Xena was an iconic show and while starting my rewatch I had to do an ONTD original! Don't expect anything fancy like Zyuranger!
Xena originally appeared in a trilogy of episodes on Hercules: The Legendary Hero as a warlord bent on destruction.
They were originally going to kill the character off at the end of her stint on Hercules but the studio wanted a spin off show to pair with Hercules. Due to the audiences reaction to Xena it was decided that she would get her own show and be redeemed.
Vanessa Angel was originally cast as Xena but had to drop out due to being ill and not being able to make it to the show. In turn they cast Lucy (F)Lawless who had already appeared in the show as a different character.
Vanessa went on to star in the tv adaption of Weird Science which ran for 5 seasons.
Long before Lauren Conrad turned down a summer job in Paris for love, there was Sunny Doench. Sunny was the first choice to play Xena's sidekick Gabrielle but when she found out the show was being filmed in New Zealand she declined due to not wanting to leave her boyfriend in LA and pursuing a long distance relationship. No word on if the boyfriend put a ring on it.
Renee O'Conner ended up taking over the iconic role.
The Many Faces of Karl Urban
While Hercules/Xena were famous for reusing actors for different roles, Karl Urban has seemed to play the most characters in 1 show!
Karl is most well known for playing the famous Julius Caesar in both Hercules & Xena. He also went on to play Cupid, the offspring of Aphrodite and Ares for a number of episodes. His other two turns at playing different characters only lasted 1 episode each.
Not only was Xena due to die in her original stint on Hercules before gaining a spin off, there would be other changes that would change the foundation of the show.
Lucy Lawless became pregnant during the shows 5th season and this had tremendous effect on the show going forward.
From Bard to Badass
Gabrielle was meant to regain a modified bo staff, that was given to her by Ephiany after the characters were returned to the land of the living but once they found out that Lucy was pregnant they decided that Gabrielle would take a bigger role in the fight scenes and would need to be more deadly thus giving her a pair sais.
Once Xena gave birth to her daughter Eve, the producers decided the show would jump ahead 20 years and introduce Xena's daughter as a grown woman. This also resulted in them killing off multiple characters and jumping ahead of Hercules in the timeline.
Twilight of the Gods
When it came to deciding to finally kill the Greek Gods off, the plans went through a lot of changes. Originally it was to take place on Hercules but the series ended before they were able to tell the story. They were interested in doing a team up movie between Hercules/Xena that would see them bring an end to the gods but that never panned out. Finally it was decided to adapt the storyline to Xena. Twilight of the Gods now named "Motherhood" was considered one of the series best episodes. They shot so much footage that they could've made a movie out of it.
Callisto was originally saved in 'Return of Callisto' but was changed last minute.
The villain of "The Ides of March" was originally going to be Alti, but R.J. Stewart settled in favor of Callisto.
Xena/Callisto changing bodies was suppose to be a 1 episode deal but after Lucy injured her back, they prolonged it by 1 extra episode to give Lucy time to heal.
Xena went through 3 major costume changes throughout her history and 2 costume designers. Ngila Dickson was in charge of designing costumes for the first 4 seasons of X:WP. She left the show after Season 4 to design all the costumes seen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jane Holland would take Ngila's place for the 5th and 6th seasons.
Xena's first costume appeared on Hercules when she was coming to an end as a Warlord. It was extremely intricate, giving the character a cape, a chainlink glove to catch her Chakram, a place to hold a dagger, and gold trimming.
Once the character was redeemed and got her own show, her costume was streamlined and simplified.
When Lucy Lawless became pregnant in Season 5, the character switched to a blue/silver costume paired with a coat and pants. After Lucy gave birth, she went back to her iconic costume. Jane Holland said "There's something quite scary about changing Xena's costume," Holland admits, "when it has been the same since she started, practically Even though there has been a change in the style, she's always had the brown and copper. That's her signature and it's a very bold move to change that. Now she's in blue and silver, which is pretty wild and wacky So especially as a new designer, that's quite a biggie!
Gabrielle went through more major costume changes then Xena did throughout the shows duration. The character started out as an country girl aspiring to be a bard. She would later go on to be influenced by Xena and become a warrior. The character went on to become an Amazon Queen. When talking about Gabrielles costume changes in Season 5 & 6 she had this to say "She is occupying a different, more developed role," Holland explains of the character, "she's become more of a fighter. Therefore it was appropriate for her costume to change."
By the time both series had come to an end Kevin Sorbo was one salty dude! In an interview he revealed his frustrations with Lucy Lawless/Xena. Kevin wasn't happy with the missed crossover opportunities, Xena "stealing" talent from Hercules and even accused Lucy of cheating with the series creator and being pissed that he would give Lucy roles in his films over Kevin.
"Xena took all my directors, they took half my writing staff, they took everybody to go and work for that show. They took half my crew! So, you know, it upset a few people, including myself But I just think of it as like, why are you stabbing us in the back? We're the show that started it! So it was kind of weird... it was a weird vibe. We never really saw them. People think because we shot in New Zealand, you know, we had, like, seven locations, and because each crew was so big, we could never be in the same location at the same time, so we would rotate. You know, I would bump into them once every four months and say, 'Hi, how ya doing?"'
Source: My memory + My dvds + source + source + source