In A Time of Ancient Gods, Warlords and Kings....
Written by MaryD
In the time of ancient Gods, Warlords and Kings, a land in turmoil cried out for a hero...and we found her..actually we found two of them!
The story goes back to March 1995 and not September 1995. It goes back to a time of gods and kings and to the legendary Hercules. Xena was born on Hercules on 13 March 1995. We all know what happened; we know the history but because I'm writing a 15 year tribute...we go down memory lane.
That is the date Lucy Lawless created history by being in the right place, at the right time, all the planets were aligned and the Gods favoured the (dyed) dark haired tall woman slated to become the mighty Warrior Princess.
Whether it was fate or just plain blind good luck; Rob Tapert and Co found the perfect Xena. It had to be pure blind luck because they didn't want Lucy. They wanted five other actors but I can't imagine anyone else playing the tall, dark haired warrior. Lucy Lawless was born to play Xena.
Lucy came to the attention of RenPic for the telemovie Hercules and the Amazon Women which airred on 25 April 1994. She was Lysia, the Amazon enforcer; a tough no nonsense kind of gal (remind you of anyone?)
Hercules also brought forth the bard turned warrior but not as we came to love her. Renee O'Connor was front and center in the minds of the producers for the role of Gabrielle after she appeared on Hercules as Deianeira in the telemovie "Hercules and the Lost Kingdom". That was on 2 May 1994.
There are forks in the road for EVERYONE associated with this show. It's not just the fans whose lives were changed but the actors, producers, directors, writers, costume designers...EVERYONE. I do not know of another show that has had such a huge impact on people's lives and changed in such an irrevocably way.
It was a very warm Saturday evening on 14 December 1996 when I sat down to make sure I would tape a show for a friend. Little did I know at 7:30 pm on that Saturday night that I was sitting down to a life changing experience. It's not hyperbole, it's the facts. That night changed my life and led me down a path I never envisioned. Half the time I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I have a very crystal clear memory of what I did at 7:45 pm on Saturday, 14 December 1996. Sins of the Past montages were running through my head even while I was watching the show and the birth of AUSXIP was taking shape.
There are very few moments in your life when you can say 'yes that is the fork in the road that changed my life'. This was one of them for me. It's also a moment for thousands of other fans; some of whom have shared their stories on Remembering The Warrior and Her Bard section. I'm going to leave this open for people to add their thoughts because the stories are amazing.
All of this wouldn't be possible without Rob Tapert, the genius of a man. I have alot of respect for the man that gave birth to a legend. You have to credit this man for bringing to life one hell of a character. Rob's life was changed forever and because of Xena, he has a loving wife, a gorgeous step-daughter and two beautiful boys and more than enough success in his professional life. All because of this show.
The ever wonderful, sometimes goofy, always intelligent, sensitive, downright gorgeous Lucy Lawless. The Warrior. Without Lucy there would be no Xena that we still remember 15 years later. There may have been a Xena character but not the Xena we love. Her life took a dramatic turn when she accepted the role of Xena out there in the bush where she was hiking. Talk about a fork in the trail!
The absolutely gorgeous, adorable, sensitive, quirky, artistic, Evelyn Renee O'Connor. The Bard and Warrior. Renee gave life to chatty Gabrielle who grew up before our eyes, who had such a fierce love for the Warrior; a love so deep that thousands of fans wanted to emulate Gabrielle's deep devotion. Renee's life changed as well in ways that she probably doesn't even believe. Who knew that starring in a Hercules telemovie would propel her to international stardom. There is not a Xena and Gabrielle without Renee O"Connor.
May 2001 saw the end of our beloved show but it didn't stop us loving it. The Xenaverse had a major catastrophic implosion the night A Friend in Need Part 2 went to air but it survived. It not only survived, it thrived. It went quiet for a few years and then through re-runs we saw the influx of new fans. Fans who are still streaming in and watching the show on DVD.
It's an absolute miracle that 9 years after the show's end we are still here, we are still creating fanfiction, we are still creating music videos, artwork, still creating sites dedicated to the Warrior and her Bard. How unbelievable is that?
What's so special about these two women that we follow their careers beyond Xena? It's magic. I can't explain it; it just is. I'm not even going to try and explain it. They both love their fans so much and go out of their way to show them. They spend time and an energy to support fan activities and auctions etc. Lucy dresses up in a box for charity to promote Starship and the fans want to buy the box! Renee goes a convention in France and spends 3 days entertaining the fans. That's just a smidgen of the love these actors have shown the fans. We love them right back.
How many actors do you know who would dress up in go-go outfits, jump out of a cake to entertain the fans for a show that was off the air! Seriously how many? None. Lucy and Renee did exactly that - they goofed around, they made us laugh, we cheered, we clapped and we roared our love back to them.
As for the charity auction we hold each year. I seriously think that I could put up a plain piece of paper autographed by Lucy and Renee and people would start a bidding war over it. It's not the paper, it's not the autographs (we have a ton of those) but it's the support, it's the love. It's just the love. Simple as that. Xena (Lucy and Renee) fans are amazing in their generosity, their love and their willingness to share.
I'm quite sure that in a few months time, on a winter's day in Los Angeles, fans will be streaming from all around the world for our annual family get-together (aka The Official Xena Convention) or as Steven Sears once called "The Herd Migration". The guests know this is just a great excuse for friends to all congregate in one spot for a great party.
On this 15th anniversary I say THANK YOU to the actors, the producers, the writers, the directors and everyone who ever worked on this brilliant show but more importantly...to YOU. Without the fans, there would be no Xenaverse!
In a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings, a land in turmoil cried out for heroes. They was Xena and Gabrielle, warriors forged in the heat of battle. The Power...The Passion...The Danger...Their courage HAS changed OUR world.