Xena & Gabrielle will be a couple on Xena reboot, without Lawless, O’Connor

In a recent Q&A on Tumblr, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, the showrunner for the new Xena: Warrior Princess reboot addressed the “are they or aren’t they” relationship between Lucy Lawless’ Xena character and Renee O’Connor’s faithful companion Gabrielle, asserting that the new series will address their romantic relationship. He wrote, “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.”

Javier talked more about the new series in an interview conducted by Xena comic book writer Genevieve Valentine on website io9. In the chat, he discussed his plans for the reboot at length and addressed the criticism from fans unhappy that Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor are not reprising their iconic roles for the new series. Here are some highlights:

On the episodes being serialized, instead of stand-alone: “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.”

On making the characters’ costumes more realistic: “A great deal of the appeal of the show lies in certain pulpy elements – like Gabrielle’s bare midriff, Xena’s leather miniskirt, Callisto’s amazing and gravity-defying…well, you get it. And it’s hard for me in the post-Brienne of Tarth [from Game of Thrones] era to reconcile with the idea that Xena and her friends can meet every challenge in such skimpy outfits.”

On Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor not returning to the Xena universe: “I love these actors in these roles as much as I love William Shatner as Kirk, Sean Connery as Bond, and Lynda Carter as Diana Prince – so why does this need to be a reboot and not a continuation? The answer for me is that the reboot is not a repudiation of the classic show, but rather a compliment to it. I want for Xena to be a cultural icon for longer than my tenure in the entertainment industry, or that of anyone else involved with the project. If, in some far future, people assume that Xena is a character from the Greek mythological pantheon alongside Hercules, and that’s why so many people have played her over so many years? That right there would be success.”

[From io9]

I was never a fan of Xena, although I met Hercules star Kevin Sorbo at a con one time and he was handsome and funny (yeah, cool story, Corey, right?), but I just assumed that Xena and Gabrielle were an item. I think it’s great that the show is showing these heroic female characters as a strong lesbian couple. I just mainly hope that this turns out better than the recent X-Files reboot. But, it is a shame that Lucy and Renee won’t be on the show. Lucy is only 47 and Renee is 45 – and they both look fantastic (did you see Lucy on Spartacus?) She’s still “got it” as far as I’m concerned. Maybe they’ll make a cameo appearance?


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40 Responses to “Xena & Gabrielle will be a couple on Xena reboot, without Lawless, O’Connor”

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  1. Zen1016 says:

    They better not spoil this show, I used to watch Xena every Saturday growing up.

    • Snazzy says:

      Me too! I loved it! I am excited to see it but worried that a reboot, mixed with the fact that I will be watching with my adult eyes, will make me very upset by what they do.

      • Fallon says:

        Same. I don’t think I’ll watch. To me, if it’s not Lucy Lawless, then it’s not Xena. She OWNED that role and is a total badass.

      • V4Real says:

        To me, if it’s not Lucy Lawless, then it’s not Xena. She OWNED that role and is a total badass.”

        I agree with you so much. It’s going to be like Hercules without Kevin Sorbo if they ever rebooted that TV series. He owned that role as well. I’ve seen both movie versions of Hercules with Kellan Lutz and The Rock. As much as I love Dwayne that movie was a mess, both movies were a mess.

    • TheCassinator says:

      RE: Lucy = Xena … If they can keep bringing back Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones, then they can friggin bring back Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor!!

  2. lisa2 says:

    I know the PC thing to say is GREAT.. but I just don’t like it.

    • Naya says:

      Why not?

      • Tiffany says:

        I am with Lisa. My reason is they took the friendship and turned it into exotic fic for the fanboys/girls. Xena was a loner who grew as the series went on and Gabby has a hand in that. Instead of the focus being a strong, loving friendship, it became will they, won’t they.

      • Naya says:

        Ok. I would counter that there are plenty of shows about “strong loving friendships”, not too many about strong loving lesbian relationships. Especially shows geared for younger audiences….(I never watched Xena but I suspect like Hercules, it was geared at mostly at teen or younger audiences).

      • V4Real says:

        I have to agree with Lisa. If they rebooted the Hercules series would they make Hercules and his best friend Iolaus lovers. Or is Hercules too strong and masculine to be gay? Why take two strong female characters and change their sexual orientation. Who’s coming up with this crap, frat boys?

      • Dlo says:

        @naya wow that sounds really defensive. Ppl are allowed to watch or not watch for a wide variety of reasons

      • Ange says:

        V4real in the actual mythology Hercules and iolaus WERE lovers.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      I used to love Ksena when I was a kid, and I never saw anything more than a friendship with them ( I was a kid, though). I really loved that they showed such a strong female friendship. And it’s a bit stereotypical to make the strong warrior woman gay, isn’t it?
      However, this will be a completely new show ( without Lucy I’m not sure I’d like it anyway) so who knows.

  3. Arlene says:

    I used to LOVE Xena and Aries snarks offs on this show.

    • Snazzy says:

      :D Me too

    • celine says:

      Yes, me too! So sad the actor that played Aries (Kevin Smith), passed away. Those two had fierce chemistry on screen.

      • Drew says:

        I didn’t know he died! He was hot! Nooooo!

      • Meee says:

        I got the chance to meet him at a con and damn, was he even hotter in person! RIP. I loved Xena in my younger years and I don’t know what to think about the reboot. I liked the friendship, even though I knew the subtext was there, it let you use your imagination about what was going on between them. Anyway, hopefully the actresses they select have good chemistry.

    • V4Real says:

      ooh Aries was hot.

  4. NewWester says:

    Reboots can be hit and miss. Sometimes they can be great (ie: Star Trek) other times the producers/writers are so anxious to appeal to viewers they will go overboard to adapt to present times. Add more blood and gore( body parts flying) , over the top swearing, or adding nudity/sex scenes ( ie: male character frying bacon naked or female character at her home office working on a business report naked)
    Focus more on good storylines and acting , the viewers will follow

  5. Jay says:

    I wish they’d just be honest and say they’re recasting because they want a hot young couple to play lesbians. The whole thing is just infuriating. I love the idea of finally seeing xena and Gabrielle as they really are, but why cant it be about an older couple who are finally getting the chance to be together. Both actresses are fully capable of the physical aspects of an action oriented role, and I think it would resonate more with an issue that spent so long in the shadows coming forward.

    • SJO says:

      You kind of said what I was going to say. Basically how about telling the truth and just saying you wanted to cast younger hotter women?

    • Anne tommy says:

      Particularly ironic given the news about another Indiana Jones film, when Ford will be pushing 80.

  6. SKF says:

    Well warriors at the time did wear pleated leather skirts… It wasn’t medieval times but yeah I think realism would work better in this era. I just can’t see anyone else as these characters! I hope they don’t get some waif to play Xena. Lucy was broad-shouldered and strong and that was part of her appeal.

    • Anne tommy says:

      Maybe they could use the Kim Kardashian lookalike who seems to be taking over Wonder Woman from the statuesque Lynda Carter? Or Rooney Mara?

  7. D says:

    I used to watch this show and I always found Gabrielle really annoying, maybe Xena could get another girlfriend.

    • detritus says:

      I never liked her. I vote for a new Gabby! They can be lesbians or Zena can be bi and new gabby can be less annoying and in need of rescuing all the time.
      Will this guy actually pick a Zena who looks like she can kick ass? Please please please. No more gal gadot crap.

      • D says:

        Gina Carano as Xena? She’s not that great of an actress, but neither was Lucy Lawless (she’s better these days).

  8. Louise177 says:

    I loved this show but not excited about a reboot. All of these reboots are annoying and unnecessary. I know there was always the subtext Xena and Gabrielle were a couple but it’s annoying that it seems so many female friends end up as lesbians.

    • Wood Dragon says:

      Seriously. Lesbians can’t just be friends too?
      Must there always be this sexual tension to it?
      I liked it because it was two strong female action characters on adventures and some them funny.

  9. Snowflake says:

    I loved Xena. But some the stuff, like the lesbian aspect and the skimpy outfits, were clearly aimed at men and kinda ruined it somewhat. But I did like seeing a strong, hot woman kicking butt.

    • Elisa the I. says:


    • Artemis says:

      Same, that show made my life back in the 90s as a young girl. So many women kicking butt in that era.

      As for the reboot, it worked with Nikita (from La Femme Nikita) but I’m not sure if I want to tune in for Xena.

  10. Mia4s says:

    *whispers* This show was never very good.

    There I said it. Yes I know “strong female lead”. And it mostly sucked. Although a camp classic I guess. Does the new show runner realize it was camp? This reboot has disaster written all over it.

  11. jesb says:

    As a die hard xena fan, who grew up watching this show, it was never about a romantic relationship. Yes there was innuendo and they found so many reasons to kiss, and even a sappho reference on gabby’s birthday. But growing up this show was about a bad ass woman and her annoying sidekick and how they learned and grew from the bond they had. And they both became more fulfilled richer human beings.
    This will not be the xena i remember. Which i guess is a good thing, so the original will always be what it was and this new reboot will be something else entirely just with the same name.

  12. justme says:

    As far as I’m concerned, LL and ROC *are* Xena and Gabrielle. Anyone else would just feel like pale imitations. I won’t be watching.

  13. Madpoe says:

    Reboots must DIE!

  14. emmyb1608 says:

    I honestly thought that was Kristen Stewart and Britt Robertson in the photo above, the one of them in the water.

  15. Apsutter says:

    I’m so on board for this! Lawless KILLED on Spartacus… And her breasts!! Yowza!!

  16. mkyarwood says:

    People worrying about a show of this production quality being ‘ruined’ are looking at it through nostalgia colored glasses. As for exploring the lesbian relationship in more depth as a main theme, I’m all for it. Xena and Gabby are soldiers for whom lasting relationships are not always possible (or feasible, in ancient times). Turning to one another for comfort and creating a lasting bond is a totally likely scenario, in my opinion.