Pop Culture Fix: The Xena Reboot Will Be GAY GAY GAY

Welcome to your weekly Pop Culture Fix, your one-stop shop for television feelings.


+ Xena: Warrior Princess really is getting the reboot everyone’s been speculating about and it is going to be hella gay. Here’s a little tidbit from Variety:

NBC has ordered a new Xena pilot from writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach, architect behind the CW’s cult hit The 100, and he plans to be a little more forthcoming about the undeniable chemistry between Xena and Gabrielle with this updated iteration. During a Q&A session on Tumblr, Grillo-Marxuach confirmed that the two women would be lovers, no bones about it:

i am a very different person with a very different world view than my employer on the 100 – and my work on the 100 was to use my skills to bring that vision to life. xena will be a very different show made for very different reasons. there is no reason to bring back xena if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s. it will also express my view of the world – which is only further informed by what is happening right now – and is not too difficult to know what that is if you do some digging.

+ Speaking of The 100, fans mourning the death of Commander Lexa have turned their sorrow into activism. They’ve raised an astonishing $43,000(!) for the Trevor Project. You can donate through their campaign here.

+ Variety also covered Lexa’s death on The 100. It’s the first time I have ever seen a mainstream site (especially one with real clout) push back against this trope. It’s a really good read that examines fan reaction and takes the showrunner to task for his obtuseness.

+ Her Story won Best Drama at Seattle Web Fest, a well deserved honor!

+ Soon you’ll be able to own Marceline the Vampire Queen and her true love Princess Bubblegum in Lego form! A fan actually created these things and made it all the way through the Lego Ideas vetting process!

+ This new Orphan Black season four trailer is so slick, y’all. I’ve watched it like six times since Riese sent it to me. It seems to confirm Delphine’s death, but I’m just going to stay in denial about that for a while longer.

+ Hey hey hey, CBS has finally given Person of Interest season five a premiere date! They’re actually going to show it on Monday and Tuesday nights, starting on Tuesday, May 3rd. Usually when networks decide to burn through episodes like that, it means they’re done with the show, but J.J. Abrams says a miraculous ratings event could turn things around. The season is a truncated 13 episodes and promises some intense Root and Shaw shenanigans. [Update: As of 6pm, CBS has official cancelled POI. No season six, after all. But maybe Root and Shaw will ride off into the sunset!]

+ How white, conservative, and male are Sunday news talk shows without Melissa Harris-Perry? Flavorwire has the answer.

+ TV Land is rebooting Heathers. Heather McNamara will be a black lesbian. One Heather will be “a male who identifies as gender-queer whose real name is Heath.” (So you mean they are a genderqueer person named Heath, TV Land.)


+ We’re giving away five Carol DVDs, have you heard?

+ Cannes will debut Jodie Foster’s new film, Money Monster.

Queer People In The World

+ Laverne Cox is set to appear on Jane Lynch’s Hollywood Game Night this Sunday night!

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.



    OMG OMG OMG. I’m so so so excited.

    Also I’m super proud of everyone involved in the campaign who raised this much money, so glad and thankful that our collective outrage turned into both a very needed discussion that is being discussed in non queer spaces but also real life implications.

    Also CONGRATS HER STORY they deserve all the awards.

    • Praise The Machine – she’s the real Lesbian Jesus, let’s be honest. Or if she’s asexual, and not a lesbian, she’s at least a lesbian shipper.

  2. I was super impressed with Mo Ryan’s article regarding everything that’s gone down with The 100.

    I’m done being super engaged in that fandom (because it was taking too much out of my life with how angry I was) but watching this quiet revolution begin to gather speed and notice has been really amazing.

  3. My first thought when I saw who is in the seat to run Xena was, “Ok, how many times can a TV character actually die?”
    STOKED about POI.
    Not amused about running through the show like that.
    No respect, CBS has…

    • Well, I’ve heard he promised not to kill her.
      Then again, Xena died A LOT of times in the original series, but it’s fantasy, so they had no problem jsut resurrecting her and moving on.
      And some of the original creators will be involved in making the reboot, so I think there is a chance it won’t be horrible.

    • Javi didn’t decide to kill Lexa, he wrote the episode she died in. If you read what he wrote in the article, what he’s saying is learning from the 100 mess means he’s going to make Xena even gayer.

      • I think JGM changed his tune after the whole backlash. Before episode 307 aired, he posted that he was proud to be part of Rothenberg’s vision. Immediately after it aired, he said that he stood by their decission. It wasn’t until a few days later that he started distancing himself from Rothenberg, saying that he was just an employee writing what the EP wanted (Javi is not just a writer, he’s co-EP btw).

        I don’t believe for a second that he has learned a lesson here, he proved he knew about the trope and didn’t care one bit about it. Are you really going to trust what he does next with an LGBTQ character? No thanks.

        • I’m sorry, you haven’t read his tumblr. He absolutely has learned a great deal. You’re right his tune has changed since the episode aired. He’s read and replied to hundreds of fans since then.

          • I understand where you’re comming from, I really do. The guy put a lot of time and effort into reading and replying to numerous posts. And it’s trully commendable. The thing is, the creative team behind The 100 spent a lot of time (before 307 aired) doing what JGM is doing now, claiming that they understood us, that they got where our fears came from, that they had learned from previous shows. And look how that turned out. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m done taking their words for it. I’m going to need proof that they can really handle an LGBTQ character and not ruin it, before I can convince myself that any of these people have learned a lesson.

            FWIW, I really really really hope you’re right, and that his next project is everything The 100 could not be for us.

  4. Openly gay Xena!
    That Variety article about The 100!
    Orphan Black new trailer!
    Her Story!

    So many good things.

    • I know Right ? This is the OPPOSITE emotional roller coaster from the Daily fixes full of homophobic and transphobic and sexist legislations.

    • Dang, TVLine reported like three hours ago that he said there could be a miracle, but now I just clicked back over and it’s cancelled as of an hour ago. :(

      • It’s officially canceled!? Oh god, I know we were all expecting it, but that hits HARD after all the stuff that’s gone on in the last couple of weeks.

      • :’-(
        *cries bitter,bitter tears*
        P.S. It’s early morning and I’m on my way to work and well, sorry to all the people I’m going to go all Evil Queen on today.

    • Right so I’ve been having a good think and I think this is truly the best outcome. They’ve been saying they’ve written season 5 in mind as if it was the last one, so we’ll get a really good finish, it’s gonna be 13 episodes of intense action, shit is about to go down etc;

      And then because they know how much SHOOT matters to us they’ll send them to Bora Bora to drink umbrella drinks together forever and ever.

      5 seasons is a good run guys and this is a near perfect show and it won’t be ruined by a crappy 6TH season like many shows have been !!!

      • I am actually glad that we don’t get a 6th season because Sarah Shahi was cast as Nancy Drew in an upcoming show and we all know how scheduling conflicts turn out.

  5. bless mo ryan, truly.

    Also I am amazed and impressed that the guy who wrote the Lexa death sequence and then called The 100 incredibly progressive on queer rep has managed to turn the subsequent meltdown into good press for his Xena reboot. That’s some wizardry, right there.

    • I really urge you to read his responses on his tumblr. There’s nothing cynical about this. Javi GETS it! He’s convinced me and a lot of others that he’s a compassionate, thoughtful person. He’s the only one from The 100 who has come out looking good in all this. I was meh about the Xena reboot when I first heard about it but I’m actually excited for it now.

    • I went straight down the rabbit hole with this one, and I don’t even watch the 100 – I read Mo’s (truly excellent) article, and then I subscribed to The Televerse podcast and listened to the episode about this episode of the 100 and character deaths in general (again, excellent).

      Now I’m going to have to watch the show (which so far I have found to be intolerable – my general dislike of posturing teenage boys stops me every time) when I know she will die. Ugh.

  6. Any info about Xena’s cast? I don’t really think that Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor are gonna make it because some people involved with the reboot already said that.

    Heather, can we have a fantasy cast post, please?

    • Fantasy cast post is an amazing idea.
      M fantasy cast is Renee O’Connor and Lucy Lawless. Because if Harrison Ford can still be Han Solo and Indiana Jones in his 70s then why wouldn’t LL be Xena in her 40s?

    • This was my question exactly. I think Lucy Lawless can and should play Xena. there’s no other Xena, right? Like there’s only one Wonder Woman? (Lynda Carter, obvs) And Renee O’Connor should play Gabrielle. This is why reboots freak me out.

      Maybe I should just re-watch the original Xena and be done with it. Oh, but they weren’t openly gay then!! So conflicted!!

    Now I can go bug my family about watching it. xD
    I’m kinda of two minds about the cancelation though. On the one hand, I would like poi to go on forever, but on the other hand, both Root and Shaw have a better chance of making it this way.

    • That is some next level silver-lining. I will have to make myself think about it that way.

  8. So due to recent TV based situations of badness my emotional roller coaster when reading this ran thus:
    Yay Xena but also so much fear.
    Yay POI but also so much fear.
    Yay Orphan Black but where was Cosima in the trailer….so yeah Fear.

  9. really happy to see the 100 thing get covered on variety, also the president of glaad tweeted about it too? I really hope that other shows/networks are seeing this and avoid this queerbaiting nonsense in future

  10. Unfortunately, I have had to enact a “I’ll believe it when I see it policy” when it comes to these types of promises from showrunners when it comes to LBGT representation. There are a lot of people to blame for that. The latest is Jason Rothenberg. I’m not in the business of giving up hours of my time anymore only to get jerked around so I’ll read about it on here and if I here positive things I will check it out.

    • Agreed. I’m dubious because these articles about Xena being gay are all based on a tumblr post where he is trying very very hard to distance himself from the episode of The 100 that he wrote. Also, straight guy promising a lesbian character… rarely works out well and that goes doubly for TV shows because once the network gets involved lesbian leads quickly evolve from lesbian to “sexually fluid” to “bi but only dates guys”.

      • Yeah. I find it very hard to believe that a major network is going to let both the female leads be lesbians without also giving them male love interests throughout the series. Then they will use the excuse “Well, technically Xena and Gabrielle were never canon in the original series”. Just watch.

        • For me, that last kiss in the Xena finale makes it absolutely clear they’re in love. Not to mention the reincarnation episodes.

    • I added it up and figured out that between PLL and The 100 I’ve wasted 130 hours of my life watching shows that promised positive LGBT representation only to yank that from our screens.

  11. I wonder if Xena is going to be on Hulu. I guess its the new place for syndication not like the old days of watching it on Saturday afternoon or late Saturday night after twelve.

  12. I completely understand that we’re all hurting and damping down our hopes after Lexa. I get it. But Javier Grillo-Marxuach has been a revelation to everyone following his response to this situation. He’s read thousands of tweets and messages on tumblr, given people room to vent their anger and frustration. Even listened to vitriolic attacks. He’s replied with compassion and fully admitted his mistakes. He has convinced me he has learned and more importantly, that he cares.

    This Xena thing was something I was extremely dubious about even a week and a half ago but now I’m all in! He’s offering us the Xena of our dreams guys! We need to support this because it’s by no means a sure thing to be made. Hold him accountable, be vigilant, but fight to get this made! It would be such a shame if this never got off the ground because we were too sad or cynical to fight for it.

    • Dude, we know that he’s said all those things about learning from the experience and all, but you’ve got to understand why people are a bit iffy about it. He was part of a creative team that greatly betrayed the lesbian community (and LGBT in general), so it might take a bit more than his word for people to believe he really gets it. Just let us wait and see if he really means this.

  13. Just to clear the air for people who are dubious about the Xena news:
    I’m a huge fan of the show and have been following news of the reboot since it was a rumor almost, what must be 2 years ago now.
    Javier had been really responsive to the fandom, and included the nature of the relationship in his pitch- he confirmed it’s going to be a part of the reboot some time ago, and has a really great Q&A on his tumblr that answers a lot of questions. I don’t have the link, but it should be easy enough to find for those who are curious.

  14. Newsflash for me. I had no idea that Sarah Baker Grillo, co-producer of Her Story, was the wife of Javier Grillo-Marxuach.

    • Woow that’s so cool. Her Story is so so so so good ! Maybe she’ll influence him in a good way then?

  15. I’m crying, you guys! I’m crying so hard over Xena being GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY GAY. FINALLY~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3


  16. I am happy for gay Xena. Hope it comes on Netflix or hulu so that it is a bit more adult. Now that we have gained some ground on live action shows, can we start pressing for good Anime that isn’t all subtext. I know I am not the only one tired of seaching for lesbian Anime and only finding porn! I want a love story!

  17. I have a question for Xena watchers:
    If the show decides to pull another death-and-rebirth/resurrection arc, is there any way you would accept it?
    Does it all have to occur in the same episode, a la S1 finale with Gabby?
    Do we have to have the promise of resurrection in the same episode as the death?
    Can the death be the cliffhanger, but the creators promise a resurrection is coming?
    Do we even need to know that from the creators, given that Xena and Gabby are the main characters?

    • I thought about this too, because everyone died/was reborn/wandered around Hades all the time on Xena and Hercules. So I’d be okay with them dying mid-season for a couple of episodes, because that just happens? But I think if it was a season finale and you didn’t know if the show was coming back, that would be cruel.

  18. OKAY GUYS I have a confession to make. I’ve never watched Xena.

    Do I need to send my toaster back?

    • It’s not too late!

      I mean, you can sit at our table even if you don’t wear pink, I just think you should try it out in case pink is a great color on you.

    • Don’t worry Chloe, you’re not the only one! I too am guilty of this. But in my defence, I was 11 when the 90’s ended, and really didn’t watch TV of any kind until I hit high school. I don’t really have any interest in going back and watching the original show when I know it’s mostly just intense subtext, but I’m DEFINITELY on board with watching the remake when it comes out, if it is as gay as has been promised!

    • She was Xena, a mighty princess forged in the heat of battle. The power, the passion, the danger. Her courage will change the world

      • In a time of ancient tropes, fool traitorous writers and the Fox network
        The land of sapphic TV cried out for a hero…

  19. Person of Interest news are so bittersweet. I’m so ridiculously happy to finally have an air date but I’m sooooooooo sad we’ll have to say goodbye to one of the smartest shows on TV. What am I gonna do without my favorite perky psycho and my favorite compact Persian sociopath :'(

    In the meantime, I’ll be pleading at my nearest surveillance cam that Root & Shaw end up on the list of happy endings.

  20. OK, so I am 100% PUMPED for openly out Xena – but for all the lady-loving she also got down with a few dudes over the years. I get that bi is a less-than-ideal term, but as a kid it meant a lot to see someone like me represented, and it sucks to feel written out of the celebrations now.

  21. Popular culture or pop culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century.

  22. If Root and Shaw DON’T ride off into the sunset, alive and in love, I am gonna set the whole world on fire.

    Or desperately snuggle my cat while crying into his fur.


  23. I look forward to seeing a openly Lesbian or Bisexual Xena/Gabby!

    Check out my feminist film and television blog maewpower.wordpress.com where I discuss the Xena reboot.

  24. wow I am having some kind of feelings about that Heathers reboot?? Like initially I was all “QUEER HEATHERS IS EVERYTHING MY HEART WANTS” and then I was like “wait but aren’t they pretty much just recasting it so that the villains are queer and POC…?” Maybe they will pull it off in some kind of cool subversive way though? A genderqueer can dream

  25. i have mixed feelings about the Xena reboot. i love it cause they’re gonna open with Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship and sexuality (and though there is death in this show, resurrection is sure to follow). i also somewhat hate it ’cause i don’t think they’ll bring back Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor. I freaking love those two actresses and how they portrayed Xena and Gabrielle, individually and as a couple(?)/gal pals? Their chemistry is just off the charts!

    So i hope (aka my oh-god-i-wish-they-do-this wishful thinking), that the show have, like a 5 episode mini-series with Lucy as Xena and Renee as Gabby, finish their story, and have them reincarnated into new actresses, with no memory of their past and have them meet and go on new adventures together.

    Of course, they will have to find new actresses with the same likability as Lucy as Xena and Renee as Gabby and have the same level (or more) of chemistry. only then will i give my support, loyalty and a part of my soul to the show

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