Whoosh! Issue 66 - March 2002

WHAT NOW?
By Michael Walker
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
1855 words


A World Without Xena (01-03)
The Gal She Left Behind: Gabrielle (04-11)
Everyone Else (12-15)
Wither Xena? (16-20)
Biography



WHAT NOW?



A World Without Xena

She looks much shorter in person
Xena meets her end, for the final time, in FIN2.

[01] Take a deep breath and let us imagine a world without Xena. Too horrible? No, it is still a wonderful, wonderful world. It is the world she made and the world her courage changed. The world she died for.

[02] Xena is dead. She did not have to be. If she were Ares' daughter, she could have lived forever, like Hercules. Then, in the wonderful world of the Xenaverse no one has to remain dead, with the possible exception of poor Perdicas. If Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor agreed they wanted to walk off into the sunset together in a TV movie, feature film, revived series, or even direct-to-video release (much as Doctor Who fans have pioneered), there is no doubt it would be done. Even with the comparative dip in ratings, season six was still the second most popular show in syndication after seven years of adventures, beating off the likes of higher budget rivals such as Stargate SG1 backed by the Showtime studios. Tellingly, Kevin Sorbo's series Andromeda was number one. There would be some studio out there that would not turn down the idea.

[03] However, we all know in our heart of hearts that Xena is dead. No amount of fan fiction or wishful thinking is ever going to bring her back. So, what now?



The Gal She Left Behind: Gabrielle

I hung out with Xena for six years and all I got was this lousy pot
Gabrielle makes her final journey alone.

[04] I reject the idea of Gabrielle Warrior Bard. Gabrielle is obviously now a fearsome killer. Her destiny has come full circle. I remember the collective gasp at the Chariots of War convention as the Chakram returned to the grasp of its new mistress. It was comparable to discovering that Darth Vader was really Luke's father or when Dr. Who races up the stairs only for the Dalek to glide up after him. The world changed at this point, and changed forever. It was then that I realized that they really were going to kill Xena. Gabrielle was a long way from the little girl Xena had found in Poteidaia whose kid sister could beat her up.

[05] Gabrielle might go to Egypt and try to settle affairs for the person who needs "a girl with a chakram". She might try to find any residual Amazons that might have survived TO HELICON AND BACK. She might even look up Meg, Diana, or Leah -- Hestia thankfully surviving the Mount Olympus massacre, but whose was that head in the bag in IDES OF MARCH? Yet, it could be too painful. Or perhaps, she could finally enroll at the Athens Academy of Performing Bards.

[06] Gabrielle has nothing to atone for and I doubt her heart is into adventuring now that Xena is gone. Certainly, Ares does not treat her modern day incarnations with the kind of respect he would afford her if she did take on Xena's role. When she thought Xena had died before, she decided to settle down with the Amazons but this seems unlikely now following the events of the past season. The Amazons are in the process of being gradually lost to history, just as the Centaurs were. Their destiny lies on Amazon Island with another female superhero in a much more revealing costume and a cool whip. Gabrielle can never be the warrior Xena was, she has learned much but then her parents were mortals whilst Xena was a demigod.

[07] Anyone who still doubts that Ares really is Xena's father, please write to me. I have a bridge in Arizona I would love to sell you cheap. Of course, this gives Ares' lust for Xena and Eve a nasty incestuous quality, but then the Olympians were like that. Hera is Zeus' sister whom he raped and forced into marriage, which makes her character more understandable, especially after seeing Meg Foster's very sympathetic portrayal. Ares follows his father's example hinting at a relationship with his sister, and Strife's mother, Discord in THE DELIVERER. That said, remember that Gabrielle was born with eleven toes.

[08] Ultimately, after a quick trip to Amphipolis to bury Xena's ashes alongside Lyceus and Cyrene, I suspect Gabrielle belongs in Poteidaia with Lila and Sarah. Perhaps she could finally found that hospice she spoke of with Najara. We know she has descendants other than Hope and The Destroyer, so a husband, or at least a sperm donor, is in the cards. To the lynch mob gathering at my door I say, get over it, Perdicas was a good guy and he and Gabrielle would have been very happy together. Gabrielle cannot be with her soul mate in this lifetime so she might as well love the one she is with. Barring another immaculate conception care of a busy Angel Callisto, this means a guy.

[09] Perhaps Virgil could succeed where his dad always failed. Virgil and Gabrielle certainly have plenty in common, although I wonder what Meg would say. Gabrielle is a black widow to everyone she has ever met. On the other hand, what about Uncle Jett? He must be out of prison by now and he seemed impressed by the "cute blond who twirls a mean stick" in KING OF ASSASSINS. Besides, Gabrielle always liked the challenge of reforming people. Although I like the character of Jace a lot, I doubt he would be interested. That would be too much of a challenge.

[10] Perhaps a few grey hairs have only improved the dashing good looks of the King of Thieves and he might decide he is too old to be jumping out of windows anymore. Iolaus lives to be a hundred, why not him? Or Toris? Or Hercules? On second thoughts maybe not, he might just crush our precious little bard.

[11] Gabrielle is hardly lacking for potential suitors, so where does that leave everyone else?



Everyone Else

[12] Hercules kicks around for a couple of millennia and then takes up acting. Iolaus lives to be one hundred and presumably dies of natural causes. Presuming that Virgil is the Virgil, he lives to grand old age and dies respected and revered. Meg will be okay, she is a survivor, and she has raised some great kids. Perhaps her famous son will buy her a great, grand house in Athens so she does not have to earn a dishonest living anymore.

[13] Eve must also have children. This makes sense if Xena is to have any descendants, unless she has more Solans stashed around somewhere that she forgot to mention to either Gabrielle or us. She seemed to have that habit.

[14] This brings us neatly to the question of Ares. Only a descendant of Xena can free him from his tomb in Macedonia. It stands to reason that Eve or her progeny sealed him in there in the first place. Regardless, by the late 1990s he is out, in time to bug his half brother for merchandising rights, contemporary to the civil war in the Balkans. Coincidence? The modern Ares seems much less powerful than before, perhaps humbled by the God of Eli or crippled by the lack of belief in him. How Strife appeared on Hercules I am not sure but remember the Chronos Stone? If you were to resurrect any of the Olympians, it would hardly be him. Much more deserving candidates would be Artemis and Athena ("that hagster" as she is known to Aphrodite).

[15] Speaking of whom, where does beauty lie? In the words of Burt Bacharach "what the world needs now, is love, sweet love", and we could not live without her. Without love, we would be but empty rooms, shuttered and dank, truly dead inside, so she is still with us. Perhaps our second (or third if you appreciate Callisto) favorite blond is a gossip columnist, a writer of trashy romances, a fashion designer, or has a recurring role on Baywatch? Does she currently reside at the Playboy mansion? As for Cupid, well apart from a guest shot as 'hunk of the week' on Charmed (not to mention his own short-lived romantic comedy series), I suspect the world of male modeling beckons although I hope he resists the allure of boyband stardom. We may not still worship the many Gods, except when Alex Tydings appears in costume or Kevin Smith takes his shirt off, but nor do we forget them. Every Valentine's Day, every time we look into the night sky and see the ominous red sheen of Mars followed by the welcome relief of Venus signaling the new dawn, we remember them.



Wither Xena?

[16] What of our favorite series, where does it go from here? Certainly it will live forever in our hearts, on the Internet and in the repeats. Its influence is enormous and will resonate for many years. We now have a bevy of strong female heroes who do not pause mid-battle to touch up their lipstick à la Charlie's Angels, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Bionic Woman, etc. Without Xena, we would have had no Buffy, no Dark Angel, no Highlander: The Raven, Sheena, Charmed, or countless other more or less flattering imitations. The term "Xena" has entered the English language much as the phrase "Catch-22" has. Even people who have never watched the show will know exactly what you mean if you describe a woman as Xena-like.

[17] Sadly, I do not see it growing into a Star Trek-style cult, like Elvis Presley or the Beatles, which was a case of the right concept at the right time and will never be repeated. Dr. Who has endured wonderfully with a constant stream of video and audio productions, radio plays, over two hundred original novels, and a monthly magazine twelve years after the series ended and five years since the last TV movie.

[18] However, Xena is not like that. It is a visual series. The various comics, novels, and other merchandise never sold that well. Our devotion to the series, the devotion of the loyal fan, will remain as it fades from the public consciousness. About the only thing that could preserve it is Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, or perhaps Hudson Leick becoming movie mega-stars or aping Kevin Sorbo and having another smash hit show.

[19] What are we left with then? A mouthful of ashes? Or should that be an urn? No. We are left with 132 episodes ranging from the heights of THE BITTER SUITE to the lows of KING CON, six episodes of Hercules, a rather dire animated movie, and a plethora of memorabilia. My favorite is my Callisto shot glass.

[20] We are left with the equivalent of forty full-length motion pictures. James Bond would have to endure for another thirty years to rival Xena, and he cost a whole lot more. Face it -- he was not nearly as much fun, either!



Biography

a man of mystery Michael Walker
A man of mystery.

 

 

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