Xena: Warrior Princess, a beloved show from the 90s, is coming back in big ways.
Javier Grillo-Marxuach is bringing the show back to television with an exciting reboot, while Genevieve Valentine is the writer of the brand new Xena comic book from Dynamite Entertainment.
These two creators had the opportunity to interview each other about the heroine via io9 and the excitement over seeing Xena and Gabrielle again is ramping up. Check out some choice moments from the interview to get a sense of these new projects.
Right off the bat, the two discussed why Xena has stayed such a beloved series, with Grillo-Marxuach theorizing:
“Xena and Gabrielle represented something that, just plain did not exist in TV at the time… single-female-led shows like Alias were still some six years away for the major networks. Even for someone like me (and I can’t say that at the time “feminism” was the first thing I looked for in my first run syndicated action-adventure-fantasy) it was clear that this was something different, and that it offered not just the thrills and sex appeal, but also a genuinely different and, frankly, enlightening relationship at its core. Xena helped a lot of people—myself included—finally embrace the potential of female-driven shows in the genre space.”
He also mentions the prevalence of genre shows in the 90s, and how that helped Xena thrive (who was originally on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys before getting her own series).
Regarding the comic, Valentine is working in the canon universe established in the 90s and therefore has slightly more restrictions than Grillo-Marxuach’s rebooted series.
Valentine mentions she’s most excited to explore “the tension between Xena’s past and Gabrielle’s future,” as they meet “when Xena’s trying to shake off a loaded lifetime full of people and events that shaped her so she can make amends, and Gabrielle’s just trying to live a life at all.”
The series takes place 25 years after the “Twilight of the Gods” arc, with Xena and Gabrielle returning after a long absence as the Roman Empire is rising to power. Valentine explains this setting for the comic:
“I’m genuinely excited to tackle this slightly bizarre point in the show’s timeline, and make Xena and Gabrielle deal with the repercussions of this giant time jump to a degree beyond what they had time to do in the show. I completely understand why the show’s momentum had to handle Eve’s story as fast as possible and then move on to something new, but I also thought it was really rich ground, and as soon as I started thinking about where in the chronology I wanted to set this story, I knew I wanted to explore the idea of Xena and Gabrielle in a world that’s left them behind.”
The TV show, on the other hand, is a reboot and therefore has complete freedom in bringing this show back to the small screen.
The first change will be that Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor will not be reprising their roles as Xena and Gabrielle, respectively, which may be a little disappointing, but in the grand scheme of things makes sense and is probably for the best.
Grillo-Marxuach explains that he wants his reboot to be a “compliment” to the original series and for Xena to ascend as a cultural icon, above the various actresses who may play her in the future.
The reboot will remix the canon, keeping the same morals and themes, while making slight changes to things like backstories and costumes (“It’s hard for me in the post-Brienne of Tarth era to reconcile with the idea that Xena and her friends can meet every challenge in such skimpy outfits”).
But don’t worry, this is his response to keeping Xena’s trademark weapon: “Of course she’s gonna have a Chakram, what am I, a monster?”
It sounds like we’re in pretty good hands and I, for one, welcome the new influx of Xena into my pop culture universe again. Be sure to read the whole interview here.
Xena: Warrior Princess #1 will hit shelves in April, while the NBC reboot doesn’t have a premiere date yet.
Are you excited for more Xena in your life? Are you looking forward to the comic series, TV show, or both?