A little less than a month ago (at the time of writing this), word came down that NBC is actively pursuing a reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess with original series executive producer Sam Raimi. However, while the news was worth noting, it lacked any further detail concerning the project
Xena herself, Lucy Lawless, subsequently announced online that a Xena TV show reboot is something being actively discussed, but that it’s “still in the wishful thinking stage.” Jump ahead to the present and it would appear that not much has changed on that front yet.
While making the 2015 TCA (Television Critics Association press tour) rounds, NBC network president Bob Greenblatt further confirmed that a Xena reboot is being discussed. However, like Lawless, he emphasized that the project is still in the very early stages of development, saying (hat tip THR):
Yes, we’re in the early stages of developing a new take on Xena and we’re looking for a writer. We want to do it. I don’t think it’s just a continuation, but we haven’t gotten that far. I think it’s a great character, and we should try to figure out how to revive it somehow… there is a deal with Sam [Raimi] and Rob Tapert to produce, and it’s with NBC International.
As to the possibility that Lawless (who’s also married to Tapert and worked recently with Raimi on Ash vs. Evil Dead) will reprise as the show’s namesake, Greenblatt replied:
“We’d love to have Lucy be a part of it — if we felt that her presence didn’t overshadow the direction we take with it. I’m not sure how she could be part of it if she wasn’t playing Xena, and I don’t know if that’s a direction we’ll ever go.”
Is it great that NBC is so adamant about making this happen? Yes, of course. Xena is a series that still lives on today as a fan favorite – perhaps even more so than its predecessor, Hercules – and it’s title character captures the hearts and minds of many fans everywhere even to this day. That said, there’s something odd about how NBC seems to have all but green-lit the project without there being a writer onboard.
The way television development is supposed to go (even in cases of IP adaptation) is writers walk in with pitches, then the networks decide which vision they like and green-light it for potential pilot pick-up or direct-to-series order. In cases such as Xena, potential writers would have to specifically come up with new takes of Xena, and only then, once the vision has been agreed upon, would network issue a green-light. Is NBC putting the cart before the horse here?
By striking the deal with Raimi, the network has essentially already green-light the series without a script. While common practice in film, it’s not something that’s as conducive to television when a series needs to be able to run for an extended length of time. However, it’s really hard to make that happen when the network is too busy trying to hit a date during the development phase to bother reading and listening to various pitches from writers. But hey, at least they “want to make it.” That’s enough, right?
Stay tuned for more on Xena: Warrior Princess as the story develops.