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Why Bonham From Walker Looks So Familiar

The CW show Walker, a reboot of 1993-2001's Walker, Texas Ranger, has only aired a handful of episodes since it premiered on January 21, thanks to a TV season delayed by COVID-19 issues. After achieving the most-watched premiere on the network in five years, however, it became one of 12 series to score an early renewal, ensuring that fans will see more episodes later this season (via The Wrap). The cast of the series includes Jared Padalecki, Lindsay Morgan, Keegan Allen and a host of others, but there's one television veteran in particular you might recognize — and wonder where you've seen him before. 

Playing Walker's father, who helps his son out with his family when needed, is Mitch Pileggi (via Esquire). This prolific actor has been around Hollywood for some time — since 1982, in fact. His stints have included everything from guest appearances on the original Walker, Texas Ranger and The A-Team to recurring or regular roles on DallasFalcon Crest, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and American Horror Story

You've probably watched more than one of the shows he's been on — especially if you're a fan of The CW.

Actor Mitch Pileggi ran the X-Files at the FBI

Pileggi may still be best known in some circles for his high-profile turn as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, who oversaw the adventures of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) — sometimes as an ally, and sometimes as an apparent antagonist and collaborator in the overarching conspiracy. He not only stayed for the entire run of the original X-Files series and its continuation in 2016, he also featured in the motion pictures based on the show, in a video game adaptation, and in an episode of the ill-fated spinoff, The Lone Gunmen

His character started out mainly as a foil for Mulder and Scully, but became more developed as the show went on. In later years, this came in part as a result of Duchovny leaving the show as a regular. Events then conspired to make Skinner a believer to help fill the show's gaping Mulder-void. 

"New avenues have not only been opened to the show but to the character," he told a fan during one of the series' last original seasons (via The X-Tapes). "I don't believe the past few years have afforded Skinner any room to grow. It's been a nice change."

Pileggi played a key role on a popular Stargate spinoff

The Stargate franchise began with a 1994 movie, but soon became a brand that now encompasses cult-favorites Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, along with other TV shows, movies, web series, comics, and all the requisite media tie-ins. Pileggi plays the recurring Colonel Steven Caldwell on Stargate: Atlantis, one of the most successful spinoffs of the franchise. 

He once likened this character to Captain Kirk according to SciFiAndTVTalk. "My character is commander of the Daedalus, which is the new space battle cruiser that's come on the scene," Pileggi said. 

The actor made a conscious decision to play Caldwell differently than Walter Skinner, and told the Atlantis producers this first thing. "Not that there's anything wrong with Skinner, but I've already done him," Pileggi said. "I want Caldwell to be different, and the writers and producers are helping me like crazy. I have nothing but appreciation insofar as how they're writing for my character."

He clearly continued to appreciate how Caldwell was being written, as he stayed with the series until the final episode, "The Enemy at the Gate."

Pileggi took a hard Right turn on Sons of Anarchy

On Sons of Anarchy, Pileggi plays Ernest Darby, a character who appears in 14 episodes of the popular Hamlet adaptation. His role in this series stands out a bit on his résumé, which is otherwise loaded with notable rule-followers and authority figures. You see, Darby is a tattooed neo-Nazi antagonist leading a heroin- and meth-dealing gang called the Nordics. 

"The guy that I'm playing is about as nasty as it gets. It's fun to play because I'm going back to my bad-guy roots," Pileggi said of the role (via Collider).

He appears mostly in the first two seasons of the series, and at the end of the second season, viewers didn't know what his fate will be following a fire at the Cara Cara Studio. The character later reveals himself to have survived the blaze, but badly damaged, and by season 6, Darby turns a corner. When we finally catch up with him, the character has found Jesus and retired from the criminal life, but his knowledge of the neo-Nazi scene helps the Sons of Anarchy. 

That was Pileggi's final episode, completing the character arc of Darby, otherwise known (according to Den of Geek) as "Charming's most inept thug."

Jared Padalecki isn't the only Supernatural veteran on Walker

The CW's longest-running series, Supernatural, aired its final episodes in fall 2020, freeing up star Jared Padalecki to move onto Walker. Mitch Pileggi also appeared alongside his Walker co-star on that the popular series, in a recurring part that lasted eight episodes between 2008 and 2011. He plays Samuel Campbell, the Winchester brothers' grandfather, who first appears in a flashback during which he meets his relative, Dean (Jensen Ackles). 

In a Collider interview, Pileggi described his perspective on the character: "He's kind of a grumpy old guy like me. Fortunately, he's not as old as he would be if they were playing it in the present time. When they said 'grandfather' I said, 'Whoa! Hold up!'" His role also required him to play the Azazel-possessed version of Samuel (now, with yellow eyes!), and the Alpha Shapeshifter that takes on his likeness.

Pileggi said he enjoyed the Supernatural experience, especially because many of the crew members came from The X-Files (where they no doubt shared some of those bizarre experiences the production was known for). Therefore, it "was very much like going back to family." 

This probably feels true for Walker as well, since his new gig is a reunion of sorts for him and Padalecki.