NBC’s revival of revered Xena: Warrior Princess has been put on an unlit backburner. Perhaps in the freezer.
“Nothing is happening on that right now. We looked at some material; we decided at that point that it didn’t warrant the reboot,” Jennifer Salke, NBC Entertainment president tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The material, proposed by writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost), would have made the romantic relationship between Xena and sidekick Gabrielle (heavily implied and fantasized about in the original series) matter of fact. Grillo-Marxuach walked away from the project due to creative differences.
“I’d never say never on [Xena: Warrior Princess] because it’s such a beloved title, but the current incarnation of it is dead,” yellow-bellied Salke states.
Xena co-creators Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi would have overseen the now-shelved incarnation.
The Studios USA/Universal Worldwide Television Xena original starred Lucy Lawless in the title role and featured Renee O’Connor as Gabrielle, Xena’s devoted partner. The series ran from 1995 to 2001, and began as a Hercules spinoff. Had the brave reboot come to production, new actresses would have been cast in the complex female roles.
Long before fanfiction, Xena followers considered the lead characters to be lovers. Even Lawless agrees, pointing out the kiss between Xena and Gabrielle in the show’s finale.
“It wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was, ‘Nope, they’re married, man,’” the actress stated in 2003.
Supposedly Salke/NBC is open to a homogenized Xena revival in the future, when the circumstances are right.
“I need someone to come in with a point of view about what they want to do,” she says.
Back in March 2016, Grillo-Marxuach had a great point of view:
“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.”