The rumors are true. The 1990s cult classic, Xena: Warrior Princess, is getting a reboot, and NBC has already ordered a pilot. Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a supervising producer and writer for Lost and a writer and co-executive producer for The 100, will be penning it, and there are a lot of changes coming that Xena and Gabrielle fans need to prepare for!
1. The Series Will Not Star Lucy Lawless Or Renee O'Connor
When being interviewed by Genevieve Valentine, the creator of the Xena comic, Grillo-Marxuach was asked if there were things he knew he was leaving behind. His response?
Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor are not going to be Xena and Gabrielle
As you might imagine, fans are not happy about this turn of events, and though Lucy Lawless, when speaking with Den of Geek, indicated she'd be happy to be a part of the new series, she doesn't expect to play a big role, if any. She clearly indicated she didn't think she could tackle the role that made her an icon:
"I’m probably not up for that gig. I can’t imagine how you could tell the story with me at 47-years-old and make it work."
2. The New Series Will, Most Likely, Not Pick Up Where The Original Series Ended
At the end of the final episode, Xena died a hero's death, and many fans were hoping to pick up from that moment to see her resurrection. But the writer and showrunner, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, made it very clear that would not happen.
"I think if you jump in with the full meta as if you were picking up where the original left off, you are inadvertently undermining the universe for everyone who doesn’t already understand its rules intuitively."
In a way, this makes sense. Hopefully, many new viewers will be tuning in, and the background of the characters will need to be explained. So I imagine the show will be a new beginning for a new cast of characters.
3. The Familiar Costumes Will Be Gone
Though Xena and Gabrille's costumes were iconic, we probably won't be seeing the skimpy leather and suede. Game of Thrones has played a large part in this decision since female warriors are clad in more armor, and both Xena and Gabrielle are, most of all, warriors.
3. The Show Will Be More Serialized
Instead of focusing on an episodic show where the episodes were self-contained, the showrunner is opting for a long-arcing story. When you think of episodic television, shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit come to mind. Programs like that keep the focus on the stories and not necessarily on the characters. So serializing the new Xena might be a good thing!
One big thing is that we are telling a much more serialized story than the show ever tackled — so formally we are already treading some very different ground — and while the characters will occupy roughly the same thematic spaces they did in the original, some of their backstories will be changed, and some of their morality will be tweaked so that we can tell a long-arcing story in which every episode leads directly into the next.
4. Some Familiarity Will Still Remain
Xena will still have her chakram. Gabrielle will still dream of being a bard, and her staff will be present. Though those might seem like small things to newcomers, those of us who are longtime fans of the series know how important these items are to the characters.
5. Xena And Gabrielle Will Be More Than Friends
Though viewers believed Xena and Gabrielle's shared more than friendship, it was all supposition. However, in 2008, Renee O'Connor, in an interview with AfterEllen.com, expressed a different opinion:
"To me it was main text, and even if it was subtext, it was very clear that we were together. They are so in love with each other, they love each other so dearly; there’s no way you can say that’s not true. Anyone can see that from watching the show."
In the 21st century version, there will be no doubts about the connection between the two warriors as Javier Grillo-Marxuach clarified in a Tumblr Q&A:
(I) am a very different person with a very different world view than my employer on 'The 100' — and my work on 'The 100' was to use my skills to bring that vision to life. Xena will be a very different show made for very different reasons. there is no reason to bring back Xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s. it will also express my view of the world — which is only further informed by what is happening right now — and is not too difficult to know what that is if you do some digging."
In the '90s, many viewers only wanted subtext. Now, with programs like The 100, Hit The Floor, and Grey's Anatomy showing gay characters in love, there is no need for guessing. Xena and Gabrielle are two women very much in love, and that relationship will be evident on screen.
There's still no word on when the pilot will be aired, but it's possible we could see the reboot as soon as 2017. Check out the alternate intro for the show aired during Season 1 below:
What Do You Think About The Reboot? Will You Be Tuning In?