|First appearance||"The Warrior Princess" (Hercules Season 1 Episode 9)|
|Last appearance||"A Friend in Need, part 2"|
|Created by||Robert Tapert|
|Portrayed by||Lucy Lawless|
|Occupation||Warrior for good, formerly Warlord and Destroyer of Nations|
|Affiliation||Gabrielle, Ares, Hercules, Borias, Caesar, Alti, Lao Ma, Ephiny, Joxer, Eve, the Amazons, Solan|
Xena is a fictional character from Robert Tapert's Xena: Warrior Princess franchise. She first appeared in the 1995–1999 television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, before going on to appear in Xena: Warrior Princess TV show and subsequent comic book of the same name. The character has also appeared in the spin-off animated movie The Battle for Mount Olympus, as well as numerous non-canon expanded universe material, such as books and video games. Xena was played by New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless, although the original choice was the British actress Vanessa Angel. She commonly wore a tight brown, skirted, leather outfit.
Xena is the protagonist of the story, and the series depicts her quest to seek redemption for her past sins as a ruthless warlord by using her formidable fighting skills to help people. Xena was raised as the daughter of Cyrene and Atrius, though the episode The Furies raised the possibility that Ares, might be Xena's biological father. In Hercules, during her two first episodes, Xena was an outlaw, but in the third (and last), she joins Hercules to defeat Darphus, who had taken her army. Aware that the character of Xena had been very successful among the public, the producers of the series decided to create a spin-off series based on her adventures.
The character Gabrielle, introduced in the first episode, becomes Xena's greatest ally; her initial naïveté helps to balance Xena and assists her in recognizing and pursuing the "greater good".
Appearances and developmentEdit
Xena originally appears as an outlaw in the Hercules episode "The Warrior Princess"; about ten years into her career of pillaging and marauding, Xena meets Hercules. Initially, she sets out to kill him. In "The Gauntlet", her army turns against her, believing Xena has become weak after she stops her lieutenant Darphus from killing a child in a sacked village. She runs a gauntlet, and survives, becoming the only person ever to survive the gauntlet. She then fights Hercules, in the hope that she will regain her army if she can bring back his head. Xena seems to be getting the upper hand until Hercules' cousin intervenes, making no real difference himself but inadvertently giving Hercules his sword, allowing him to fight Xena on equal ground and defeat her. However, Hercules refuses to kill Xena, telling her, "Killing isn't the only way of proving you're a warrior." Touched and inspired by Hercules' integrity, and by the fact that he too suffered the loss of blood kin as she did and yet chooses to fight in honor of them, she decides to join him and defeat her old army. In "Unchained Heart", Hercules tells Xena that there is goodness in her heart, and the two of them share a brief romantic relationship, before Xena decides to leave and start making amends for her past.
During the series pilot, "Sins of the Past", Xena finds the way to redemption to be more painful than she thought, haunted by her past transgressions, she is about to give up on her life as a warrior completely. As she strips off her armor and weaponry and buries them in the dirt, she sees a group of village girls being attacked by a band of warriors. In the group is Gabrielle. Xena saves the young women and Gabrielle is left in awe of the Warrior Princess' abilities. Gabrielle persuades Xena to let her be her traveling companion, and over time, Gabrielle becomes Xena's dearest friend. Xena also reconciles with her mother, Cyrene. Xena with Gabrielle.Soon after the start of her journeys with Gabrielle, Xena runs into Ares, who has evidently known her since her warlord days and he tries to seduce her into joining him as his Warrior Queen, efforts that she repeatedly thwarts. She also encounters a formidable warrior woman named Callisto, whose family was killed by Xena years ago.
Xena's subsequent life is marred by many tragedies. Her son Solan, who never came to know her as his mother, is killed, with the help of Callisto, by Hope, Gabrielle's demoniac child, and she nearly loses Gabrielle more than once. Marcus, a warrior, close friend and lover from her warlord days, whom she persuades to follow her in choosing good, is killed while doing his first good deed. Later, he is allowed to briefly return to the world of the living to help thwart a vicious killer who has escaped from the underworld. He and Xena spend a night together before Marcus has to return to the other side. She is too late to save her mentor and friend Lao Ma from being tortured to death by her own son, the emperor Ming T'ien. Finally, she and Gabrielle are crucified by the Romans on the Ides of March, as Caesar, previously an ally, is betrayed and killed by Brutus. They are later revived by a mystic named Eli with the spiritual aid of Callisto, who by that time had become an angel after being killed by Xena.
On season 5, Eve, the miracle child Xena conceives after her resurrection (again through the efforts of the redeemed Callisto), is prophesied to bring about the Twilight of the Olympian gods and the birth of the Christianism; to escape the gods' persecution, Xena and Gabrielle fake their deaths, but their plan goes awry when Ares buries them in an ice cave where they sleep for 25 years. During that time, Eve is adopted by the Roman nobleman Octavius and grows up to become Livia, the Champion of Rome, and a ruthless persecutor of Eli's followers. After her return, Xena is able to turn Livia to repentance, and Livia takes back the name Eve and becomes the Messenger of Eli. After Eve's cleansing by baptism, Xena is granted the power to kill gods as long as her daughter lives. In a final confrontation, the Twilight comes to pass when Xena kills most of the gods to save her daughter, with the help of God and Archangel Michael, and is herself saved by Ares when he gives up his immortality to heal the badly injured and dying Eve and Gabrielle, with Xena later helping him regain his godhood. Xena's quest for redemption ends when she sacrifices herself to kill the japanese demon Yodoshi, and decides to stay dead so the souls of the 40,000 she killed years ago could be released into a state of peace. However, her spirit is seen with Gabrielle in a ship shortly afterwards.
According to the darsham, Naima, this is only one of many lives Xena will live throughout the ages. In many of those lives, she will walk a path together with her soulmate Gabrielle furthering the cause of good against evil.
Xena has appeared in all of the series spin-offs, usually as the lead character. The animated movie Hercules and Xena: The Battle for Mount Olympus marks the first appearance of Xena outside of the television series. She also appears in the comics series Xena: Warrior Princess, originally released by Topp and Dark Horse Comics, and in 2007 Dynamite Entertainment acquired the rights to the book upon discovering the show still had many fans.
Xena is a playable character in the videogames Xena: Warrior Princess, and a selectable character in The Talisman of Fate. In 1999, Lucy Lawless also appeared in the animated television show The Simpsons dressed as her Xena character, during the Treehouse of Horror X.[2