In the world of show business, revivals are always easier than new projects, and with changing times and attitudes it comes as no surprise that NBC has commissioned a pilot for a new series of Xena: Warrior Princess episodes. Australian actor Lucy Lawless reportedly will be replaced with a new star, while her butch leather skirt and Gabrielle’s bare midriff will go away in favor of more realistic costumes as inspired by the series Game of Thrones become the new armor.
But most intriguingly, Xena and Gabrielle will be completely out – no more story lines with Petracles, a man Xena was going to wed; or Caesar whom Xena thought she loved; or Borias who was destined to become the father of Xena’s son, Solan, but at the time they met, they were “just using each other”, to quote Xena. And what about Iolaus, Hercules, and Marcus, the latter supposedly Xena’s one true love? All just cover stories.
The new series has a totally upfront lesbian relationship. This alarms the bisexual community whose desire for sympathetic portrayals on stage and screen still are lacking.
Queer as Folk 2.0
Last summer there were numerous reports of a reboot of the Showtime’s 2001-2005 series Queer as Folk, with all new characters and situations, but it seems to have withered on the grapevine. With the actors from that series busy with other projects – Randy Harrison is currently playing the emcee in a brilliant new production of Cabaret that is touring the USA – all new actors would take up the roles the original actors brought to life.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter to celebrate ten years since the US show ended, showrunners Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman signalled their interest in bringing it back to screens.
Lipman is quoted as saying: “We’d be open to it, depending on the venue of a reboot.
“I think what would be interesting would be to explore our characters who are now in their 40s and bringing in a new generation and seeing how that mix would go.”
Xena and Lucy Lawless
“There is no reason to bring back Xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown sub-textually in first-run syndication in the 1990s,” Javier Grillo-Marxuach wrote recently. Nevertheless, the pair’s lingering glances, kisses and innuendo cemented them as lovers, not friends, for Xena: Warrior Princess fans. But the true extent of their feelings for each other were always cloaked in innuendo and were never addressed in the series – until now.
Newsweek cites a 2003 interview with Lesbian News, where Lawless describes Xena as “definitely” gay: “There was always a ‘Well, she might be or she might not be’ but when there was that drip of water passing between their lips in the very final scene, that cemented it for me,” says Lawless. “Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was ‘Nope, they’re married, man.’”