As if Xena hasn’t been killed enough, the reboot of the series is dead at NBC.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Entertainment President, Jennifer Salke said, “Nothing is happening on that right now. We looked at some material; we decided at that point that it didn’t warrant the reboot. I’d never say never on that one because it’s such a beloved title, but the current incarnation of it is dead.”
The news didn’t come as too much of as shock, the project lost its writer/executive producer, Javier Grillo-Marxuach back in March due to “creative differences.” Grillo-Marxuach wanted to fully explore Xena and Gabrielle’s romantic relationship in the reboot. In the original series, the relationship between Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) was subtext, so it’s hard to think those creative differences were anything other than an unwillingness to have a drama series with two queer female leads.
Especially when you consider the fact that Salke also said, “I need someone to come in with a point of view about what they want to do.” Grillo-Marxuach had a point of view about what he wanted to do, he wanted to give queer fans of the series validation and the relationship that we deserved to see the first time around.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about the reboot, much like I did when it was initially announced. I’ve been a fan of Xena since it premiered 20 years ago, so it’s kind of exciting to know that this thing I love could be making a return in some way. The only way a reboot works is if they’re bringing it back for the right reasons and honor the original series. If they’re not willing to do that, then I don’t want to see it return. I have long abandoned hopes of Lawless and O’Connor reprising their roles, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have Xena and Gabrielle in Ancient Greece. The original series always had weird timelines. It’s canon that Xena and Gabrielle are soulmates who reincarnate when they die. The fact that Xena died in the finale is barely a problem. NBC just needs to be willing to green-light a drama with two queer leads.
Until then, at least we have six seasons of the Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard.