Word just broke that the long-rumored Xena reboot has finally materialized. While Lucy Lawless doesn’t seem to be involved in the project, Sam Raimi is back at the helm.
I admit that I had a lot of qualms about the idea of a Xena reboot when I first heard about it several months ago. Xena was one of my favorite shows growing up, and there’s a lot that could have gone wrong with a reboot if the project was handed off to the wrong people. Xena was a show that revolved around a layered and deep friendship between two women, and had a remarkable amount of diversity. Sam Raimi never shied from casting black actors, unlike many Hollywood types in his position who create a whites-only narrative behind the flimsy–and ironically inaccurate–excuse of “because historical accuracy!!!”
Learning that Javi Grillo-Marxuach (known for Lost, The Middleman, Helix, and seaQuest) is also signed on has given me quite a bit of hope for the series. I find this quote from the Cnet article I linked above particularly reassuring:
Let me give you an itty-bitty peek at the store by telling you a few words you won’t be hearing from me: Grim. Gritty. Dire. Depressing.
I’ve made no effort to hide how I’m bored of and exhausted by the 2edgy4me grimdark “not afraid to GO THERE” trend that has throttled the creativity and joy out of so many properties in recent years. If the Xena reboot will build on the fun and adventurous spirit of the original ahow, then I’m all for it.
My deepest desire is that they keep the balance between two differing types of feminine personalities: Xena the ass-kicker and her more diplomatic counterpart. So often in TV, movies, books, and games, women are left with one female character and a mass of male characters. As no single female character can speak to every female audience member, there’s often a very unsatisfying attempt to create a generic “strong female character” while the male characters are given distinct and unique personalities that set them apart from one another.
Xena never strayed into that territory because with abundance of female presence, there was something for everybody. The women were all allowed to be different and have their own flaws and strengths. Some were soft and quiet, some were loud and aggressive, some driven by love, some driven by vengeance, and many were blends of traits that were commonly attributed to women or men. It’s a theme I genuinely hope will continue on in the new series.
PS: Dear God I hope they bring back Joxer the Mighty. My fangirlism for Ted Raimi is just as strong at 30 as it was when I was 13.