August 13, 2011
Bringing back the Warrior Princess: The Xena 2011 Movie Campaign
As of June 2011, it has been 10 years since the Warrior Princess stormed across our screens with her soulmate Gabrielle beside her, writes Jen Tucker. Many fans are still brokenhearted about the end, and so with the recent re-release of the Xena series DVDs has come a new fan campaign to produce a new Xena film.
There were talks of a Xena movie right after the series ended, but rights disputes and time eroded most of the hope of ever reuniting these characters. But Carolyn Fiero, team leader of the Xena 2011 Movie Campaign thinks that things could change.
“When I read several articles on the internet early this year in which Lucy Lawless indicated she would be interested in doing a Xena movie (but that it would need to happen soon, before she and Renee O’Connor were too old to reprise their roles), I thought the time was right.”
The Xena 2011 Movie Campaign team have the support of over 4,500 people on Facebook, and have even put together a video to rally Xena fans to the cause. If social media can get TV shows extra seasons and revive others just by enough people clicking ‘Like’, then why can’t it bring back two of the greatest icons in lesbian history, Xena and Gabrielle?
There is still a role for the Warrior Princess and her Battling Bard in society and culture today. Throughout the series, many women talked about Xena giving them the courage to stand up for themselves. Xena is a symbol of strength and empowerment for women and people everywhere. Fiero from the Xena 2011 Movie Campaign agrees. “Xena is that hero for many people,” she says. “She stands up for herself, but more importantly, she stands up for others. She puts the ‘greater good’ ahead of her own needs.”
Even Xena TV series writer/producer Steven L. Sears still sees a place for the Warrior Princess despite the changed times and audience. “To this day, I still get letters from people telling me how the show changed their lives, empowered many, and gave hope where some previously saw darkness,” he says.
Sears goes on to compare the message in Xena to the message of the It Gets Better video campaign. “Those videos have helped so many LGBT youth and given them hope that a better world is possible if they just believe in who they are. If I can say anything when I leave this world, it’s that I was honored to be a part of the longest running It Gets Better video ever done: Xena, Warrior Princess.”
On 30 April 1997 Ellen may have come out as a lesbian on national TV in America, but on 3 February of the same year, Xena kissed Gabrielle in the highest rated syndicated series in television history. There had been plenty of subtext for lesbians in episodes before that. There was such intimacy between the two characters that the LGBT fan base exploded. Xena’s attitude alone toward such hotly debated topics was refreshing. In a time where same-sex marriage and equal rights for all GLBT people are mentioned nightly on TV, Xena could still shine.
The Xena 2011 Movie Campaign sees Xena as a character that “transcends age, race, religion, or sexual orientation.” They believe the younger generation views society, as a whole, differently and “do not differentiate between different types of people”. They believe that “Xena is a show about friendship, loyalty, commitment, sacrifice, forgiveness and love”.
Xena became an important icon to the LGBT community and especially lesbians. Sears believes that part of the reason for this was “because we didn’t try to ‘break barriers’, we IGNORED barriers.” He goes on to explain that a barrier gives certain intolerances “legitimacy” and by ignoring them, you take that legitimacy away. “We ignored the barriers of our real world when creating the world of Xena. And, in doing that, we (hopefully) showed what a world could be like without that bigotry.”
However, he does acknowledge that even today a movie couldn’t all the two characters to be openly gay. “Studios… do not want to alienate that [heterosexual] male audience by flatly stating ‘forget it, you have no chance, even in your imagination’”.
In a time when so many oppose LGBT people equal rights it would be nice to see the Warrior Princess and her faithful sidekick return. So how do we make that happen?
The first thing you can do is head on over to the Xena 2011 Movie Campaign on Facebook and click the ‘Like’ button. The more numbers you have to show the people with money to produce movies, the better chance you have they are going to look your way.
It worked for Golden Girls actress Betty White. One Facebook page and a million plus ‘Likes’, and she was hosting Saturday Night Live. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and blogs give fans and supporters a way to show their unity and support for ideas. It’s really up to the fans to show The Powers That Be that the audience is there and waiting.
Lucy Lawless, the actress who plays Xena, has made it clear that she would love to play Xena again. In an interview with Out Magazine in January 2010 she said “I love that character. I would do it if it was a movie.”
So, c’mon Xena fans, let’s make this happen!
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