Whoosh! Issue 18 - March 1998


IAXS project #387
By Scott K. Schmeelke
Copyright © 1998 held by author
1979 words

Introduction (01-05)
Xena (06-11)
Gabrielle (12-16)
Velasca (17)
Callisto (18-21)
Others (22-27)
Summary (28-30)

There Can Be Only One: Immortals In The Xenaverse


I don't get as many chicks as when I played James Bond, but I
work a lot less!

The original Immortals, Ramirez and Connor.

[1] "From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries. Living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you... until now."
--- Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, Highlander (Russell Mulcahy, 1986).

[2] Being a fan of Highlander (Russell Mulcahy, 1986) as well as Xena: Warrior Princess, Xena's apparent death in THE GREATER GOOD (21/121) inspired me to try my hand at fan fiction. Specifically, I wrote a crossover in which one of the primary characters was an Immortal. This article is a compilation of my notes and observations regarding immortality in the Xenaverse.

[3] Highlander is the story of Connor MacLeod, a 16th-century Scotsman who was killed in battle, but returned to life. He was then approached by a foreigner, Ramirez, who taught him what it means to be an Immortal.

[4] Immortals, by definition, cannot die of natural causes. This is not to say that nothing can kill them, but old age (and probably disease) does not affect them. I have yet to see an Immortal, in any piece of fiction, who is completely invulnerable. On a side note, the Greek gods were known as the Immortals, but since the term is never used this way on the show, I will not call the gods "Immortals" in this article.

[5] Immortals in the Highlander universe exhibit the following characteristics, which remain latent until their first death:

  1. A fast healing rate
    The only way an Immortal can die is by beheading. Any other apparent death is only temporary, and the Immortal awakens in minutes or hours (The actual amount of time depends on the writer). Any wound heals completely within seconds or minutes. (Again, the actual amount of time depends on the writer). Any severe wounds to the neck will heal, but will leave a scar. Any lost limbs will not grow back, but the stump will heal over.

  2. An extra sense the producers call "the Buzz".
    Immortals can sense others of their kind over a short distance (around 20-100 feet). (As usual, the actual distance depends on the writer.)

  3. Unusual genealogy
    All Immortals are foundlings. Where they come from has not been explained. All Immortals are sterile. Neither male nor female Immortals can produce offspring.


You're all wavy-looking!

Not quite dead from DESTINY, Xena communicates from beyond in THE QUEST.

[6] In THE GREATER GOOD (21/121), Xena apparently died from a Tolmic-poisoned dart. To flush the poison out of her body, she used a body control technique which caused her to enter a deathlike trance. In the sequel, CALLISTO (22/122), Callisto scratched her on the arm. A day later, there was no sign of a scratch. This may or may not be a sign of rapid healing.

[7] ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201) introduced Xena's son, Solan, which destroyed any notion of Xena being an Immortal. Would she have lied to Kaleipus about Solan being her son? Why? She had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

[8] THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) was a perfect episode for Immortal-searching. I assumed that the "Melinda Pappas" persona was merely an alias of Xena's. Somehow she found out that Ares' temple was in danger of being opened and showed up to make sure that he remained imprisoned. She faked being possessed (Xena taking control of Melinda's body) and when the chakram broke again, she "reverted" back to Melinda. There's just one problem with this theory: At the end of the episode, Melinda stayed with Janice. If the Melinda persona was faked, Xena would have left or told Janice the truth. I doubt she would have continued the act.

[9] In DESTINY (36/212), Xena really did die. At the end of the episode, she was seen hanging from a cross in what appeared to be Tartarus. However, she was never judged by Hades. She may have judged herself unworthy of the Elysian Fields. Also, in a flashback sequence, Nicklio commented on her "amazing recuperative powers," which may explain why she does not have any major scars, even after all she has been through.

[10] In the second part of the trilogy, THE QUEST (37/213), Xena's death was verified: Her spirit communicated with and possessed Autolycus. Near the end of the episode, she was given ambrosia, which makes the consumer a god. We are led to believe that either because Xena consumed only a small amount of ambrosia or because she was already dead, the ambrosia did not make her a god; it merely returned her to life. After eating from the same chunk of ambrosia, both Velasca and Callisto's eyes turned pale blue. However, since Xena's eyes are already blue, this makes it impossible to tell whether Xena was made a god or not. At the end of the episode, there is an interesting piece of dialogue:

GABRIELLE Xena? XENA Yeah? GABRIELLE Promise me that you'll never die on me again. XENA Oh, I promise.
[11] It sounded like Xena was being sarcastic, but what if she was not? What if she knew she could never "die on" Gabrielle again?


If you say you're some peacenik follower of the one true god, you're dead meat.

Gabrielle demonstrates the Amazon peace sign (or else she's reaching for something) in THE QUEST.

[12] Gabrielle's death and return to life in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/224) gave me the option of using her as a "newborn" Immortal. Her return to life looked amazingly similar to an Immortal on Highlander waking up after dying. When she walked out of the temple at the end of the episode, it did not look like she was in any pain whatsoever. In ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201), she seemed to have totally recovered. However, she changed outfits in the meantime, so I assume a significant amount of time had passed. Therefore, her recovery was not as miraculous as it first appeared.

[13] In REMEMBER NOTHING (26/202), the alternate Gabrielle showed Xena the scars she received for trying to escape. Gabrielle had not died in the alternate universe, so she would still have scars. During her short-lived marriage in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), Gabrielle did not get pregnant. If she had, she could not be an Immortal.

[14] Janice Covington in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210) is not Gabrielle. The personalities are too different. She made translation errors, and thought she was related to Xena, then Callisto. Plus, when Xena was in Melinda's body, don't you think she would at least have said "hello" to her old friend (pun intended), Gabrielle? However, Janice was "related to", not "descended from", Gabrielle. This means that it is possible that Janice is a descendent of Lila, Gabrielle's sister, so this does not disprove the theory that Gabrielle is an Immortal.

In DESTINY (36/212), Gabrielle received a knife wound in the leg. However, there was no sign of blood. Later, Nicklio notices the wound:

NICKLIO Let me see your wound. GABRIELLE ...Help my friend. NICKLIO Xena can wait. You, I can do something about. GABRIELLE ...What do you mean?

[16] Nicklio's reaction was not shown, and the last thing Gabrielle was thinking of was herself. Her concern for Xena may have blinded her to the fact that her leg was healed. Nicklio could be a Watcher, or otherwise knew of Immortals.


Go ahead -- make my B.C.E. day!

Velasca, pre-immortality.

[17] At the end of THE QUEST (37/213), Velasca was fatally wounded but was shown reaching for a piece of ambrosia. In the beginning of A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), she ate the ambrosia, which turned her into a god. The process (coincidentally, I am sure) looked similar to a "Quickening" in the Highlander universe. Her eye color changed to pale blue, and she was able to hurl bolts of lightning.


Oh, Hope, you're such a card!

Callisto, immortal and without annoying contact lenses in MATERNAL INSTINCTS (same costume though).

[18] At the end of RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), Callisto died by sinking into a pit of rather dry-looking quicksand. In INTIMATE STRANGER (31/207), she was shown in Tartarus, so she really was dead.

[19] In SURPRISE (H49/312), Callisto made a deal with Hera: one day of life and, in exchange for Hercules' death, access to the Tree of Life.

CALLISTO One bite of the fruit cures any illness... or madness. HERCULES The whole one makes you immortal.

[20] She ate the fruit, making her immortal. Curiously, her insanity was not cured by the fruit. Near the end of the episode, Hercules trapped her in the room with the tree.

[21] In A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), Xena freed Callisto to help fight Velasca. When she climbed out of the Labyrinth, she demonstrated her immortality to Gabrielle by stabbing herself with her sword. She did not bleed and the wound healed immediately. This is much more powerful than the Highlander Immortals, who do bleed and whose wounds do not heal that fast. When she ate the ambrosia, Callisto also turned into a god, complete with pseudo-Quickening, pale blue eyes, and lightning bolts.


Just wait 'til you see my Ape Man impression!

Suave... Sophisticated... Descendant of Joxer?.

[22] In THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210), Joxer's descendants, Jack and Ted Kleinman, had personalities very similar to their ancestor's. As to whether Joxer is an Immortal, there is little proof one way or another.

In RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), Joxer was shot with an arrow by one of Callisto's men. At the end of the episode, Xena removed the arrow:

JOXER Honestly, how bad is it? XENA Terminal. JOXER No, really. XENA Not bad, but it'll leave a nice scar.
[24] The fact that it did not heal meant that if Joxer is an Immortal, he had not died yet.

[25] The effects of ambrosia may not be permanent. This would explain a few things: why Velasca was carrying that extra piece of ambrosia that Callisto ate in A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), why the gods are not as active in the present day, and why Ares was "hibernating" in THE XENA SCROLLS (34/210). Ares was trapped, so he "hibernated", storing his remaining energy until he could be freed.

[26] In THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER (H44/307), Aphrodite gave Psyche ambrosia to make her immortal (not a god). Unlike the other appearances of ambrosia, this time it was a liquid, which means that it was dissolved in water or wine, or that it was another form of ambrosia, with different effects. Perhaps the writers meant it to be nectar, the drink of the gods.

[27] Cecrops, from LOST MARINER (45/221), was about 300 years old at the time the episode took place. Athena had granted him immortality to give him time to break Poseidon's curse. At the end of the episode, the curse was broken, but it is unknown whether Cecrops retained his immortality or not.


[28] Xena is not an Immortal, although, because of the ambrosia, she could be immortal. Gabrielle could be an Immortal. Since both could conceivably survive until the present day, this makes it easy to keep them together as a team. Velasca and Callisto are now gods, and, like Ares, could exist in the present day.

[29] Highlander and its associated names and characters are the trademarks and property of Davis/Panzer Productions, Inc.

[30] This essay is based on the first two seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess. Any subsequent episodes that disprove any theories stated above are Not My Fault (TM).


Scott K. Schmeelke Scott K. Schmeelke
I have lived in the historical section of Ballston Spa, NY, for the past three years. My current interests include swords (which began with Star Wars in 1977), ancient history, martial arts, and role-playing games.
Favorite episode: THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "I'm taking my friend and we're leaving...GOT IT?" THE GREATER GOOD (21/121)
First episode seen: BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS (12/112)
Least favorite episode: THE TITANS (07/107)

Return to Top Return to Index