EXCLUSIVE: Justin Johnson Cortez (911: Lone Star) is set as a series regular on CBS Studios’ CW pilot Walker: Independence, executive produced by Jared Padalecki.
Walker: Independence, a prequel to the CW/CBS Studios series Walker, is set in the late 1800s and follows Abby Walker, an affluent Bostonian whose husband is murdered before her eyes while on their journey out West. On her quest for revenge, Abby crosses paths with Hoyt Rawlins, a lovable rogue in search of purpose. Abby and Hoyt’s journey takes them to Independence, Texas, where they encounter diverse, eclectic residents running from their own troubled pasts and chasing their dreams. Our newfound family will struggle with the changing world around them, while becoming agents of change themselves in a town where nothing is what it seems.
Cortez will play Calian. A member of an Indigenous scouting party outside Independence, Calian speaks fluent English, and has mixed feelings about the influx of the white settlers out West. Calian is curious to their innovations, their music, their culture but remains wary about losing his tribal lands. After spotting Abby half-dead in the brush, Calian saves her and takes her to the outskirts of Independence — he knows better than to walk into town, escorting a white woman.
Padalecki exec produces. Seamus Fahey wrote the pilot based on a story by him and Anna Fricke. Both will exec produce with Fricke EPing with Laura Terry via their Pursued By a Bear banner alongside Rideback’s Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore. Larry Teng directs and executive produces the pilot.
An Indigenous American actor of Yaqui Tribe descent, Cortez is best known for his guest-starring roles on Fox’s 911: Lone Star and Lucifer. He was cast as a series regular in ABC’s 2018 pilot Staties and served as actor/writer/director/producer in the short film The Fall, which was a 2020 Skins Fest official selection. He is repped by Defining Artists, MRK MGMT, and Goodman Genow Schenkman Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP.