After many ups and downs, the Xena: Warrior Princess revival is on the horizon, and it’s going to be gayer and better (better, we presume, because it will be gayer) than ever. To get you ready for the revival and to mark the upcoming 15th anniversary of the cult fantasy series’ finale, Entertainment Weekly tapped co-creator Rob Tapert and stars Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor to flesh out an oral history of “how Xena went from sword-wielding heroine to feminist icon.”
One of the most important takeaways from the oral history is Lawless’ reaction to learning that fans were starting to see a romantic connection between Xena and O’Connor’s character Gabrielle—subtext that will supposedly be brought to the surface in the revival. According to Lawless, the Xena team received faxes (yes, faxes) of Village Voice articles describing the lesbian love story at the heart of Xena. “Renée and I looked at each other and went, ‘Lesbians? Really? Okay,’” Lawless says. “It was fine with us.” But outside pressure kept a lot of that subtext from coming to life on the show. “The studio was so concerned that it would be perceived as a lesbian show that they would not allow us to have Xena and Gabrielle in the same frame of the opening titles,” Tapert adds.
When discussing some of the campy elements of the show, Lawless remarks: “We were cheese, but we were good cheese. Who doesn’t like good cheese?” It looks like the revival has found its slogan: “Who doesn’t like good cheese?” Lawless also explains how being crucified is hands-down her “least favorite way to die.” Check out the full oral history to learn more about Xena’s origins and legacy.