The Waltons are making their way back to the small screen in The CW’s The Waltons: Homecoming, a special movie event airing on The CW tonight at 8 p.m.
TV Fanatic got the chance to chat with Richard Thomas and Logan Shroyer about the new project.
Thomas has been a part of The Waltons universe since the first TV movie aired in 1971. He played the role of John Boy Walton.
Shroyer takes over the role of John Boy in the new project.
Richard was honored to be asked to be a part of the new project, revealing that he was fond of the time he spent on the original movies and TV series.
“I love our show,” Richard said, adding that he was lucky enough that it was deemed a classic.
“If you’re lucky enough to be in a classic, then eventually there’s going to be a new version,” he shared.
“And so what made me happy was I was so thrilled that they called me and asked me to be a part of it by doing the narrations.”
“And then when they asked me to do the little introduction at the beginning, it made me even happier. So I’m delighted to be a part of it again.”
Shroyer was drawn to the project because of the themes of the movie.
“I love that it’s about spreading light and the sense that it’s all about family and love and all that kind of stuff,” the star said.
“I really just was drawn to the conflict of John Boy’s life, I guess. He’s kind of caught between two worlds with his passion for writing and his responsibility to take care of his family and having to step up,” Logan added, saying that the story has a lot to offer.
With the original movie hitting the air 50 years ago, I asked Richard why he thinks the messages of The Waltons remain relevant today.
“It’s always important because it’s a show about family and about people trying to make it their community and how families and communities sort of stick together and help each other,” adding that the original movie first launched at a pivotal time in history.
The star cited women’s rights, gay rights, and the civil rights movement.
“We were in the middle of a real divisive crisis,” the star said, revealing that he believes The Waltons provided a temporary respite from what was going on in the world every week.
“I think it’s no accident that people are interested in seeing this kind of show again right now,” Richard continued, revealing his hope that the movie can provide comfort to viewers.
I also asked Richard about his thoughts on how TV movies are not as prominent on the broadcast networks nowadays.
He said there was once a big market for movies of the week on the broadcast networks, but all of it changed when cable and streaming entered the fold. He thinks it’s terrific that there are all these avenues for stories to be told nowadays.
The star said he misses the movies of the week, but he believes movies are made as features nowadays with a much bigger scope.
Richard said that Logan is the perfect choice to take on the role of John Boy.
“He’s a terrific young actor, and he’ll find his own way to play John Boy,” he said.
“And it should be his. He should make it his own and make it different from mine if he wants to. And you know, the only thing I told him was to have a good time,” Richard shared.
Logan revealed his best friend growing up was Richard’s grandson, so he had already heard about the Waltons, but it didn’t stop him from researching when he landed the role of John Boy.
“I didn’t want to do an impression of his version of John Boy,” Logan said. “I wanted to be authentic the script that we had.”
The original series was ordered after the success of the 1971 TV movie, and Richard said he would be thrilled if a full-fledged series on The CW got the green light.
“One can only hope,” he said before cautioning to wait to see how viewers react to the project.
Logan shared that the movie leaves the door open for future projects set in The Waltons universe.
He said that he shot the movie in a great environment, and there were tears when production wrapped.
“I think everybody knew how great of an environment it was because when we finished, there were tears, and everyone was just taking in what we did, and it went phenomenally well.”
Check out the trailer for The Waltons: Homecoming below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.