Did The Proposed “Xena” Revival’s Focus On Same-Sex Relationships Kill The Series?

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TV reboots and revivals are big these days…what easier way to draw the public to your series than to use the characters and ideas that worked before? But sometimes the stars just aren’t aligned, and a planned “2.0” of a certain popular show just doesn’t happen.

Case in point: a proposed reboot of the 1990s series Xena: Warrior Princess, which The Hollywood Reporter says is now “dead” at NBC.

The new series, helmed by Lost writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, would have cast new actresses as Xena and Gabrielle—and explored the romantic relationship between the characters (something the original show, which ran in syndication from 1995 to 2001, mostly hinted at). It might have been exactly this expanded element of the reboot that possibly doomed the project.

Grillo-Marxuach announced that he exited “Xena” in April, citing “creative differences.” What could those creative differences have been? The writer/producer had said in the past that “…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.”

Then there is Grillo-Marxuach’s statement to The Mary Sue after his announcement that he left the project:

I truly hope that the alchemy of creative elements that has to come together to make possible either a reboot or revival of this amazing property will someday coalesce, and that Xena will return in a way that does honor to what came before while looking to the future.

The “looking to the future” part might have referring again to his desire to more openly show the Xena/Gabrielle romantic relationship.

While there’s no confirmation that this absolutely was a factor in Grillo-Marxuach’s departure, it seems likely that his absence ultimately led to the project dying at NBC.

But the network claims they are still open to a revival of Xena, given the right showrunner who can “come in with a point of view about what they want to do.” Which…is kind of what Grillo-Marxuach already did, but never mind.

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