After the departure of original showrunner Javier Grillo-Marxauch, NBC has decided not to move forward with their revival of Xena: Warrior Princess. Rumours of a Xena: Warrior Princess reboot circulated a few years ago, with industry insiders telling The Hollywood Reporter that the series was being shopped around as a limited run, but that producers hoped it would become an ongoing series. Eventually, then-president of NBC Entertainment, Bob Greenblatt, confirmed that the network was developing a Xena revival. The original creators, Sam Rami and Rob Tapert, were brought on; both eager to for Xena to be "a sophisticated and smart superhero for a new generation."
Grillo-Marxauch was then hired to bring that vision to life. When asked about his thoughts on the show, he told one fan that the revival would be "a very different show," and said that there was no reason to bring it back if not to "fully explore a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in the first-run syndication in the 1990s." This statement, and responses given in other interviews, led many fans to believe that the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, her longtime companion, would be overtly romantic.
Many diehard Xena fans saw Xena and Gabrielle as a couple, something the show hinted at several times throughout its run, which ended in 2001. Even Lucy Lawless, who brought Xena to life, believed the two were involved, saying that the kiss that ended the series was confirmation that the two were in love, and that it wasn't just that Xena "kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was, 'Nope, they're married man.' " It was hard not to look forward to seeing an overtly queer Xena, kicking ass along side her sidekick-turned-spouse.
The Xena: Warrior Princess revival remained in the planning stages at NBC for a few years, without any casting announcements or major news. That is, until April, when Grillo-Maxauch tweeted about his departure from the show, much to the dismay of fans eager to see his take on the iconic series. At the time, he told The Mary Sue:
I'm heartbroken to have left the Xena project over insurmountbale creative differences. The character is dear to me, and to millions of fans worldwide, and I truly believe that now - more than ever - a land in turmoil cries out for a hero.
Fans speculated what those "insurmountable creative differences" would be, many of whom worried that they involved the depiction of a Xena/Gabrielle relationship. It appeared that the project, first announced in 2015, would go ahead without Grillo-Maxauch, giving fans a chance to find out if the network was against a relationship between the show's main characters.
Sadly, we won't get a chance to see the series, with or without Grillo-Maxauch. Current NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke confirmed that the network has decided to drop the revival, telling The Hollywood Reporter that "nothing is happening on that right now. We looked at some material; we decided at this point it didn't warrant the reboot." While this news is upsetting enough on its own, the fact that the network is still pursuing reboots of The West Wing, ER, The Office, and 30 Rock isn't impressing the fandom.
Salke did leave us with a small sliver of hope, saying that, "I'd never say never on that one, because it's such a beloved title" and indicating that the network would consider ideas later on down the road.