistent kind of recklessness in the Rawlins DNA that just, as we meet Hoyt 150 years later, [he's] still trying to figure things out in his own way. And they're equally charming, aren't they? They have to be, right?" Well, there's no denying that.

Katherine McNamara chimed in with, "That Rawlins charm is genetic, that's for sure." Barr concluded, "I wanted to differentiate them but also feel very much the same kind of core bloodline there."

The origins of Independence

After only two seasons of the wildly successful "Walker," the series already inspired the "Walker Independence" spinoff. So, how did the Wild West show come about? Seamus Fahey recalled, "Anna and I were working on 'Walker' and basically, there was a beloved character named Hoyt Rawlins that we decided to kill off and we kind of regretted it, to be honest." It's good to know that fans weren't the only ones angsting over that particular storyline.

"And so, we started to think about what did we do wrong with our lives, but also with that creative choice," Fahey explained. "And so, it kind of started with just a text to ['Walker' showrunner] Anna [Fricke] saying like, 'Well what if we went back to the first generation of Walkers and Hoyt Rawlins was part of the ride?' And a couple of texts later and all of a sudden, Jared [Padalecki's] on the hook and the studio's excited, and it kind of just went from there."

Matt Barr: The cause of everyone's existential crises

The idea was so epic that it immediately took off and went into production lightning quick. "We just built momentum and developed a pitch and so, there [are] a lot of Easter eggs from 'Walker' that we're gonna do more and more," Seamus Fahey added. "But, you know, we wanted it to kind of stand on its own and be its own thing — be the first generation and figure out what are all the expectations that people might have and [how we can] subvert them. How do we have a fresh approach, a new take to the proceedings? And [we] kind of just kept building with that in mind and that approach."

Matt Barr recalled his initial conversation with Fahey about the show, noting, "I remember when Seamus was like, 'Hey what if we went back in time?' And I'm like, 'What, like two years before?' And he's like, 'Maybe like 150.'" That massive time jump was definitely the right call.

Katie Findlay teased, "So really what you're saying is that Matt Barr caused an existential crisis for you like he does the rest of us all the time?" And who can sum it up better than that?

"Walker Independence" premieres Thursday, October 6 on The CW.