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NBC is moving forward with its Xena: Warrior Princess reboot.
The network has tapped Lost alum Javier Grillo-Marxuach to pen the script for the project, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Grillo-Marxuach, who was part of the Emmy-winning drama win for Lost in 2004, will exec produce the Xena reboot alongside co-creator Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi, who will oversee the NBC International Television Studios entry via their Ghost House Pictures banner.
Sources tell THR that the reboot will follow a new, modern Xena, with the lead actress needing to have the charisma and charm of original star Lucy Lawless and the smarts of The Hunger Games‘ Katniss as producers are said to be looking for a sophisticated and smart superhero for a new generation. The potential series is being eyed for 2016.
Lawless, who is married to Tapert, is not currently involved in the NBC reboot.
“We’d love to have Lucy be a part of it — if we felt that her presence didn’t overshadow the direction we take with it,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told THR in August. “I’m not sure how she could be part of it if she wasn’t playing Xena, and I don’t know if that’s a direction we’ll ever go,” he said, noting that he’d be open to having the actress — who is married to Tapert — involved creatively behind the scenes.”
Xena was created by John Schulian and Tapert and produced by Tapert, Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell’s Renaissance Pictures, Studios USA and Universal Television, the latter of which distributed the series in more than 108 countries around the globe. The drama was a cult favorite and ratings hit, ranking in the top five syndicated programs during each of its six seasons.
“I don’t think it’s just a continuation, but we haven’t gotten that far. I think it’s a great character, and we should try to figure out how to revive it somehow,” Greenblatt said.
For his part, Grillo-Marxuach’s credits include a WGA Award for Lost in 2006 for best dramatic series and a nomination for the same category a year later. The prolific writer’s résumé includes Helix, Charlie’s Angels, The Middleman, Medium, Boomtown, The Chronicle and Charmed. He’s repped by ICM Partners and Jackoway Tyerman.
Revisiting Xena comes as reboots continue to be in high demand as broadcast and cable networks alike look to proven commodities (and fan bases) to cut through the clutter in an increasingly competitive scripted landscape. Key to their success is having the original producers involved. Fox is bringing The X-Files back in January and has plans to produce another run of Prison Break after successfully reviving 24. Over at CBS, the network has found success with a remake of Limitless with star Bradley Cooper attached as an EP and recurring player and will bow its Rush Hour adaptation come midseason.
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