Image credit: © MGP, Inc./Grecco.com
Xena: Warrior Princess might be getting a reboot, but we have the original Xena from 1995 right here. Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor captivate us as Xena and Gabrielle, making their way across Ancient Greece and fearlessly conquering all those who oppose them.
When the show oiginally aired, it was praised for it's strong female protagonists — a quality that is still respected. Filmed in New Zealand, the original Xena has garned fame with cult followings and loving parodies. It has also been a major influence on other television series. Despite it's popularity, there still might be some things you never knew about your favorite Kiwi princess.
Speaking of Kiwi…
Xena was not the only Kiwi in the cast.
Lucy Lawless is a proud New Zealander. As it turns out, much of the cast was locally sourced. Kevin Smith (Ares), Karl Urban (Julius Caesar), Marton Csokas (Borias) and Danielle Cormack (Ephiny) are also Kiwis, to name a few.
The fight choreography was inspired by Chinese cinema.
Ever heard of the Hong Kong film The Bride with the White Hair? Yeah, neither had we. However, you might want to check it out. Xena: Warrior Princess was inspired by the righteous kung fu fighting found in Ronny Yu's 1993 film. If you like all the backflips, sword throwing and arrow shooting in Xena, you can thank Ronny Yu.
Photo: Mandarin Films Distribution Co. Ltd. via Movies Film Cine
The creators of Xena love pulling a fast one on you.
This show doesn't stop at the final scene. The creators wanted to keep audiences watching until the very last credit rolled. Literally! The end credits are known for packing quippy disclaimers that are begging to be discovered by eagle-eyed fans. For example…
"Excessive belching can cause brain damage and social ostracism. Kids, please don't give in to peer pressure. Play it safe." ("The Greater Good")
"No Hollywood producers were harmed during the production of this motion picture." ("The Xena Scrolls")
"By popular demand, the executioner will bring back his comfortable lightweight cotton-flax blend robe in a variety of spring colors." ("The Execution")
Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) was not too pleased with Xena.
After Xena passed Hercules in ratings, Sorbo felt uncomfortable having Hercules and Xena be considered as physical equals. The jealousy ran so deep in fact that whenever the name "Xena" was mentioned on the set of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the crew members would jokingly spit on the ground!
Lucy Lawless fractured her pelvic bone.
Show business is rarely 100% glamour. Take it from Lucy Lawless, who fell off a horse — while filming The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The actress fractured her pelvic bone. This mishap put Lawless largely out of commision while the second season was in production. So, writers got creative and developed a body-switch plot throughout the season.
Only five episodes where directed by a woman.
For a show all about female empowerment, we find it strange that only five episodes were directed by women. In fact, two of those five episodes were directed by Renée O'Connor (Gabrielle). One of the show's producers chalked this up to a lack of options and qualified candidates with an experienced hand in helming effects-heavy productions.
Lucy Lawless was not the first choice for Xena.
We all love Lawless as the powerful warrior princess, but she was not originally intended for the role. Vanessa Angel, a British actress, was hired to play Xena. However, she fell ill just before filming began. In a scramble, the producers replaced Angel with Lawless, who immediately died her blonde hair black and began filming. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Photo: Stargate SG-1 / MGM Worldwide Television Distribution