Sunday, August 18, 2013

How Lucy Lawless Sees Xena Revived

In my dreams it would be that Renee [O'Connor], who played Gabrielle and I, and Ted [Raimi], who played Joxer, would come back and basically stick Xena’s head back on her and go on a quest. At the end you introduce this new Warrior Princess, hand it over and let them run with it. So we could put the family back together, give the fans what they want, reinvigorate the brand and hand it on to a new generation.
–Lucy Lawless, on a new Xena series.

It has been said that Xenites will never get a Xena reboot because we refuse to accept any other actresses in the roles of Xena and Gabrielle. In my case that might be true. To be honest, I really don't need the ride to start all over again. All I need is closure. It can be done as a television show or as a movie. Either one will be fine with me. I want to see Xena returned to Gabrielle. I want to hear them admit out loud what they mean to each other, and I want to watch them ride off into the sunset and live Happily Ever After . . . The End.

The critics say that the Star Trek fans have embraced that franchise through all of the changes it went through. I agree with that. But if I recall correctly, the new Star Trek television shows that followed the original was not based on Captain Kirk and his crew. They were all very new, and very much their own characters.

When the show moved to the big screen the original cast revived their roles for several movies before turning the reins over to Jean-Luc Picard and company. This reboot with the younger versions of James T. Kirk and the Enterprise crew is great. I really like it, but the Star Trek producers paced themselves. They took the fans on a leisurely walk before reaching their destination. They didn't just say, "Here you go. This is your new Captain Kirk. Love him just as much as you did the original."

It feels like TPTB are missing the point again. The show Xena: Warrior Princess wasn't just about the characters, it was also about the women that brought those characters to life. I would go so far as to say, that was ninety percent of it (for me). It was what Lucy and Renee brought to the table. I think if I had come across this show, and Hudson Leick and Danielle Cormack were in the lead roles I wouldn’t have been as fully invested. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them as Callisto and Ephiny, but that was their niche.

Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor breathed life into those characters. Lucy could make Xena lethal in one moment, and vulnerable in the next. Maybe it was her eyes. So much showed through them. And Renee made Gabrielle the personification of innocence. And her growth into womanhood was so natural. Renee O'Connor played the young, wide-eyed follower equally as well as she played the more seasoned, more mature Battling Bard.

So what I am trying to say is that having it start all over again with two new, younger women playing the roles of  a warrior and her traveling companion is not very appealing to me. I couldn't help but make comparisons between Xena and Gabriell, and whoever these new people would be. And I'm sure the new version would be lacking (at least in my mind). But I could be wrong. I thought Tom Cruise would be be an epic failure as Lestat, and we all saw how that turned out.

But if the owners of Xena: Warrior Princess really want to make me happy, how about returning the series to American television? That's a campaign I could really get behind.

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