10 Things You Might Not Know About XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS

Premiering on September 4th 1995, Xena: Warrior Princess quickly became a huge hit in syndication, with all its six seasons remaining in the top 5 US syndicated shows. Here are 10 things you might not know about the fantasy television series.


1. Xena: Warrior Princess originated as a spin-off of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys - which had only begun broadcasting its first season earlier in 1995 after several successful made-for-TV movies. Lucy Lawless had played the character Lyla in the sixth episode of Hercules titled As Darkness Falls, she was then invited back to play the character of Xena for a three story-arc starting in episode nine, The Warrior Princess. Originally Xena was scheduled to die in her third appearance, the season one finale of Hercules titled Unchained Heart, but aware that the character was showing potential and had become very successful among the public, the producers of the series decided instead to mainline a spin-off series based on her adventures.

2. The reason Lucy Lawless was invited back so quickly between playing both Lyla and Xena in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys is because the first choice to play Xena, British actress Vanessa Angel, became ill and found herself unable to travel to New Zealand for filming. With a tight production schedule, four other actresses were offered the part before the relatively unknown Lawless, who at that time was still filming as Lyla, was cast.


3. Lucy Lawless actually played eight different characters between Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess: Xena, Princess Diana, Meg (5 times), Leah, Annie Day (twice), Melinda Pappas, Lyla and Lysia.

4. Renee O'Connor plays Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess, the only other main character appearing across all six seasons. Originally, American actress Sunny Doench was cast as Gabrielle, but she did not want to leave her boyfriend in the United States and relocate to New Zealand for filming, so O'Connor, who like Lawless had already appeared in Hercules in another role, was chosen.


5. Part of the reason Renee O'Connor was chosen as Gabrielle was her athleticism. The majority of Gabrielle's stunts and fight scenes were performed by O'Connor herself, including the impressive backflip from the season six episode The Abyss where Gabrielle kicks a cannibal in the face mid-flight, which was done without any wirework.

6. The theme song for Xena: The Warrior Princess features the Bulgarian Women's Choir singing in the background. Translated into English, the lyrics are as follows...
The Warrior Princess rides alone.
Her past drives her from shame.
Against the forces of a dark world
She fights for good, not for fame.
Horns sound her coming, blare her name.
"Make way the Warrior! Cheer!"
Drums beat a rhythm
Let villains beware
The Warrior Princess is here.


7. Co-creator of Xena: Warrior Princess Rob Tapert explained why and how he picked Xena's weapon:
"I had a book of ancient weapons and I saw this weird discus called the Chakram and I said let's give her this because it can return and we'll never have another character use it. John Schulian [series writer] said he hated it and said we should cut around it. I told him 'that weapon is the coolest thing I'd ever seen' - it's her signature piece".
8. In 1996, while rehearsing a skit for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Lucy Lawless fractured her pelvis when she was thrown clear from her horse. As a result, several episodes of season two had to be edited to accommodate her recovery. Some of them were changed so Lawless could have a very slight appearance (in one episode she only appears through archive footage), and other episodes were postponed with new story-lines hastily written, primarily season two's A Day In The Life depicting a typical mundane day for Xena and Gabrielle.


9. Xena: Warrior Princess featured a young Karl Urban. Like many other actors he played a variety of roles including Mal in season one's Altared States, Kor in season five's Lifeblood, and recurring throughout as both Cupid and Julius Caesar.

10. At the time of the series' broadcast there was much debate surrounding Xena and Gabrielle's relationship. Specifically if it was a romantic one. This was left deliberately ambiguous by the writers, but many fans felt that the sexual nature of Xena and Gabrielle's relationship was cemented by an interview given by Lucy Lawless to Lesbian News magazine in 2003. Lawless stated that after the series finale, where Gabrielle revives Xena with a mouth-to-mouth water transfer filmed to look like a full kiss, she had come to believe that Xena and Gabrielle's relationship was "definitely gay".
"There was always a, 'Well, she might be or she might not be' but when there was that drip of water passing between their lips in the very final scene, that cemented it for me. Now it wasn't just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was 'Nope, they're married, man'."


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