The Xena: Warrior Princess reboot plans on embracing the gay, shedding the subtext in ’90s original gal pals Xena (Lucy Lawless) and her traveling bard Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) — and offering better representation for the LGBTQ community.
NBC has called on television screenwriter Javier Grillo-Marxuach, most recently known for serving as a writer and co-executive producer of CW’s The 100, to spearhead the new pilot for Xena.
Grillo-Marxuach, also known for his work on the first couple of seasons of ABC’s Lost and 90s witchy drama Charmed, intends on showcasing the chemistry and romantic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle as it is — as opposed to encouraging viewers to read between the lines.
In a diplomatic Q&A on Tumblr, Grillo-Marxuach addressed his intention of making Xena and Gabrielle’s romantic relationship canon in the new reboot. He also carefully separated his vision from that of his boss on The 100:
“i am a very different person with a very different world view than my employer on the 100 – and my work on the 100 was to use my skills to bring that vision to life,” wrote Grillo-Marxuach. “xena will be a very different show made for very different reasons. 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. it will also express my view of the world – which is only further informed by what is happening right now – and is not too difficult to know what that is if you do some digging.”
While the fate of another fictional queer woman will be left in the hands of yet another man — it’s at least somewhat comforting that his intentions and vision seems pure. Though accurate representation goes beyond the screen — Grillo-Marxuach’s ability to understand the LGBTQ community’s demands for better representation seems to be heard. The backlash over recent queer character death Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is still relevant. And with a recent survey that finds Generation Z identifying as more queer than heterosexual, it’s obvious that representation matters and that the current state of the entertainment industry needs to work on it.
It’s also clear that The 100 drama surrounding the show’s creator and audience is being noticed in the industry. This suggests a pressure for screenwriters to handle their characters more responsibly — and Grillo-Marxuach seems to get that.
While the Xena reboot’s destiny is still up in the air and remains in the earlier stages of development, paws crossed that audiences get Grillo-Marxuach writing it and NBC ordering it to series.
This is a good step for better representation for the LGBTQ community. Perhaps the next step will be to feature a queer couple of colour that resonates with audiences. Maybe we’ll get there too. Maybe some day.
Image credit: Xena: Warrior Princess/Tumblr/xenagabrielleherculesiolauscz