If you lived through the nineties you probably watched Xena: Warrior Princess. We can all agree that Xena was an amazing role model for a whole generation of girls. She was smart, strong and a total badass. Xena was played by Lucy Lawless, and guess what, it’s Lucy’s birthday today. So we decided to treat you all to 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Xena.
1. Poseidon, the ruler of the seas, that can be seen in the credits of the show, was never actually meant to appear on the show. That whole scene and the, admittedly not very good, CGI figure of the towering Poseidon was created just for the credits. But since the audience kept asking when will Poseidon appear on the show and demanding a story for that scene, the writers gave in and Poseidon actually appeared on the show in season 2.
2. Xena wasn’t originally meant to have a show. She was written as a darker character to balance out Hercules. Her story arc was originally only meant to last 3 episodes and then she was supposed to die. However, the co-creator and executive producer of Hercules, Rob Tapert, liked the character so much, that it was eventually decided to create a spin-off show for Xena.
3. Speaking of Robert Tapert. Apparently he didn’t only like the character of Xena, but the actress, who played her too. Lucy Lawless and Robert Tapert married in 1998.
4. Xena was originally meant to be played by Vanessa Angel, a British actress. The character was also meant to be a blonde Amazonian. But Vanessa got sick before she could fly in for the shoot, so they reconsidered and offered the role to Lucy Lawless, who had died her hair black. So even though Lucy wasn’t their first choice for Xena, we can all agree it was ultimately the most awesome choice ever.
5. Lucy Lawless almost missed the opportunity to play Xena. She was actually away on a holiday camping trip with her family when the producers of the show made a decision to offer her the role. Fortunately, her in-laws managed to get in touch with her, and she was able to accept the offer. Phew, that was a close call. Can you even imagine Xena being played by anyone else?
6. Xena: Warrior Princess was filmed in New Zealand. The show featured a lot of ki wi actors, but have you noticed that everyone spoke in an American accent? That’s because the show was targeted to a U.S. audience. They had dialect coaches on set to teach all the actors how to speak with the American accent.
7. Lucy Lawless fell off a horse in 1996, whilst rehearsing for the Tonight Show. She was meant to appear on The Tonight Show in character, but unfortunately she fell off the horse and shattered her pelvis. That meant she couldn’t do her job and appear as the lead on her show, so the writers found a lot of creative solutions for that. One of which was to write the “Intimate Stranger” episode where she switched bodies with the villain.
8. The actor who played Hercules, Brawny Kevin Sorbo, was very bitter about Xena developing a separate story arc and her own spin-off show. Apparently he just didn’t understand why the creators of the show made Xena his equal, after all his character was a semi-god and the strongest person in the world, how could she possibly be his equal. Plus, Xena scored higher in the ratings. His attitude towards Xena became a joke on the set of Hercules – every time Xena’s name was mentioned people had to spit in joke disapproval.
9. The tension between Xena and her sidekick, Gabrielle, was actually intentional. The writers liked to tease the audience with the possibility of a romantic relationship between the two. The show was very popular in gay and lesbian communities, so that sort of “will they, won’t they” tension worked very well both for the audience and for the ratings. The executives at Universal weren’t happy with this idea at all. In fact, they told Rob Tapert that if they do anything that will confirm the homoerotic subtext, it will cause some additional interest in the show for a short time, but in the end it will cause a great decline in viewing numbers. So the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle was never confirmed nor denied.
10. The credits of the show had jokes in them, for the devoted fans to spot and enjoy. As it turns out there’s no actual laws or reasons not to include jokes like “no centaurs were harmed in the making of the show”. So if you’re a real fan, you would’ve spotted that in some episodes’ credits it says that “winged harpies seen in the show were treated with the utmost respect”.