Metro Weekly

Xena: Warrior Princess reboot will make lead character lesbian

Relationship between Xena and sidekick Gabrielle will be explored in remake of '90s TV show

Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena, at 2010's San Diego Comic Con (Photo: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons).
Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena, at 2010’s San Diego Comic Con (Photo: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons).

A popular 1990s TV character is finally emerging from the closet, and it’s about time.

In keeping with the trend of rebooting shows from decades past, network executives at NBC are bringing back Xena: Warrior Princess with a new twist: this time, the titular character will be an out and proud lesbian, the show’s executive producer tells Newsweek.

“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 (sic) in first-run syndication in the 1990s,” wrote executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach in a Tumblr post. “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.”

Grillo-Marxuach is known for his work on the CW show The 100, which, until recently, featured a bisexual character, Clarke, and an openly gay character, Lexa, whose death set off a backlash among social media and LGBT activists who were enraged that the show would kill off a fan favorite. 

When it first aired, Xena was quite coy about the nature of the relationship between Xena, played by Lucy Lawless, and her sidekick Gabrielle, played by Renee O’Connor. Occasional hints were given throughout the series, but no physical relationship was directly shown. The chemistry between the two characters, however, sparked a number of fan fictions on the Internet in which Xena and Gabrielle are lovers.

In a 2003 interview with Lesbian News, Lawless said she had come to believe her character was “definitely gay,” particularly after the final episode in which Xena revives Gabrielle by transferring water with magical properties by mouth to mouth.

“There was always a ‘Well, she might be or she might not be,’ but when there was that drip of water passing between their lips in the very final scene, that cemented it for me,” Lawless said. “Now 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.'”

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