For a few years now, NBC has been attempting to revive beloved ’90s series ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ for a new generation. Original creators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert were attached. This was in 2015, with an eye on having the show on the air in 2016, but obviously that never happened. Javier Grillo-Marxuach (‘Lost’, ‘The 100’) was brought on to script the pilot and executive produce with Raimi and Tapert, but eventually walked away over “insurmountable creative differences.” (More on that in a sec…) Now it’s official. For the time being at least, ‘Xena’ is dead at NBC.
As reported by THR, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke stated:
“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… I need someone to come in with a point of view about what they want to do.”
Grillo-Marxuach reportedly wanted to cater to the shippers by clearly establishing a romantic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. (Lucy Lawless played Xena on the original, and Renee O’Connor played Gabrielle. The new series would have been recast.) In 2016, the writer said, “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 subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s.”
Now, it’s not clear that that is the reason why NBC didn’t move forward with the revival. After all, the network was developing a reboot of the ’80s murder-mystery series ‘Hart To Hart’ which would have featured a gay male couple in the leads, but that was also in 2015, so it’s unclear if that project has also been derailed.
But for whatever reason, now was not the time for ‘Xena’. NBC has struggled in the genre department in recent years anyway, so maybe that isn’t quite the home for it. Their longest running genre series, ‘Grimm’ was cancelled earlier this year, after its sixth season. ‘Heroes: Reborn’ was a huge flop, despite much buzz before it launched. They also failed to make a hit out of the DC Comics adaptation ‘Constantine’, while The CW has practically built their entire network around other DC-based shows.
But Salke’s statement that there is still a chance NBC will revisit the concept in the future.
In the meantime, Lawless will return in 2018 for ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ Season Three on STARZ, executive produced by Raimi and Taper.
Are you upset that ‘Xena’ won’t be back on TV any time soon? Or are you happier that they’re currently leaving well-enough alone?