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Last summer, it seemed trouble was brewing amid one of TV's longest-lasting onscreen families when Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki had a bit of a public dispute over a planned prequel spinoff series. Now, that's all apparently water under the bridge, and the duo has reunited to make a deleted series finale moment finally happen in another show.
This week's episode of Walker, the CW crime drama starring Padalecki as the title Texas Ranger, was directed by Ackles, and while they definitely spent some time dropping a few Supernatural Easter eggs into the mix for eagle-eyed viewers, the biggest Easter egg of all might be a full-on musical performance by the legendary rock band Kansas that was actually a long time coming for Padalecki and Ackles.
As longtime Supernatural fans might recall, Kansas' classic song "Carry On Wayward Son" has been something of a theme song for Supernatural and the Winchester brothers over the years. With that in mind, the plan was to get the band to perform the song on the Supernatural series finale, but as with so many shows, the realities of shooting during the COVID-19 pandemic forced changes, and the Kansas appearance was scrapped.
Fortunately for both Ackles and Padalecki, Walker's producers were able to secure the band for a performance on their show, which is how Ackles wound up directing them during a performance at Austin's Moody Theater.
"They were also really excited that they were getting to scratch an itch that didn't get scratched," Ackles told Entertainment Weekly about working with the band at last. "I didn't know this, but they were literally at the airport and some of them were getting on a plane to come to Vancouver when they got called and told, 'Sorry, COVID, we're shutting down.' So that's how close we were to having that experience with them. The fact that we got to do that in any capacity felt like we got to scratch an itch that needed to be scratched."
The full circle moment came after a weird few months for the Ackles/Padalecki partnership, which saw quite a bit of tension last summer when The CW announced development of a pilot for The Winchesters, a prequel series produced by Ackles that will focus on Sam and Dean Winchester's parents. When the news broke, Padalecki went public with word that he'd never been contacted by Ackles about the series, leading many fans to get angry online about the apparent split. Both onscreen brothers later announced that they'd talked and made up, and Padalecki ultimately deemed the whole thing a "misunderstanding," but it was still a weird moment just months removed from the show's conclusion after 15 seasons on The CW.
Now, that all feels truly in the past, as Ackles revealed that Padalecki not only worked with him on Walker, but introduced him to the show's crew with a very warm speech.
"Jared had laid the groundwork of like, 'This is my brother. I'm here because of what he and I built together.' He gave a great speech to the whole crew, saying, 'We wouldn't be here without the work that this guy did with me.' I was vouched for by the commander-in-chief, so although I was a guest in someone else's house, it was a house that felt very welcoming."
The Ackles-directed new episode of Walker airs tonight on The CW. The Winchesters is now building up its cast for a pilot episode, but there's no word yet on whether or not it will actually make it to series.