[This post contains spoilers about The 100.]
The furor over a recent episode of The 100 has indirectly resulted in an update on NBC’s Xena: Warrior Princess revival series. The death of The 100’s Lexa, following the consummation of her relationship with Clarke, sparked public outcry over the show’s handling of openly LGBTQI characters. Although Lexa’s shocking death could be attributed to Alycia Debnam-Carey’s series regular role on Fear The Walking Dead, it’s also part of an all-too-common trend on TV, one that’s seen lesbian and bisexual characters summarily dispatched or otherwise killed off in service of the story (to varying effect).
In an episode of The 100 podcast The Dropship, series writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach confirmed that Debnam-Carey’s AMC commitments had contributed to the decision, while also acknowledging the loss of the character potentially made for “a political statement that we were not comfortable with.” He also invoked the peril and “high stakes” of the series. But when asked by a fan whether the backlash would influence The 100’s future storytelling and/or the developing Xena revival—which Grillo-Marxuach is writing and executive producing—the Lost alum appeared to take exception with the direction the episode took.
Grillo-Marxuach posted his response to the query on Tumblr, in which he acknowledged that he has a “very different worldview” from his employer at The 100. And Lexa’s fate appears to have inspired him to share his intention to dispense with the subtext and write Xena as an openly gay character in the reboot.
“There is no reason to bring back Xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s. [I]t will also express my view of the world - which is only further informed by what is happening right now - and is not too difficult to know what that is if you do some digging.”
The original series never explicitly stated that Xena and Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) were lovers, but the chemistry was undeniable, even for non-’shippers. Even Lucy Lawless told the Lesbian News in 2003 that the two women were “Gay, Gay. Definitely,” so here’s hoping Grillo-Marxuach gets the chance to follow through with his intentions.