Twenty years ago, the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess debuted, a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The two shows were usually shown in tandem in syndication. Eventually, Xena eclipsed Hercules in the ratings. If you grew up watching the show, you may want to learn some behind-the-scenes facts to celebrate it’s anniversary.
1. SHE WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO DIE.
Xena was originally introduced on Hercules to satisfy executive producer Rob Tapert’s wish for a dark, tragic figure to emerge as a counterbalance to the cheerful, completely non-conflicted Hercules. At the conclusion of a three-episode arc, the character was supposed to die. But Tapert and his fellow producers were so impressed with her that the already-planned Hercules spinoff series was remodeled for Xena.
2. LUCY LAWLESS WASN’T THE FIRST CHOICE.
Lawless had already appeared on Hercules twice—in two different roles—when the show began scouring for an actress to fill Xena’s boots. A British actress named Vanessa Angel (who had starred in the television adaptation of Weird Science) was hired, but fell ill before she was able to fly to the set. After some discussion over whether to stick to their original concept of a blonde Amazon, Tapert decided on Lawless, who dyed her hair from blonde to black. (The two married in 1998.)
But that’s just the beginning. Read the rest of what went into the making of Xena: Warrior Princess at mental_floss.