After some weird “are they/aren”t they?” confusion last year, the Xena reboot is definitely on over at NBC. The network assigned an executive producer, and writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach was tapped to pen the project. If that name is familiar, it”s because Grillo-Marxuach also wrote the recent controversial episode of The 100 titled “Thirteen.”
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE 100 IF YOU”VE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO AVOID THEM.
The episode – which aired on March 3, 2016 – caused outrage among fans of The 100 when a beloved character was killed off. Lexa (Alycia Debnam Carey) was instrumental in uniting the 12 Grounder clans into a single Coalition. She was also the current love interest of lead protagonist Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor). When Debnam Carey signed on for the second season of Fear the Walking Dead as Alicia, The 100 knew they”d have to wrap up Lexa”s storyline before the actress left. They chose to kill her off.
That didn”t set well with fans of the show, especially within the LGBTQA community. The Mary Sue did a good breakdown of fans complaints, and Dany Roth on Blastr dug deeper into why Lexa”s death hurt so deeply. If you don”t have time to click-through, here the gist from Roth:
One of the most common misconceptions over the fan reaction to Lexa's death is that people are upset because they don't want any lesbian character to die ever, but that's not the case. The source of the intense scrutiny stems more from the unfortunate reality that lesbians (and queer people in general) being killed off to shock an audience is not a new idea. This story twist is so common, in fact, that it has a trope named after it — Dead Lesbian Syndrome (also sometimes known as “Bury Your Gays”). Xena, Charlie from Supernatural, Talia from Babylon 5, and Cain from Battlestar Galactica, along with many, many other queer women have all been in some way bumped off, often moments after their queerness is either confirmed or celebrated.
Again — stories matter. When you are part of an oppressed minority whose fictional representations repeatedly meet ignoble and, at times gruesome, demises, it can make you and people like you feel worthless or unimportant. If the characters who represent you can't get a happy ending then, silly though it may sound, it starts to feel like you won't get one either, especially if you happen to be a young queer person coming to terms with your queerness. And that's a large portion of The 100's audience — young, queer women.
So what does all this have to do with the Xena reboot? A fan of The 100 recently asked Grillo-Marxuach if the reaction to Lexa”s death would influence his writing on future projects like Xena. His response was awesome:
For years, fans of Xena have known the Warrior Princess and her companion Gabrielle were more than just friends. The network and the times just hadn”t caught up with them. But in 2016? There”s no reason at all you can”t have a lesbian couple headlining a series about ancient Greek mythology.