Warrior Princess reboot: 'The world needs a superhero like Xena'
The New Zealand-based creator of Xena: Warrior Princess is "positive" the hit show will one day return to television.
"The world needs a superhero like Xena as much now as it ever did," Rob Tapert said.
This week marks 22 years since the show first appeared on television, making its Kiwi star Lucy Lawless a household name over the six-year run.
While much has been made of reboot rumours over the years, the latest attempt to bring the warrior princess back to screens fell over with American television network NBC calling the resurrection "dead" just last month.
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"Nothing is happening on that right now. We looked at some material; we decided at that point that it didn't warrant the reboot. I'd never say never on that one because it's such a beloved title, but the current incarnation of it is dead," NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said to Hollywood Reporter.
The revival was first announced in 2015 with co-creators Tapert and Sam Raimi on board, but executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach left earlier this year due to reported creative differences.
It was suggested he planned to explore the romantic relationship between Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle, which was heavily hinted at during the original series.
Lawless was not going to star in the reboot.
However despite the setbacks, Tapert, who is married to Lawless, believes it's only a matter of time before the show gets back off the ground and it's something he will "never give up on".
"The time is probably always going to be right in bringing it back, but there's no point in doing it if it doesn't find a way to capture what worked in the original, but still give the audience something they feel is fresh and new.
"There have been a few attempts, and for various reasons they have hit a brick wall, but there's always going to be a market for it, there's always going to be a desire for it."
US-born Tapert, who is currently producing the immersive musical theatre production Pleasuredome with his wife, says the recent roadblocks have come down to changes he and the Xena team have not been willing to make.
"In the developmental process, one organisation said 'we really want to do this, we see it as our brand'...Then they said, 'now that we think about it, swords and sandals never really worked for us'."
But the hardest thing is trying to find the right tone for any future version of the show.
"The original show went from being able to have Xena and Gabrielle hating each other through to stupid comedy about nits and foot rot, so the scope of the canvas it was painted on was so huge, to now start again and figure out where on that spectrum is the right starting tone for a modern-day audience.
"There's a big difference between Game of Thrones and Rogue One and Wonder Woman and 300. It's a pretty wide spectrum, and Xena slots into all of those in its own way.
"Me personally, I like the dumb comedy stuff. But watch this space."