AAAAAA-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI-YI!!!…. In case you were wondering, that’s not my keyboard getting stuck, but rather an impersonation of the (in)famous ululating “Callisto Scream” war cry used by Lucy Lawless’ Xena during the much beloved show’s tenure during the mid-90’s to early 2000’s. Launched as a spinoff of the Kevin Sorbo starring Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess would soon greatly eclipse that show in popularity with it’s tongue in cheek mix of Greek mythology, good natured cheese and of course the charming wiles of Lawless herself. And now, two decades after it was first heard, Xena’s war cry may heard on TV again.
THR is reporting that NBC are currently developing a reboot of the show, with original creators Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert – the latter of which ended up marrying Lawless – also involved in the project. This new show is being called a “modern reboot”, and looks to be focusing on a new actress who will take up the mantle. It is still unclear if Lawless will be involved at all, though THR’s sources claim that the studio would like her to put in an appearance in some shape and form both in front of and behind the camera on the series. The fact that [SPOILER ALERT] the character of Xena died in the original series’ finale may complicate matters when it comes to her reprising the role.
This new version of the show is being geared for a 2016 release, although NBC are still on the hunt for a writer. It’s uncertain if this new Xena will be a full-length series or whether it will be following the current trend favoured by recent revivals of having a lower-episode count event series.
What is known at this point though, is that NBC, Tapert and Raimi are looking for a very specific actress to fill Lawless’ iconic leather skirt, describing the potential candidate as needing “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 original show ran for six seasons from 1995 to 2001, and followed the Amazon Xena as she roamed the lands on a quest for redemption, often accompanied by her companion Gabrielle (Renne O’Connor). The show also boasted regular Sam Raimi collaborator Bruce Campbell in its recurring cast as Autolycus, the King of Thieves. Lawless, Campbell and Raimi will soon be teaming up again on another fan-favourite revival project in Ash vs Evil Dead.
As chance would have it, while promoting that show about a week ago, Lawless told HitFix about how she would like to bring Xena back to the screen:
“I’ve been pitching that show … because … there’s a swell of interest still. I’m always being peppered with questions [about] when the Xena movie is coming. Guys, I’m pitching my ass off to make it happen, whether it’s with me or not. I think it’d be funny to have a reboot like Ash vs. Evil Dead — like middle-aged Xena in a muumuu with a bad attitude and a smoking habit. … Bring [actor] Ted Raimi [who played Joxer] in … [and maybe] Bruce Campbell.”
“I don’t know what the hold-up is; it’s about who has got the rights. But that’s a piss-poor excuse anymore. Find who has got the rights, freakin’ pay it. It’s better to have 80 percent of something than 100 percent of nothing. Don’t waste this opportunity; reinvigorate that franchise! It’s an insane international character. They’re fools not to bring it back. It’s funny, it’s sexy, it’s action.”
Well, it looks like somebody freakin’ paid and Lawless got her wish. So are you happy that Xena is coming back, or you bummed that it won’t be Lucy Lawless herself that gets to reprise the role?
UPDATE: It seems we started getting excited a little too early as Lucy Lawless has taken to Twitter to shoot down the reports of a Xena reboot, saying it’s no more than “wishful thinking”.
Sorry, friends! news of a #Xena reboot is just a rumor. I’d love it to happen one day but it’s still in the wishful thinking stage.
— Lucy Lawless (@RealLucyLawless) July 20, 2015
Last Updated: July 21, 2015