There’s one less reboot on television’s reboot-heavy agenda. NBC is scrapping its plans for a revival of the beloved ’90s series,Xena: Warrior Princess, which was slated to focus more on the lesbian relationship between the Amazonian heroine and her sidekick Gabrielle.
Reboot plans had been looking shaky since April, when writer and showrunner Javier Grillo-Marxuach (of Lost fame) confirmed he was leaving the project, citing creative differences. It’s believed that these may have related to Grillo-Marxuach’s desire to put the romantic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle front and center. Now NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke has confirmed the revival won’t be going ahead at all.
It seems like a strange moment to abandon a highly anticipated, feminist reboot. The last few years have seen a surge in revivals of iconic ’90s shows, from Twin Peaks to The X-Files, and Xena certainly fits this mold. Amazonian warrior princesses are very in right now, with a sequal to box office smash Wonder Woman already in the works, meaning there’s clearly an audience for a Xena reboot. The cancellation also comes at a time when the world needs strong female and LGBTQ representation more than ever. Xena, like Wonder Woman, is much more than a sexy, sword-wielding heroine. The original show was beloved for its emphasis on female strength and friendship. While it did recieve criticism for unwillingness to be open about the nature of Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship, 2017’s reboot was expected to be out and proud.
NBC hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a future reboot enitrely, with Salke telling the Hollywood Reporter “never say never.” For now you can still watch Lucy Lawless as the original warrior princess beheading her male enemies and loving her female friends (and lovers) on Hulu.