Whoosh! Issue 39 - December 1999

The Force Is With Them:
Xena, Gabrielle, And Joxer As Related To Star Wars

Gabrielle: Which Skywalker Is She?

Hmm, Centaurs.  Interesting.  Han Solo is kinda like a horse's a**.

Not exactly Gabs of Steel, but a striking similarity to Amazon Queen costume.

[27] Of course, every Jedi needs a sidekick, right? Even Han, for his disdain of the Jedi, had Chewbacca the Wookiee.

[28] It would be too easy to compare the young girl from Poteidaia, clad in her peasant dress, to the young Luke Skywalker in his white Tatooine clothes. Gabrielle represents Luke's earlier phases, true, but she can also be seen as very similar to Leia.

[29] Like Xena, Gabrielle grew up in a fairly back-water community, and in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101), it is obvious that she wants to leave Poteidaia (and with THAT guy as Perdicas, I do not blame her). Her manner is wide-eyed and naive, just like Luke when he unsuspectingly purchases R2-D2 and Threepio from the Jawas. The appearance of Xena, like the hologram of Leia in NH, is the catalyst. (I have read an interesting theory that Xena and Gabrielle might be separated sisters, ala Luke and Leia. Far-fetched, yes, but maybe that is why their souls are eternally bound). Gabrielle may not initially want to be a warrior, but by following Xena, she gets into more than she bargained for. Luke knows how to handle a blaster well enough when he boards the Millennium Falcon, but, in the beginning, Gabrielle has to either talk her way out of a situation or hide while Xena handles the fighting.

[30] Princess Leia, on the other hand, is no pushover, even in her earliest appearance. In the first scenes of NH, she grabs a blaster and prepares to take on the invaders of her own ship. It will not be until HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110) that Gabrielle learns to use a real weapon, a staff, and during most of the first season she is not comfortable holding it. Joining the Amazons seems like a fun thing to her until she finds out it involves killing. Maybe Luke is thinking the same thing when he joins the Rebellion, although he never seemed to have qualms about blasting storm troopers.

[31] As Gabrielle evolves, we see her not only become an accomplished fighter, but scribe [Note 06], medic [Note 07], and commander of troops [Note 08]. Neither the Bard of Poteidaia or the Princess of Alderaan are damsels in distress. They fight just as well as the next. It is interesting that while Gabrielle, until the India episodes, swings that staff hard enough to give serious brain damage, she professes to be mostly nonviolent. Princess Leia, on the other hand, shows no apparent regret when she guns down a storm trooper. Oddly Leia and Gabrielle, for all their "peaceful" tendencies, have a whipping boy of their own: Han Solo and Joxer the Mighty, respectively.

[32] One would be tempted to compare Han Solo's early, unwanted romantic gestures to Joxer's unrequited love for Gabrielle, but I will leave it at that. One must remember that in NH and ESB, Leia actually shows quasi- romantic affection for Luke before realizing she loves Han.

[33] Do Xena and Gabrielle share the sort of "mental" link that Luke and Leia do? In ESB, when Luke is dangling helplessly from the bowels of Cloud City, he reaches out and makes Leia hear his calls for help. Maybe the most likely Xenaverse equivalent would be ADVENTURES IN THE SIN TRADE (69-70/401-402), in which Xena repeatedly hears what she thinks is Gabrielle's voice, when in fact the bard is not dead. As R.J. Stewart mentioned in an interview in The Chakram, the two women share a bond so deep that they can hear each other's thoughts. Xena heard what she interpreted to be the dead Gabrielle. Luke, using the Force, could also sense the presence of Darth Vader or other evils (although Xena seems to possess a greater degree of these abilities than her bardic companion).

[34] Back to the first-season Gabrielle and Luke Skywalker. The comparisons are plentiful enough: a young dreamer (Gabrielle, Luke) from a back-water village (Poteidaia, Tatooine) meets up with a warrior (Xena, Obi-wan or Han, depending on point of view) and begins a life on the road. The early scenes in which Obi-wan tutors Luke with his father's lightsaber recall the scene in DREAMWORKER (03/103) where Xena instructs Gabrielle how to get out of a fight without violence, if possible. Gabrielle and Luke gradually become aware, however, that life with a warrior (Warrior Princess or Jedi Knight) is not as glamorous as it seems. But while Gabrielle is beyond distraught over her first kill in THE DELIVERER (50/304), Luke and Leia's blood innocence is never something addressed in the Star Wars films, with the possible exception of Luke not wanting to kill Vader in ROTJ. We must assume that in a galaxy ruled by the Empire, killing is a necessary evil to stay alive. So it is in the ancient world, but for someone as innocent as Gabrielle, it is all the more painful.

Joxer: Disguised Jedi Master or Jar Jar Binks?

Meesa be numma one Joxa fan, you betcha!

Jar Jar Joxer?

[35] It would be far too easy to compare Joxer the Mighty to Jar Jar Binks of PM. While both share a number of important qualities (clumsiness, general amiability, and sidekick status), Joxer has in fact undergone much more character development than the lovable Gungan. In fact, the Mighty One might have more potential than even he realizes.

[36] Perhaps the foremost reason that Joxer is not much of a warrior is the fact that his self-esteem is rock bottom. Especially in the second season [GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN (28/204) or TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208)] he tries to hide it with a mixture of bravado, swagger, and feigned courage. But, as Xena says to him at the conclusion of FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216), Aphrodite could not have used any more than what was already inside of him. Xena herself seems to be the only person to put any stock in Joxer as a comrade [A A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222), RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205), and THE CONVERT (86/418), for example], and there are subtle reasons she allows him to accompany her.

[37] Yoda mentions in ESB that a Jedi is selfless. He does not want fame or glory, only to fight for justice and freedom. Sure enough, the early Joxer was mostly a one-sided foil with a "step-aside-and-let-the-mighty- warrior-fight" attitude, but Ted Raimi's remarkable acting abilities have given Joxer more depth and range in third and fourth season episodes. Joxer has performed many more unselfish, courageous acts than the average viewer realizes: trying to rescue Gabrielle from Xena herself in THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), saving Xena and Gabrielle in RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/205) [Note 09], and retrieving the Hind's blood dagger in SACRIFICE II (68/322). How many average people would risk their lives against Callisto, Hope, Roman soldiers, Bacchae, and more just for glory? Joxer's selfless nature sets him above Xena and Gabrielle morally since he has never let anger, true fear, spite, jealousy, or hatred get in his way of at least trying to do right. In that respect he is the most attuned to the Force of the trio.

[38] Like the Jedi Knights, he is not trying to gain anything from these deeds. He is doing what is right: risking his own life to save those of others. While he had no apparent mentors like Xena or Gabrielle, he has, in essence, become Xena's "padawan" over the course of the series. Contrary to popular belief, Gabrielle became much less of a "padawan" figure during and after the Rift arc. THE CONVERT (86/418) showcases wonderfully the relationship of Xena and Joxer as master and student, and she becomes almost an Obi-wan Kenobi to him. Although the killing of Kryton is obviously an accident, the unimaginable guilt Joxer feels comes from the purity and innocence of his heart. Could the vision of Kryton's ghost in THE CONVERT be a subtle homage to the "cave" scene in ESB? One can only wonder.

[39] While there's no comparable scene in the Star Wars universe, one might compare the "before" and "after" versions with the early Luke and the black-clad Luke of ROTJ. Many Joxer fans pointed out that no repercussions from this kill were apparent in the next week's episode, TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE (87/419), featuring the return of an early second season Joxer. Xena's attempts at consolation might be best compared to Obi-wan's spirit advising Luke in ESB and ROTJ. She clearly holds a much greater degree of respect for him once he decides to confess the kill to Armond, Kryton's son. Armond has the potential to become Joxer's own padawan, just as Anakin comes under Obi-wan's tutelage after Qui-Gon's death.

[40] Is the Force with Joxer? One indication might be in TEN LITTLE WARLORDS (32/208). As the dethroned Ares puts it, only those with no experience in violence will lose it. Gabrielle goes ballistic, but Joxer only halfway loses his cool. Does it make him a Jedi? No. But it is certainly an indication that he has greater self- control than he realizes. Had Joxer encountered a Lao Ma or a M'Lila, one can only wonder if he could have been a Jedi Master. Xena has never been shown teaching Joxer self- defense skills of any sort, although this is a topic often addressed in fan fiction. In IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404), the Mighty One defended himself successfully against three soldiers for the first time, so either she taught him or he learns through example.

[41] Qui-Gon, in PM, tells Anakin he must learn through observation after the boy has been rejected as a padawan by the Jedi Council.) One theme in ESB and PM with Luke and Anakin, respectively, is that the Jedi training must take place at an early age. In both cases Yoda declares the potential students as too old, and both prove him wrong. It would seem that in his early life Joxer would either not have had the opportunities or the desire to train. Luke wants to become a Jedi just like his father, Joxer, a warlord like his. Both seemingly grew up without a strong father figure. (How can you become a great warrior if your father is either the Dark Lord of the Sith or a jailed warlord?

Influences of Star Wars in the Xenaverse

Luke!  I mean Xena!  I am your father!  Maybe!

Xena confronts the god who may or may not be her father.

[42] Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi have obviously borrowed more than their fair share of ideas from the Star Wars films, several of which this thesis has tried to point out. There can be no direct character equations, with the possible exception of Autolycus and Lando Calrissian. However, the relationships, scenery and themes that have made the galaxy of Star Wars so memorable are in good supply in the Xenaverse.

[43] The young Anakin Skywalker of PM recalls eerily the child Callisto in Cirra. In both cases, the wide- eyed, innocent child becomes evil incarnate. We know how the insanity of the Warrior Queen came about, but the real reason Anakin became Darth Vader is yet to be told. The topic has been discussed in numerous fan fictions, but how exactly Callisto developed her warrior abilities and quick reflexes remains somewhat of a mystery. Qui-Gon discovers Anakin's Jedi traits during the high-stakes pod race, but the ten or so years between the burning of Cirra and CALLISTO (22/122) are somewhat of a blank slate.

[44] The puzzle of where Xena got her chakram was revealed, at last, in the fifth season. The design seemed to have come from the arches of Lao Ma's palace. The metal itself is obviously from the gods. The lightsabers of the Jedi are a similarly unique sort of weapon. They are reliable, almost all-powerful, and all but indestructible. Of course, while the Jedi use the power of the Force as a primary weapon, Xena has seemingly been unable to use her similar gifts since the assassination of Ming T'ien in THE DEBT (52-53/306-307). [EDITOR'S NOTE: These powers have come into play again in early Fifth Season episodes.] While such a concept works for Luke and Vader, giving the Warrior Princess telekinetic abilities seems somewhat out of place.


Bart!  I am your father, you little...

The STAR WARS theme has echoed on other series as well.

[45] Star Wars and Xena: Warrior Princess are full of the same themes: good versus evil, overcoming one's dark side, the healing power of love and friendship, the importance of loyalty, and the need for crusaders. Both are filled with a roster of unforgettable and sympathetic characters who have become part of pop culture. Neither is intended to be the same as the other, but both borrow from the other.

[46] Just do not point your blaster at me when I say that I love Joxer and Jar Jar Binks.


Note 01:
Star Wars: A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (George Lucas, 1980)
Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi (George Lucas, 1983)
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (George Lucas, 1999)
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Note 02:
"The Chakram" [Newsletter of the Official Xena fanclub] No. 5.
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Note 03:
THE PRICE (44/220), PAST IMPERFECT (77/409)
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Note 04:
THE DEBT (52-53/306-307)
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Note 05:
CALLISTO (22/122)
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Note 06:
A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
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Note 07:
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Note 08:
A GOOD DAY (73/405)
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Note 09:
Which the writers finally acknowledged in DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN (90/422)
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Filippa Morgan Filippa Morgan
Filippa was born to a lost tribe of Amazons in Croatia, who conveniently gave her for adoption to a loving family in North Carolina. She was a Department of Defense brat who spent most of her childhood in the West and later five years in Germany. In high school she loved basketball, horseback riding, art, and English, but found her true calling as a writer of fiction. When she ran off to college, someone introduced her to the world of Xena: Warrior Princess. Currently, she lives in Nashville. Filippa is an only child with two cats, a dog, and Joxer, the Mighty Horse.
Favorite episode: FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216); A GOOD DAY
Favorite line: Xena: "The real Joxer may not be the best swordsman around, but he's always had the heart of a lion." FOR HIM THE BELL TOLLS (40/216); Joxer: "I think you're just feeling a little puffy, irritable and bloated today." IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404).
First episode seen: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302)
Least favorite episode: KING CON (61/315) and THE WAY (84/416)

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