Back in the 1990s when LGBT representation on television was incredibly limited or stereotypical, one show managed to buck the trend – “Xena: Warrior Princess”. The series revolved around the titular warrior and her sidekick Gabrielle (played by Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor respectively) as they battled mythological creatures throughout Ancient Greece.
It was a deep friendship between the two women that often went beyond that, never getting erotically explicit but often strongly suggested throughout the show’s six season run. Those involved in the series had no problem admitting it, Lawless in a 2003 interview saying: “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.'”
Now, with a reboot of the property in development at NBC, new series showrunner Javier Grillo-Marxauch has spoken about his plans for the series saying that with the changing times comes the ability to be more explicit with the relationship: “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.”
Grillo-Marxauch has worked on numerous shows including “Lost,” “Charmed” and currently The CW’s “The 100” which has run into some hot water with LGBT fans in recent weeks over a story point I won’t spoil here. Grillo-Marxauch has since engaged with fans on his own blog and is leaving that show at the end of the current season to work on other projects – namely “Xena” which he plans to be very faithful to – saying “her past will be every bit as dark as it was in the original series”.