How Well Do You Remember Xena Warrior Princess?

By: Zoe Samuel
Image: Renaissance Pictures

About This Quiz

In the annals of TV's very slow and frustrating crawl toward better representation of women, and of female heroes in particular, three shows of the 1990s stand head and shoulders above the rest. The first had a mighty franchise on which to stand: "Star Trek: Voyager", which featured the first female captain of a Starfleet vessel. Another was "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer," which took all the horrors of high school and turned them into the horrors of, well, horror, elevating the most typical victim - the virginal, beautiful blonde - to the hero who saves the day. Third, and earliest to debut, was "Xena: Warrior Princess." This iconic show was a spin-off from a previous, modestly successful TV show about Hercules, and soon surpassed its predecessor, becoming a cult favorite.

If you were a girl - or simply a boy who isn't threatened by strong women - then Xena will have meant everything to you. She is tough and witty; she's not afraid to face overwhelming odds; she doesn't sit around waiting for a man to save the day. She's loyal to her friends and she fights for right. However, she's not perfect and she makes mistakes for which she has to atone, making her ultimately deeply relatable.

How well do you remember this gloriously campy role model? Let's find out!

What year did the show first premiere?

The show premiered on Sept. 4 1995. It was a couple of years ahead of the other big "girl power" shows of the decade.

Who played Xena?

Lucy Lawless is an Australian-born actress who wasn't hugely recognized before she got the role of Xena. Since then, she has became a cult favorite.

Where is Xena from?

Thrace is in ancient Bulgaria. It's just over the mountains from Greece, which in the period the show is set, was a warring collection of city-states.

Of what show is Xena a spin-off?

Xena appeared in three episodes and was supposed to die. However, she was such a big hit that she got her own show instead.

Where is the show primarily set?

The show is set in Ancient Greece during Roman times. However, it does venture far overseas.

Which Egyptian monarch does Xena encounter as the show goes on?

Cleopatra appears as a recurring character on the show. She is eventually killed by Brutus.

What notable barrier to the afterlife does Xena cross?

Xena encounters the River Styx, the famous barrier to the afterlife. The boatman Charon ferries the dead from one side to the other.

What heavenly location does Xena visit?

Elysian Fields are where humans go when they die, if they are really heroic. It's considered a lot better than ending up in Hades.

How do gods appear in the show?

Gods are usually depicted as humans who manifest that god's extreme characteristics. For example the goddess of love, Aphrodite, is a rather whiny, uptalking Valley Girl.

Which of these genres never appeared in the show?

Xena's fantasy setting enabled the show to move between all sorts of genres. This included musical episodes. However, film noir was never used.

Which of the following religious pantheons appeared in the show?

The show moves between countries very fluidly. This means it's very easy for it to go between different religious pantheons.

Who wrote the theme song?

LoDuca won the Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for the score to Xena. This includes two musical episodes.

What is Xena's driving motivation?

Redemption is Xena's motivation. She seeks to balance the scales after having done terrible things in her past, that are initially a mystery in the show.

Who is the main female villain?

Callisto is out for revenge for Xena burning her village, Cirra, to the ground. She has now gone insane and seeks revenge on far more than just Xena.

Who is the main male antagonist?

Thre Greek god of war is depicted as suave and witty, but he is utterly amoral. He loves Xena, but they have a complicated relationship due to his ethical lapses.

In which episode does Caesar make his first appearance?

This was in season two. Caesar is captured by Xena but is not afraid of her. Later on, he ascends to power.

Where is Alti from?

Alti is an Amazon shamaness. She was driven out of her tribe, which hails from Siberia, by her penchant for black magic including using a magical stare to force a person's worst memories to take them over again.

Who raised Xena's son, Solan?

After the death of Solan's father, Borias, Xena gave her son to the centaurs. Solan did not initially know that Xena was his mother.

Who kills Solan?

Hope is the daughter of Gabrielle and the dark god Dahak. She becomes evil and kills Solan, Xena's son.

How long do Gabrielle and Xena sleep in an ice cave?

Ares puts them to sleep, meaning they miss out on the young life of Eve, Xena's daughter. Octavius, a Roman nobleman, adopts Eve and raises her as Livia.

What town is Xena from?

It's a city in northern Greece. Like most of the show's locations, it is fictional but has a basis in real Greek cities, usually amalgamated.

Where is Gabrielle from?

This is a rural fishing village. It's in a number of episodes and is set in the real northern Greek region of Chalkidiki.

In which of these episodes do the characters NOT visit Athens?

"Send in the Clones" is an episode from season 6 that goes down a very different path then earlier seasons. The other three episodes all feature ancient Greece and its capital city of Athens.

Who wrote "The Official Guide to the Xenaverse"?

This book covers the canon for the first two seasons. The book covering all six seasons is "Xena Warrior Princess: Complete Illustrated Companion".

What is the name of the Xena and Hercules crossover MMORPG?

This game began in 1998 and sadly closed in 2015 as a MMORPG. It still has a fanbase out there, though!

What was the name of the production company?

Renaissance Pictures was the producers' company that handled the actual creation of the show. The network was then Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy).

When did the show settle the question of whether Gabrielle and Xena were a couple?

Xena is considered an LGBTQ icon. However, it's never actually clear whether she is herself gay, or whether she isn't.

John Schulian was one of the creators of Xena. Who was the other?

Robert Tapert is the founder of both Renaissance Pictures and Ghost House Pictures. He is also the husband of Lucy Lawless!

For what horror trilogy was executive producer Sam Raimi also noted?

Raimi was noted for the Evil Dead films. They were a super campy and funny set of horror movies starring Bruce "If Chins Could Kill" Campbell.

Who was the first choice for the role of Xena?

Vanessa Angel was noted from the TV adaptation of "Weird Science". Since missing out on Xena, she hasn't done a great deal of high-profile work.

What injury did Lucy Lawless suffer during the filming of season 2?

Lawless fell off a horse. A body-switchplot device meant that Xena's spirit passed into other characters so that the producers didn't have to stop filming while Lawless recovered.

Which controversial episode featured the Hindu god Krishna?

The episode was so clumsy in its depiction of Indian religion that it resulted in protests. It resulted in a re-editing of the episode and an introduction in which Lawless emphasized the respect intended toward the Hindu faith.

During the credits, what type of animal did the producers assure us had not been harmed?

This was a joke in the credits on the episode "Mortal Beloved." The full line was, "No Winged Harpies were harmed or sent to a fiery grave during the production of this motion picture."

What impressive divine figure was created just for the credits?

Poseidon was never meant to appear outside the credits, as making him actually work was beyond the capacity of 1990s CGI. As a result, he was just made for the credits.

How many episodes were directed by women?

Just five episodes had female directors, with Renee O'Connor directing two episodes. This was obviously hypocritical for a show about female empowerment, and producers blamed a weak pipeline of talent. This excuse would happily no longer fly due to a larger talent pool.

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