|Xena: Warrior Princess|
|Created by||John Schulian|
|Country of origin||New Zealand|
|No. of seasons||6|
|No. of episodes||134 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Robert Tapert, Sam Raimi|
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Original run||September 4, 1995 (1995-09-04) – May 21, 2001 (2001-05-21)|
|Related shows||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys|
Xena: Warrior PrincessEditXena is a fictional character from Robert Tapert's Xena: Warrior Princess franchise. She commonly wore a tight brown, skirted, leather outfit. She first appeared in the 1995–1999 television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, before going on to appear in Xena: Warrior Princess TV show and subsequent comic book of the same name. The character has also appeared in the spin-off animated movie The Battle for Mount Olympus, as well as numerous non-canon expanded universe material, such as books and video games. Xena was played by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless, and occasionally by Hudson Leick, during the series second season.
Xena is the protagonist of the story, and the series depicts her quest to seek redemption for her past sins as a ruthless warlord by using her formidable fighting skills to help people. In Hercules, during her two first episodes, Xena was an outlaw, but in the third (and last), she joins Hercules to defeat Darphus, who had taken her army. Aware that the character of Xena had been very successful among the public, the producers of the series decided to create a spin-off series based on her adventures. The character Gabrielle, introduced in the first episode, becomes Xena's greatest ally; her initial naïveté helps to balance Xena and assists her in recognizing and pursuing the "greater good". Lauren Chapluk would stunt-double for the actress in heavily demanding scenes that required extensive acrobatics and physical skill.
Lucy Lawless as Xena in Xena Warrior PrincessEdit
Xena originally appears as an outlaw in the Hercules episode "The Warrior Princess"; about ten years into her career of pillaging and marauding, Xena meets Hercules. Initially, she sets out to kill him. In "The Gauntlet", her army turns against her because of warlord Darphus' lust for power and believing Xena has become weak after she stops her lieutenant Darphus from killing a child in a sacked village. She runs a gauntlet, and survives, becoming the only person ever to survive the gauntlet. She then fights Hercules, in the hope that she will regain her army if she can bring back his head. Xena seems to be getting the upper hand until Hercules' cousin Iolaus intervenes, giving him the moment to regain composure and defeat her. However, Hercules refuses to kill Xena, telling her, "Killing isn't the only way of proving you're a warrior." Touched and inspired by Hercules' integrity, and by the fact that he too suffered the loss of blood kin as she did and yet chooses to fight in honor of them, she decides to join him and defeat her old army. In "Unchained Heart", Hercules tells Xena that there is goodness in her heart, and the two of them share a brief romantic relationship, before Xena decides to leave and start making amends for her past.
Xena returned in Robert Tapert's television series Xena: Warrior Princess, for all of the show's 134 episodes. In season one (1995–96), Xena, haunted by her past, determines to end her warrior ways. As she stripped off her armor and weaponry and buried them in the dirt, she saw a group of village girls attacked by a band of warriors. Among the girls is a young woman named Gabrielle (played by Renée O'Connor). Xena saves the girls, leaving Gabrielle in awe of the Warrior Princess' abilities. Gabrielle begs to be Xena's traveling companion, and over time, Gabrielle becomes Xena's dearest friend. In the Season Two (1996)-(1997), Xena meets Solan, the son she gave to the Centaurs to raise, and help them in a battle against Dagnine, an old enemy of hers, who has used the power of the Ixion Stone to transform himself into the most powerful centaur ever known. During the episode Intimate Stranger, Ares, the god of war, put Xena's soul inside Callisto's body, and Callisto's soul inside Xena's body. Hudson Leick playing Xena was done to cover for the lack for Lucy Lawless after her riding accident while taping The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 8, 1996. The episode originally had the two switching bodies back at the end, but was adapted to incorporate the body switch at the last minute. Ares broke the exchange in the next episode, Ten Little Warlords, when Xena helps him regain his immortality.
In Season Three (1997–98), while Xena was helping to defend Britannia against Caesar, Gabrielle comes into contact with an evil cult that tricks her into killing one of its priestesses, Meridian. Using her, the dark god Dahak impregnates Gabrielle just as Xena rescues her. Over the next two weeks, the child grows inside Gabrielle, and eventually she gives birth to a girl. Even though she is the seed of evil, Gabrielle tells Xena that she is also a part of her and that there must be some good in her as well; naming her Hope. Fearing that the child will become a danger to the world and be used as a pawn for her evil father, Xena wants to kill her, but unbeknownst to Xena, Gabrielle saves her daughter by putting her in a basket and sending her downriver. A few months later, Gabrielle finds Hope again, now looking like a 9 year old and already in the process of helping her father by implementing his plan to take over the world. Hope allies herself with Callisto, and in revenge for Xena's attempt to kill her as a baby, she murders Xena's son, Solan. This forces Gabrielle to accept that Hope is indeed dangerous. She kills her daughter by giving her poison, an act that continues to haunt Gabrielle throughout the series. Gabrielle holds herself responsible for Solan's death, as well as for betraying Xena a second time, even after reconciliation with Xena is achieved through the musical journey in the Land of Illusia. Therefore, when she once again encounters Hope, Gabrielle sacrifices herself to save Xena by jumping into a lava pit and taking Hope down with her. At the time, Hope was pregnant with Ares' child, the first Destroyer. It is later revealed that Ares teleported to an inner ledge inside the lava pit and saved Hope and Gabrielle, hoping to use the latter as a bargaining chip against Xena.
Xena begins Season 4 (1998–99) going to Hades looking for Gabrielle's soul. He tells her she is in the Amazon Land of the Dead. While there, Xena discovers an old ally, Alti, has enslaved the souls of an Amazon tribe, and kills her. Meanwhile, Alti plagues Xena with disturbing visions of her and Gabrielle being crucified, which convinced Xena that Gabrielle is alive. In the episode A Family Affair, Xena and her friend, Joxer, go to Potidaea, where Hope ultimately gives birth to the Destroyer. Impersonating Gabrielle, she returns to Gabrielle's hometown Potidaea. Xena later returns to Potidaea and is reunited with "Gabrielle". With news of a wild beast brutally murdering animals at night, Xena finds the Destroyer and barely escapes with her life. Discovering that she is dealing with Dahak's grandson, Xena deduces that "Gabrielle" is really Hope. After finding the real Gabrielle, they devise a plan to kill Hope and the Destroyer. Gabrielle finds the Destroyer, who, thinking she is its mother, hugs her. Xena uses this moment to stab it in the back with her sword, fatally wounding it. When Hope runs out to help her child, the Destroyer thinks she has betrayed it and stabs her before realizing how it has been tricked by Xena and Gabrielle. Crying, it hugs its mother as the two die in each other's arms. Later in Between The Lines, during a journey to India, Xena and Gabrielle meet the mysterious Naiyima, a mystical wise woman who reveals to Gabrielle that both she and Xena are destined to live many lives throughout the ages and that they are both bound to each other through a spiritual connection of karmic reincarnation. During this journey, they also encounter Alti once again, but with Naima's help, they are able to defeat her. Late in the season, during The Ides of March episode, Xena and Gabrielle are crucified by the Romans, as Caesar is betrayed and killed by Brutus. They are later revived by a mystic named Eli with the spiritual aid of Callisto, who by that time had become an angel.
In the Season 5 (1999–2000), Eve, the miracle child Xena conceives after her resurrection (again through the efforts of the redeemed Callisto), is prophesied to bring about the Twilight of the Olympian gods. To escape the gods' persecution, Xena and Gabrielle fake their deaths. Their plan goes awry when Ares buries them in an ice cave where they sleep for 25 years. During that time, Eve is adopted by the Roman nobleman Octavius and grows up to become Livia, the Champion of Rome, and a ruthless persecutor of Eli's followers. After her return, Xena is able to turn Livia to repentance, and Livia takes back the name Eve and becomes the Messenger of Eli. After Eve's cleansing by baptism, Xena is granted the power to kill gods as long as her daughter lives. In a final confrontation, the Twilight comes to pass when Xena kills most of the gods to save her daughter, and is herself saved by Ares when he gives up his immortality to heal the badly injured and dying Eve and Gabrielle.
In the final Season (2000-2001), Xena's quest for redemption ends when she sacrifices herself to kill Yodoshi, and decides to stay dead so the souls of the 40,000 she killed years ago could be released into a state of peace. However, her spirit is seen with Gabrielle in a ship shortly afterward. As noted in Season 4 by Naima, this is not the end of Xena's journey as she will eventually be reborn into a new life and identity to continue furthering the cause of good over evil.
It is safely assumed Gabrielle then travels to "the land of the pharaohs" which is in need of "a girl with a chakram". This now applies to Gabrielle instead of Xena, for by the end of the last episode, Gabrielle can use the chakram. In a symbolic gesture, she throws the chakram and catches it on its ricochet.
Xena has appeared in all of the series spin-offs, usually as the lead character. The animated movie Hercules and Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus marks the first appearance of Xena outside of the television series. She also appears in the comics series Xena: Warrior Princess, originally released by Topp and Dark Horse Comics. In 2007, Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to the book upon discovering the show still had many fans.
Xena is a playable character in the videogames Xena: Warrior Princess, and a selectable character in The Talisman of Fate. In 1999, Lucy Lawless also appeared in the animated television show The Simpsons dressed as her Xena character. In the movie Hamlet 2, the character Xena appears in the introduction.
Main article: Xena: Warrior Princess in popular cultureXena: Warrior Princess has been referred to as a pop cultural phenomenon and feminist and lesbian icon. The television series, which employed pop culture references as a frequent humorous device, has itself become a frequent pop culture reference in video games, comics and television shows, and has been frequently parodied and spoofed.
Xena: Warrior Princess has been credited by many, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, with blazing the trail for a new generation of female action heroes such as Buffy, Max of Dark Angel, Sydney Bristow of Alias, and Beatrix Kiddo a.k.a. the Bride in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.. The director Quentin Tarantino is also a fan of Xena.
Xena and Gabrielle's relationship (see Influence on the lesbian community) has been cited as one of the reasons why the series has been so popular, coupled with the denials of her character's lesbianism from Lawless while the series was running.
- ^ "Intimate Stranger". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1996-11-11.
- ^ "Ten Little Warlords". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1996-11-18.
- ^ a b "The Deliverer". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1997-10-20.
- ^ a b "Gabrielle's Hope". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1997-10-27.
- ^ "The Bitter Suite". Xena: Warrior Princess. 1998-02-02.
- ^ "Soul Possession". Xena: Warrior Princess. 2001-06-04.
- ^ "Blackwell Synergy - J Popular Culture, Volume 32 Issue 2 Page 79-86, Fall 1998" . www.blackwell-synergy.com. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.0022-3840.1998.00079.x . Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- ^ Atara Stein, "XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, THE LESBIAN GAZE, AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF A FEMINIST HEROINE " (1998).
- ^ Janet K. Boles, Diane Long Hoeveler (2004). Historical Dictionary of Feminism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810849461.
- ^ "What we owe Xena" . Cathy Young. http://www.cathyyoung.net/features/whatweowexena.html . Retrieved 2006-10-31.
- ^ Whatever Turns You On: Becoming-Lesbian and the Production of Desire in the Xenaverse