The panelists were RJ Stewart, Rob Tapert, Lucy Lawless, and Renee O'Connor (looking ever so much 6 months pregnant in a black sheer midriff number). The audience in the main room (150 seats) seemed to be 20% RenPic staffers, friends/family, and one recognizable Creation staffer. The other 80% seemed to be pretty much Xena fans -- many of whom are familiar faces at conventions. The overflow room (50 seats) was also full -- I've heard that this room was filled with almost all fans.
There was no 'regular' Q&A period at the end of the screening. They passed out cards for us to write a question down and these were collected. Three or four of them were asked, but most of the questions came from the moderator.
Questions from the moderator
Favorite episode or moment:
LL -- the scene in ITADITH where Gab is revived. This was the first time she 'gave it all up' for the screen, with no regard for glamour and how she looked.
ROC -- loved the musicals, but liked the Cinderella ep (ITSF) where she did a dance number with Ted Raimi
RJS -- in the XWP pilot where Xena spins on a pole kicking everyone in the face; he loved it because it was the first thing for the show he had written that he saw as film
RT -- the moment at the end of Season 3 when Gab & Hope fall down the shaft in Dahak's temple.
Most challenging episode or moment:
LL -- the last episodes (FIN I and II) were the hardest of all because she was mentally and emotionally tired; she felt that she was having to 'try so hard to act'. She felt that the last 6 months have been a real grind.
ROC -- the environmental elements they were faced to work in, but one ep, The Abyss, was particularly hard, difficult like boot camp. She felt that she learned a lot about herself filming that episode.
RT -- clip shows. He doesn't like them.
RJS -- when LL fell off the horse (at Leno taping) and was injured
When asked about the future of Xena, RT replied, "The fate of Xena is in other people's hands."
When asked what was the 'one thing' that he would take away from the show, RT mentioned the amazing fan response to the show in the form of coming together to raise money for charity and generally help others less fortunate. In this discussion, LL said that Studios USA donated $250,000 to the National Child Abuse Hotline (my math says that this is less than 50% of the 'take' in the recent Yahoo auction).
Favorite quote of the evening, RJ Stewart: "You don't look to Xena to study world religions."
Second favorite quote of the evening, Rob Tapert (referring to the official XWP website and show websites in general where fan/viewer comments are posted): "There is nothing to be gained for a producer to go there."
Favorite question written on one of the Q&A cards, from Mist: "Can I have a hug?
Audience reactions to the episode was probably very instructive to the RenPics crowd -- too bad it was for the last episodes. There was a certain amount of laughter at parts that were probably not intended to be funny, such as the outfit Xena wears to get killed in, and the "snow falling on cedars" comment Xena makes to Akemi. There were lots of cheers though for Gabrielle's fabulous Xena-fighting stunts including the gravity defying leaps and flips, ladder spin, hack/slash and kick sword fighting, and the amazing NEW ABILITY to use Xena's chakram. The Gabster kicked butt and took names.
The first question from the moderator was asking for comments from the panel about the ending, particular the reason for THIS ending. A man from the audience interrupted very loudly with ,"It sucked!". It should be noted that when the screening ended, about half of the audience in the main room clapped and about half booed. Tapert was booed by a few people when he was introduced as well.
RJ Stewart and Rob Tapert fielded the question about the ending of the series, and the 'final' death of Xena. RJ started off by saying that Xena has been on a quest for redemption, but turning to good wasn't enough to redeem her from her past deeds. She was a war criminal. In order for her to be fully redeemed, she would have to pay a great price. In this case, the ultimate redemption for Xena is that she doesn't get to come back from death.
LL interrupted at this point saying that the show has never taken the easy way out, that a neat, pat, soft ending was not how it was going to be. She reiterated the "bold choice" comment she made at the convention. ROC echoed her "coming full circle" comment from the Con as well. Rob Tapert said that he and RJ Stewart had been talking about this particular ending for 'ages'. RJ Stewart then said in answer to an audience question card that there was a version of FIN where both X & G died together, but that they chose this particular version. LL chimed in that she thought it was the 'more dramatic choice' and that it was also about the 'birth of a new hero, a new warrior' in Gabrielle.
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