‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ Turns 25: Little-Known Facts About the Fantasy Series

Xena: Warrior Princess - Lucy Lawless and Bobby Hosea - 'Mortal Beloved'
© Universal Television / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Let’s hear your best warrior cries, Xenaphiles! Xena: Warrior Princess turns 25 on September 4.

The syndicated fantasy series starred Lucy Lawless as the titular character, a former warlord on a quest for redemption, and Renee O’Connor as Gabrielle, a sidekick joining in the fight for the “greater good” and becoming a fierce warrior in her own right.

Developed as a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena soon outranked its predecessor and cemented its legacy as a cult classic and one of the most well-known shows from American syndication.

Two and a half decades after Xena’s premiere, we’ve rounded up 15 fun facts about the show below.

1. Lucy Lawless married Xena co-creator Robert Tapert in 1998.

2. Lawless donated her Xena costume to the National Museum of American History in 2006.

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3. Xena was originally slated to appear in just three episodes of Hercules, and she was supposed to die at the end of her arc.

4. Kingpin actress Vanessa Angel was the original choice to play Xena but had to back out of the role after falling ill.

5. In addition to her role as Xena, Lawless played Lysia, Lyla, Xena 2, Diana, Callisto, Melinda Pappas, Meg, Leah and Annie Day in Xena and Hercules.

6. In addition to her role as Gabrielle, O’Connor played Deianeira of Troy, Janis Covington, Hope, Executioner and Sunny Day in the two shows.

© Universal Television / Courtesy: Everett Collection

7. Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man and Evil Dead film series, served as an executive producer of Xena and Hercules. His brother, Ted Raimi, played Joxer the Mighty in both shows.

8. Before he starred in The Boys and appeared in the Lord of the Rings and Star Trek series, Karl Urban played four roles on Xena: Julius Caesar, Cupid, Mael and Kor.

9. Xena boasted two musical episodes: Season 3’s “The Bitter Suite” and Season 5’s “Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire,” the latter of which featured characters covering well-known 20th century songs.

10. Composer Joseph LoDuca based the Xena theme song on the Bulgarian folk song “Kaval sviri” as sung by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir.

11. LoDuca earned six Emmy nominations for his work on the show and won for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series in 2000.

12. Xena eventually surpassed Hercules in ratings, and at the time of its cancellation in 2000, it was the top-rated hour-long action show in syndication.

13. The series snuck funny disclaimers into the end credits—e.g. “No males, centaurs, or amazons were harmed during the production of this motion picture” and “The disclaimer for this episode was harmed during the making of this motion picture.”

14. Subaru drew upon the show’s lesbian subtext to cultivate its gay-friendly image, according to The Atlantic. One ad campaign showed a Subaru car with the vanity plate “Xena LVR.”

15. A reboot of the series entered development in 2015, with NBC hiring Lost scribe Javier Grillo-Marxuach to reimagine the series. The network, however, scrapped the reboot plans in 2017.

Stream all six seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess on NBC.com and Syfy.com.