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For fans waiting with bated breath to find out whether NBC is, in fact, developing a Xena: The Warrior Princess reboot, Lucy Lawless offered up her take during Friday’s Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour.
According to Lawless, if an NBC reboot is in the works, she’s not involved. However, it’s possible the network could be pursuing the series without her involvement — and it wouldn’t be the first time NBC has kept the cast of a rebooted TV show in the dark. (See: Heroes: Reborn.) Also, as EW previously reported, a writer has not yet been attached to the script and so the reboot is not yet in active development.
Lawless went on to explain that her husband Robert Tapert, one of the show’s creators, had previously been approached about a reboot. “There was a conversation they had a year ago, maybe longer,” she said, adding that he is not currently attached to a remake. (To note, Tapert and Raimi’s involvement in the project was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.) “If there’s anything current going on, we’re not involved — we being me, Rob, Sam,” she said. “But they could be doing it without us, they have the right to, don’t they? But we are not. I’d love to see it happen and I know that NBC wants to do it, but they’re just trying to find a way and a time.”
“When I read [the report], I thought somebody — either from the studio or the agency — went, ‘Oh this is current,'” she continued. “It’s not current. I’d like it to be. I keep trying.”
That’s where the good news comes in: Lawless really is interested in reprising the role, but in a smaller capacity. “I would love to do a reboot getting Xena, Gabrielle [Renee O’Connor], Autolycus [Bruce Campbell] and Jox [Ted Raimi] back together, get that crew back together to solve some ridiculous problem. I’d love to do a TV movie or a movie, a limited thing.”
But inhabiting the role full-time isn’t an option: “I really couldn’t live that life,” she said of the stunt-heavy series. “I look back, I’ve got all sort of wear and tear from that lifestyle. That’s just what happens to human bodies when they get used a certain way a lot. I actually couldn’t do it. I’m 47, but there’s somebody great out there.”
However, Lawless — who will next star alongside Campbell in Starz’s Ash vs. Evil Dead, which she was at TCA to promote — said bringing Xena to life might not be so easy in this landscape. “Remember, when Hercules and Xena first came out, there had not been a mythological show on television for about 16 years, so the ground was ripe for exploiting that world,” she said. “Now every show — Game of Thrones — is doing it. It’s part of what’s considered a hindrance in the marketplace, how do you make it appointment television given the way people watch these days? We used to get millions of people watching syndicated television. Now the audience is all over. It’s spread out in a way that’s much harder to capture.”
The key to capturing that lightning in a bottle once again lies in the core friendship between Xena and Gabrielle, said Lawless — who recently reunited with her former costar. “I think that the friendship is what people want,” she said. “Whenever they reboot it, they have to get two women who really like and respect [each other] and have a strong chemistry to carry that mantle.”
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