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Despite public statements from former star Lucy Lawless, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the network is looking for a way to reboot the beloved series in which she starred as the warrior princess.
“Yes, we’re in the early stages of developing a new take on Xena and we’re looking for a writer. We want to do it,” Greenblatt told THR on Wednesday night at NBCUniversal’s Television Critics Association summer press tour party at Spago.
As THR exclusively reported in July, NBCUniversal International is prepping a Xena reboot with original series executive producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi. Sources tell THR that the new, modern Xena would have to have the charisma and charm of 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.
“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, confirming that “there is a deal with Sam and Rob Tapert to produce, and it’s with NBC International.”
While the executive noted that it was too early to tell what the focus for a new Xena would be, he said much of the creative would depend on the writer’s vision. Sources indicate that the network is meeting with their top choice for a scribe for the potential series, though who that is is being kept under wraps.
As for whether Lawless would have an onscreen role, Greenblatt noted that he’s open to it — on one condition.
“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. 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.
Greenblatt’s comments come after Lawless tweeted that news of a Xena reboot was “just a rumor” and told reporters at TCA — where she and Raimi were promoting Starz’s Evil Dead sequel Ash vs. Evil Dead — that the trio weren’t involved in a reboot.
“They could be doing it without us. They have the right to, don’t they?” she said. “I’d love to see it happen, and I know that NBC wants to do it, but they’re just trying to find a way and a time.”
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