'Xena: Warrior Princess' Reboot Dead at NBC

Xena: Warrior Princess Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Photofest

Xena: Warrior Princess Still - H 2015

NBC's Xena: Warrior Princess reboot is not going forward.

After parting ways with writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost) a few months ago, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said the proposed revival in its most recent form is dead.

"Nothing is happening on that right now. We looked at some material; we decided at that point that it didn't warrant the reboot," Salke tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I'd never say never on that one because it's such a beloved title, but the current incarnation of it is dead."

Xena: Warrior Princess was poised to get the revival treatment — with a new actress taking on the role made famous by Lucy Lawless. Xena co-creator Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi were on board to oversee the NBC International Television Studios entry via their Ghost House Pictures banner.

Grillo-Marxuach announced that he had exited the project in April, citing creative differences. His vision for a Xena revival suggested that he would have explored the romantic relationship that existed between Xena (Lawless) and her sidekick, Gabrielle (played by Renee O'Connor in the original).

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"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-Marxuach said in March 2016. 

Xena diehards viewed the characters as a romantic pair, a notion that was often hinted at on the show but never fully confirmed. Lawless backed the idea of Xena and Gabrielle as a couple, saying in 2003 that the final scene of the series — featuring a kiss between them —  confirmed "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.'"

As for the NBC take, Salke confirmed that the network remains open to doing a Xena revival at some point down the line. "I need someone to come in with a point of view about what they want to do," Salke said.

The original series was produced by Studios USA and international producers Universal Worldwide Television and was distributed by Universal Television. Xena ran in syndication for six seasons from September 1995 to June 2001. It started as a spinoff from Hercules after producers realized how popular the Xena (Lawless) character was and opted to launch a new series built around the Amazon warrior on a quest for redemption with her trusted companion Gabrielle.

Meanwhile, reboots continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms look for proven IP in a cluttered and competitive landscape that's rapidly approaching 500 originals.