'Walker: Independence' replaces canceled 'Roswell, New Mexico' at Santa Fe Studios

·3 min read

Jul. 3—Santa Fe Studios quickly swapped out the sets for the canceled Roswell, New Mexico series on The CW Network and brought in new CW show Walker: Independence.

Octavio Marin, vice president of production and operations at Santa Fe Studios, a few miles south of Santa Fe off N.M. 14, said Roswell moved out June 15 after four seasons, and the new show — a spinoff and prequel to CW's Walker, a reboot of the 1990s series Walker, Texas Ranger starring Chuck Norris — moved in a day later.

Filming is expected to start later this month, Marin said.

The CW announced the cancellation May 12 of the Roswell series, which was the sole tenant at Santa Fe Studios since 2018. Marin was in discussions with three other movie and TV productions a short time later. Then came a call from Walker: Independence.

"They had other venues lined up; let's leave it at that," Marin said. "When they heard Santa Fe Studios became available, they jumped. It was a matter of minutes to determine which production would move in."

Marin went with Walker: Independence, a series announced in December, because it would lease all of Santa Fe Studios for an entire year and could commit to a deal immediately, he said.

Walker launched in January 2021 and is in its third season.

The CW has both shows scheduled for the fall lineup on Thursdays, with Walker set for 8 p.m. and Walker: Independence at 9 p.m.

The Walker: Independence pilot episode, produced elsewhere, debuted June 4 at the ATX TV Festival in Austin, Texas. The show stars Katherine McNamara and Matt Barr as Abby Walker and Hoyt Rawlins. Promotional material for the show describes Abby Walker witnessing her husband's murder while traveling west and encountering Rawlins, a "lovable rogue in search of a purpose." She seeks vengeance and they end up in Independence, Texas.

The show's creative team is its executive producers through the production companies Pursued by a Bear and Rideback. Pursued by a Bear includes Walker star and executive producer Jared Padalecki, Walker: Independence writer Seamus Fahey, story creator Anna Fricke (along with Fahey) and Laura Terry. Rideback's Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore are also executive producers.

Santa Fe Studios and its backlot double for late 1800s Independence, Texas.

Walker: Independence will have full use of the studios' two 20,000-square-foot soundstages, 26,000 square feet of office space, a mill building for set production and 60 acres of backlot for more set construction, Marin said.

"So far, Santa Fe Studios has been a boutique studio accommodating one big show at a time," Marin said. "Normally, productions of this size have a crew of 125 to 175 plus 100 additional part-time. The great majority of them are New Mexicans."

Marin also said construction on the long-awaited expansion to double the size of Santa Fe Studios facilities could start next year.

Switching out two network shows from one day to the next reminds the industry that Albuquerque is not the only studio game in the state, which has become a primary destination for film production in recent years.

"It cements us as a prime, premiere location for producers and networks to come and work," Marin said.