Game of Thrones forever changed the fantasy landscape on TV, and now it may be responsible for changing Xena: Warrior Princess in a big way. Can two sexy bikini-clad warriors still survive on the small screen? Or will Xena and her best pal Gabrielle have to trade up their skimpy costumes for heavy armor? That's the dilemma facing Xena: Warrior Princess reboot show runners who aren't quite sure how to move forward with their retooled series.
What can fans expect if Xena: Warrior Princess actually gets the green light at NBC? Xena comic writer Genevieve Valentine and writer-producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach recently participated in a length Q&A session with io9, and they reveal that Xena and Gabrielle may or may not have to wear more clothes. The challenge right now is coming up with costumes that fit in with the current fantasy genre, and what fans have come to expect, while not losing the sexy edge of the original. Javier Grillo-Marxuach explains how Game of Thrones' fully armored Brienne of Tarth makes rebooting Xena a little more difficult.
"A great deal of the appeal of the show lies in certain pulpy elements, like Gabrielle's bare midriff, Xena's leather miniskirt, Callisto's amazing and gravity-defying...Well, you get it...And it's hard for me in the post-Brienne of Tarth era to reconcile with the idea that Xena and her friends can meet every challenge in such skimpy outfits. I think we are going to have some very lengthy discussions about how to bring those elements into the present day without missing the boat on what makes Xena exactly what she is; and how to have our cake and eat it too."
The showrunner goes onto reveal that the new Xena: Warrior Princess will be much more serialized the episodic original, which successfully ran in syndication from 1995 to 2001. The series will not rely on too many standalone stories, with each episode important to the next in continuing the overall dramatic arc. Says Javier Grillo-Marxuach.
"One big thing is that we are telling a much more serialized story than the show ever tackled. So formally we are already treading some very different ground - and while the characters will occupy roughly the same thematic spaces they did in the original, some of their backstories will be changed, and some of their morality will be tweaked so that we can tell a long-arcing story in which every episode leads directly into the next. It's a delicate balancing act."
The most sensitive subject in terms of rebooting Xena: Warrior Princess is finding new actresses to replace Lucy Lawless and Renée O'Connor. A majority of the fan base wants to see the original Xena and Gabrielle returning. But that's probably not going to happen. And the casting search is currently on two find their replacements. Says the showrunner.
"...Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor are not going to be Xena and Gabrielle. That already has a lot of people in an uproar. The question of reboot vs. revival is a very relevant now that The X-Files has been revived with the original cast, and so has Star Wars... and because the die hard fans want to see their beloved actors in the role. And look, I love these actors in these roles as much as I love William Shatner as Kirk, Sean Connery as Bond, and Lynda Carter as Diana Prince - so why does this need to be a reboot and not a continuation? The answer for me is that the reboot is not a repudiation of the classic show, but rather a compliment to it. I want for Xena to be a cultural icon for longer than my tenure in the entertainment industry, or that of anyone else involved with the project. If, in some far future, people assume that Xena is a character from the greek mythological pantheon alongside Hercules, and that's why so many people have played her over so many years? That right there would be success."
What do you think about all of these changes? Do you agree that Xena: Warrior Princess needs to be a reboot and not a revival? Should Xena and her BFF enter the ring wearing unpeircable armor, or does all the appeal of the show rest within those medieval bikinis and miniskirts? Is this version of Xena destined to fail is it goes too far off the path? Sound off in the comments below!