It’s been over 20 years since Xena: Warrior Princess first came to our screens, but the love of Xena (and Gabrielle) burns as bright as ever. Now Xena’s coming back, in a big way. We asked Javier Grillo-Marxuach, showrunner of the new Xena TV show, and Genevieve Valentine, writer of the new Xena comic book, to interview each other about the love of Xena. The results were even better than we had hoped!
Javier: You get to play in the classic Xena universe: of all the items in that massive toy box, which are most excited to play with, and how are you giving them your own spin?
Genevieve: I considered keeping things minimal, building up slowly. But that show never did a minimal thing in its life, and so this story is more like that person at the buffet whose first plate is nine layers deep. I have surprisingly few regrets. It helps that you’re absolutely right about the show’s fearlessness; it was definitely casual about stuff like squashing disparate pantheons of gods into a documentary, or repeatedly killing its leads, so it rewards practically anything you want to try.
The thing I might be most excited to center in my story is the tension between Xena’s past and Gabrielle’s future. They meet one another when Xena’s trying to shake off a loaded lifetime full of people and events that shaped her so she can make amends, and Gabrielle’s just trying to live a life at all. As they grow together over the course of the series, it’s interesting to see how each of them tries to negotiate the oncoming world. On the one hand, you have a penance-ready Xena flashback for every occasion, which is great, and means I can include a lot of characters while honoring a 25-year time jump. But Gabrielle’s the Queen of the Amazons, she has visions, and she’s a bard—someone trying to shape the future with stories. Xena’s essential question at that point is “How can I help?” and Gabrielle’s is “What can I do?”, and often those work in sync—but sometimes they absolutely don’t, and that’s something I’m looking forward to digging into. (Also I’m desperate to have them infiltrate a casino, obviously.)