Xena – Warrior Princess: the heroine becomes legend

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995) © IMDB

She is a warrior, alone against a world ravaged by wars, deceptions, and relentless gods. Among villains, heroes of Olympus, and monstrous creatures, Xena becomes the champion of humanity with her inseparable friend OGabrielle.

Are you ready for a sword and fighting adventure? Today, we take a behind-the-scenes trip to Xena – Warrior Princess.

From merciless assassin to valiant warrior

Xena – Warrior Princess is the story of Xena, a fierce fighter, and her friend Gabrielle, a cunning talker; the first played by the splendid Lucy Lawless, the second played by the talented Renée O’Connor.

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
Lucy Lawless in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
© IMDB

This heroine is trapped in a past of wickedness in the name of the god Mars, and a present of constant amends and repentance. Instead of being a champion of good, she put her sword skills at the disposal of a sensual and gory god, sly and deceitful. When she chooses to change the course of her life to protect the innocent, it is thanks to meeting Gabrielle, a simple but brilliant girl, that she manages to keep herself on the right path.

In Ancient Greece, cursed by the presence of relentless gods and mythological creatures, Xena has to accept one challenge after another, which she can overcome thanks to the precious help of Gabrielle. This double nature of the protagonist ─ the cruel murderer and the courageous champion ─ is what has always fascinated the audience of this TV series. Xena – Warrior Princess has been able to propose the model of a heroine to be imitated, who nevertheless possesses fragility and weaknesses, along with a past of mistakes.

Lucy Lawless and Kevin Smith in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
Lucy Lawless and Kevin Smith in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
© IMDB

Xena takes her life in hand, chooses the most difficult path, and makes herself available to others, trying to take responsibility for the evil deeds committed in the past. Redemption is far away, but it is never too late to seek it.

The mythological world of Xena

Released for the first time in 1995, Xena – Warrior Princess consists of six seasons, for a total of 134 episodes, shot in the evocative landscapes of New Zealand. The show is in the historical fantasy genre with many references to Greek and Roman mythology. The story is set in Greece, however, it is studded with erroneous details, inaccuracies, and a mixture of Greek and Roman gods.

We find the Cyclops, the goddess Aphrodite, Prometheus, and Hercules, but also Mars, Julius Caesar, and Venus. The choice to borrow references and themes of mythology from all over the world takes away the credibility of this series by relegating it to a world of fantasy, heroes, and legends. Perhaps, the decision to give this incoherent mold to the show may seem risky; however, it confers that extra touch of unreality and magic, that has attracted thousands of viewers.

Hudson Leick in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
Hudson Leick in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
© IMDB

The fascination with classical mythology is indisputable. And despite there are many contradictions and inaccuracies, Xena – Warrior Princess has been able to make the most of the magic of myths and legends, seeking precisely that somewhat mysterious and wild atmosphere typical of mythology. It is a television series without too many pretensions about reality; it is entertainment, between comedy and ethical dilemmas. This aura of lightness with a pinch of modern problems made it a cult of the 90s.

The importance of Gabrielle

If Xena’s most powerful weapon is her physical strength, Gabrielle’s is certainly intelligence. Chatty, smart, and a bit clumsy, Gabrielle is also a bearer of knowledge, she knows how to tell stories and always tries to compensate for her inability to fight with the cunning of the mind.

Renée O'Connor in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
Renée O’Connor in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995) © IMDB

She is the ideal adventure companion for Xena, together they complete and build a unique friendship. They are two very different women, yet they manage to find the perfect balance to become inseparable. Gabrielle represents the truest, most human part of Xena, and Xena represents Gabrielle’s inner strength.

The importance of this character in the show is fundamental. She is the main character’s helper, and she shows us that offering help is something precious, not to be underestimated. It shows us that whoever offers support and friendship is not a secondary character, but the main one. We are all someone’s helpers and we should be proud of that.

Lucy Lawless after Xena

Lucy Lawless and Renée O'Connor in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor in Xena: Principessa guerriera (1995)
© IMDB

The great strength of Xena – Warrior Princess was the face lent to the character. The beautiful Lucy Lawless has become almost one with Xena, no other actress could ever fill that role with the same intensity. She was able to use very well her blue gaze that from cold and merciless could be amused and jaunty and sensual. She was able to grasp every nuance of the warrior, always with an ironic smile on her face, or the anger of the outraged heroine.

At the time of Xena, when filming began on Season 1, Lucy Lawless was only 27, and she turned this character into her jewel. Xena was her most complete interpretation, so much so that after the end of the series, the actress continued to play strong, stubborn women, sometimes cruel. We find her playing prominent roles in several TV series, including Battlestar Galactica, Spartacus, Salem, and Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Today, Lucy Lawless is 54 years old, is an ambassador for Greenpeace, and is the protagonist in a crime comedy series, My life is Murder, in the role of Alexa Crowe, in which she returned to work with Renée O’Connor.

Be like Xena

As children, staring wide-eyed at the television, where this brave and skilled sword-wielding heroine always defeated enemies, we all wanted at least once to be Xena.

The indestructible, strong, powerful Xena, was not afraid of anyone and could stand up to everyone. Xena herself has become a myth and legend. “The invincible warrior princess forged by the fire of a thousand battles.” And perhaps, as we grow up, we have all become a little bit Xena: when we find the courage to make the most difficult decision; in the moments when we choose not to break down in the face of injustices; when we find the strength to take our life in hand and stand up to the rest of the world; the times when we walk with our heads held high and try to feel invincible, despite our many frailties.

Xena is still a cult, and will always remain timeless, which is why she becomes part of the Old But Gold column. With her leather bodice and the inevitable chakram, she still lives in her fantasy world where history gives way to legend.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.