Brand revivals aren’t just popular with movie franchises right now, they have quickly become all the rage on television too. 2016 alone will bring back such cult TV show programs as The X-Files on FOX, Heroes on NBC (with the mini-series Heroes Reborn), and even a Full House sequel called Fuller House on Netflix. It’s no wonder that Lucy Lawless has recently been talking quite seriously about resurrecting Xena: Warrior Princess on the small screen.
Well, no sooner do we report that Lawless is willing to crowd-fund a Xena revival/reboot (if needs be) do we get word that this will not be necessary. Why? Because NBC and NBC Universal International are currently preparing to bring back the Warrior Princess themselves.
The original Xena: Warrior Princess was a spinoff of 1990s TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and followed the eponymous warrior (Lawless), accompanied by her loyal companion Gabrielle (Renée O’Connor), on a journey to redeem herself for her dark past – by undertaking a variety of noble quests across a fantasy version of ancient Greece. THR reports that Xena executive producers Robert Tapert (who’s married to Lawless) and Sam Raimi (who’s recently worked with Lawless on Ash vs. Evil Dead) are developing a reboot of the original Xena, with a 2016 launch in mind.
It sounds as though the new Xena series would be a proper reboot and not a revival, as the producers have reportedly envisioned their ideal choice to play the new Xena as someone with “the charisma and charm of Lawless and the smarts of The Hunger Games‘ Katniss.” However, THR‘s sources are reporting that the plan is for Lawless to actually play a supporting role on the series, in addition to being involved behind the scenes (presumably as a producer). Will there be some figurative (or maybe somewhat literal) passing of the torch, from one Xena to the next?
UPDATE: Lawless has Tweeted some clarification on the matter, stating that the Xena reboot is far from a sure thing, until further notice:
Sorry, friends! news of a #Xena reboot is just a rumor. I'd love it to happen one day but it's still in the wishful thinking stage.— Lucy Lawless (@RealLucyLawless) July 20, 2015
THR’s report describes the Xena reboot as a “modern reboot,” indicating that the plan is not to embrace the frequently tongue in cheek (and sometimes over the top campy) elements from the original Warrior Princess TV show. That’s not to suggest the new Xena will per se be a “dark and gritty” re-imagining of the property, but it might strike a tone closer to modern superhero TV shows like Arrow and The Flash, when it comes to balancing out melodrama with more playful story material.
The new version of the Xena character is likewise being envisioned by the show’s producers as a “smart superhero for a new generation” (according to THR‘s article), indicating that NBC’s reboot of the Xena brand is partly a response to the current popularity of the superhero TV show genre (see also why NBC is bringing Heroes back). There is indeed room for more female superhero TV shows right now (a niche CBS hopes to partially fill with the Supergirl TV show arriving Fall 2015), so this Xena reboot may well come to pass – unlike the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot that faltered in early development.
The Xena: Warrior Princess reboot is currently being eyed for a 2016 debut. We’ll bring you more information when we have it.
Update Source: Lucy Lawless