NBC is not moving forward with the planned reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess. That result is a bit surprising, as every major network — whether it be on broadcast, cable or streaming — seems to be looking for their piece of the TV revival pie. Xena seemed like a natural choice to bring back too, as both the series and titular character have retained a fiercely loyal fan base in the 15-plus years since the two-part series finale originally aired.
Itself a spinoff of the Sam Raimi produced Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess debuted in fall 1995, ran for 6 seasons and 134 episodes total, and signed off in spring 2001. Over the course of its run, Xena in many ways eclipsed Hercules in both popularity and critical sentiment, becoming one of the few spinoffs that is generally much more well-regarded now than the show that spawned it.
For that reason, one would assume that Xena would be a can’t miss prospect for a reboot or revival series, but according to THR, NBC has opted not to continue with development of a proposed Xena reboot. The potential reboot was first announced in 2015, with Lost writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach coming aboard to pen the script in 2016. As of a few months ago though, Grillo-Marxuach exited over reported creative differences, and now NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke says that the project is officially dead at the network. Here’s her full quote:
“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.”
Interestingly, while Grillo-Marxuach never fully clarified what the creative differences were that led him to leave the Xena reboot, many fans have since speculated that his publicly stated desire to focus on and explore the often hinted at but never fully consummated on-screen romantic relationship between Xena and her friend/sidekick Gabrielle might have played a part in his departure.
While many fans nevertheless see Xena and Gabrielle being lovers as canon, the show could never really make things too explicit on that front back in the 90s. For his part, Grillo-Marxuach believed that today’s mass audience would be much more receptive to the idea of Xena’s two leads being romantic partners in a reboot. It’s unclear whether or not NBC disagreed on that point, or whether their problems with Grillo-Marxuach’s vision were unrelated to Xena and Gabrielle’s sexuality. Either way, it would appear that Xena will remain deceased for the time being.
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