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‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ — See the Cast of the Hit Action Series Then and Now

The girl power was unmatched!

Xena: Warrior Princess began as a spin-off of the television series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and arrived complete with a cast of powerful ladies who brought on the girl power episode after episode.

Xena made her first appearance in a powerful three-episode arc on the popular Hercules and was originally scheduled to die in her third appearance. However, Xena had become so popular in those few episodes that producers saw the financial gains of giving her her own show — and the rest is history.

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The fantasy TV series, filmed on location in New Zealand, made its debut in 1995 and aired its final episode on June 18, 2001. Lucy Lawless stars in this spinoff series filled with magic, humor, historical fantasy and lots of action.

Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess
Lucy Lawless, Xena: Warrior Princess©NBCUniversal/Wikipedia

So popular was Xena that hundreds of tie-in products — ranging from comic books to video games — are still purchased, and the annual conventions are well attended. Twenty-three years after the show’s final episode aired, Xena’s appeal has not diminished.

And it’s no mystery why Xena: Warrior Princess has stood the test of time — viewers loved the ancient world portrayals, the girl power that was brought to the masses, the show’s sense of humor and the extremely talented cast who brought the stories to life every week. Which leads to the natural question, where did the Xena cast end up?

Xena: Warrior Princess Cast, Then and Now

Lucy Lawless as Xena

Lucy Lawless in 1997 and 2024, lead of the Xena: Warrior Princess cast
1997 / 2024Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images ; Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Xena started out as a ruthless warrior, but as the show evolved, her storyline shifted more towards mercy after a striking realization leads her to seek forgiveness for her previous crimes. Xena made Lucy Lawless into a cult TV star.

Born Lucille Frances Ryan in Auckland, New Zealand, Lucy continued taking on a wide array of roles, including the semi-regular role of D’Anna Biers in Battlestar Galactica, a part in Bedtime Stories (2008), plus several made for TV movies, including Locusts (2005) and Vampire Bats (2005.)  

Lucy Lawless, 1996, a member of the 'Xena: Warrior Princess' cast
Lucy Lawless, 1996Maureen Donaldson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Her voice can be heard in a number of movies, and in 2011, Lucy appeared in No Ordinary Family. She additionally could be seen as Lucretia in the prequel series to Spartacus, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, as well as Spartacus: Vengeance.

As Caroline Platt in BBC’s Top of the Lake mini-series, Lawless received critical praise. She then took her silvery blue eyes to comedy in NBC’s Parks and Recreation as the recurring character of Diane Lewis.

Lucy Lawless, 2024, a member of the 'Xena: Warrior Princess' cast
Lucy Lawless, 2024Monica Schipper/Getty Images for IMDb

She displayed her natural ash blonde hair that was dyed black for Xena in 2019’s My Life Is Murder, a light, Auckland-set mystery. She has also had small roles in Spider-Man (2002), EuroTrip (2004), The Changeover (2017) and the voice of Nun-chuck in Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022).

This year, Lucy went behind the camera to direct Never Look Away, a film screened at Sundance. This, she hopes, is the start of a new chapter in her life. Lawless married to Xena co-creator Robert Tapert and is the mother of three.

Renee O’Connor as Gabrielle

Renee O'Connor in 2003 and 2018
2003 / 2018Albert L. Ortega/WireImage/Getty Images ; Che Rosales/Getty Images

From innocent babe to skilled warrior, this was Gabrielle’s evolution on Xena. She began as Xena’s trusty sidekick who was able to counter her bad temper, but as the series progressed, Gabrielle learned how to become an actual Amazon while discovering new aspects of her own life.

Born in Houston, Texas, Renee O’Connor attended the Houston High School of Visual and Performing Arts. She began appearing in commercials for brands like McDonalds, and eventually kicked off her film career at age 17, starring in the serial Teen Angel, a regular feature on The All New Mickey Mouse Club.

Renee O'Connor, 2003, a member of the 'Xena: Warrior Princess' cast
Renee O’Connor, 2003Albert L. Ortega/WireImage/Getty Images

She stayed within the Disney family to appear in The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), while guest appearances continued to come her way in TV shows like NYPD Blue, The Rockford Files reunion movie (1995) and Danielle Steele’s Changes (1991). From there she starred as Deineira in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, where she caught the eye of director/creator Sam Raimi, who then cast her in the 1994 film Darkman II: The Return of Durant.

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Then came Xena: Warrior Princess, and the Gabrielle character was almost as popular as Xena herself.

Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor, 2001
Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor, 2001Albert L. Ortega/WireImage

Parlaying her star recognition for other creative outlets, O’Connor formed her own production company in 2002, Roc Productions, with the first project being the rom-com Diamond and Guns (2008).

In 2010, O’Connor wrote, directed and produced the award-winning short film Words Unspoken, while in 2017 she produced her second feature film, Watch the Sky.

Renee O'Connor, 2017
Renee O’Connor, 2017Leon Bennett/Getty Images

While raising her two children back in Los Angeles, Renee occasionally starred in various indie films while continuing her passion for acting and directing with professional and community theater groups.

Her talent also extends to art, and she has auctioned off some of her paintings for charity as well as to fund projects under her production company.   

Ted Raimi as Joxer

Ted Raimi in 2002 and 2017
2002 / 2017 Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images ; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Being the brother of famed director Sam Raimi, who developed Xena: Warrior Princess, came in handy for Theodore Raimi, but it was his talent that won a legion of fans. As Joxer he’s a wannabe soldier who accidentally falls in with Xena and Gabrielle, magical spells leading him to marry a Xena lookalike.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Raimi attended high school in Beverly Hills, Michigan, where he played blues harp, was a DJ and member of the Groves Cinema Society. At 17, he began acting in industrial films for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.

Ted Raimi, 2017
Ted Raimi, 2017Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Ted Raimi has gone on to have a booming screen career since Xena’s end. He starred in his brother’s Ash vs Evil Dead series alongside two of his Xena co-stars and has been in blockbusters, among them all three of the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man movie.

His feature film and television credits are lengthy, and include his role as the communication officer Lt. Tim O’Neill on the sci-fi TV series, SeaQuest 2032. In 2022, he appeared in Failure!.

Kevin Smith as Ares in the Xena: Warrior Princess cast

Kevin Smith, Xena: Warrior Princess
Kevin Smith, Xena: Warrior Princess©NBCUniversal/IMDb

Ares, the Greek god of war, gave Xena her initial murderous warrior spirit and was the character with whom she had a complex romance. With his smoldering good looks, Kevin Smith was Ares in Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules, two spin offs from the original TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Kevin Smith became involved in the drama club at his high school. Additionally, he played in rock bands, painted, played rugby and hoped to become a member of New Zealand’s famous rugby team, the All Blacks. 

The musical side of Smith had him playing with several experimental bands throughout New Zealand, releasing a few albums in the mid-1980s. Forced to sit on the sidelines due to a concussion while playing university rugby in 1987, Smith’s wife saw a casting call for a touring musical tribute to Elvis Presley.

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She signed her hubby up for an audition and he snagged the role of bodyguard JoJoe and lead understudy. He later performed in stage productions for the next three years in a variety of roles. Finding that he enjoyed live performing, in 1989 he co-founded a theatre sports group that performed live comedy.

With his good looks, he got the role of charming bad boy Demian Vermeer on the New Zealand primetime soap Gloss. For his role as Paul Cosic in the primetime drama Marlin Bay, he won the 1995 New Zealand Film and TV Award for Best Supporting Actor.

That was a big year for Smith, because he also appeared on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Hercules’ half-brother Iphicles. Then came Ares on Xena. Smith also appeared in other TV shows and films while starring on Xena, and continues acting in theater.

While preparing for his first Hollywood film opposite Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun, the cast and crew went to China to shoot the movie. On February 6, 2002, he went exploring the back lot and climbed up a prop tower, lost his footing and fell three stories. He suffered severe head injuries and died a week later without regaining consciousness.

Hudson Leick as Callisto in the Xena: Warrior Princess cast

Hudson Leick in 2003 and 2024
2003 / 2024Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images ; @hudsonleick/Instagram

Just looking at Callisto, you can see the cruelty within her. She was Xena’s main nemesis and a survivor of one of Xena’s past rages. In fact, she lost her village and family and, in response, over the course of 18 episodes Callisto’s sole ambition was to make Xena’s life a living hell.

Born in Cincinnati, Hudson Leick grew up in Rochester, New York. She started out as a model in Japan before deciding to pursue acting. In 1992, she appeared in an episode of the CBS Schoolbreak Special, following that up with an appearance on Law & Order.

Hudson Leick, Ted Raimi, 2024
Hudson Leick, Ted Raimi, 2024@hudsonleick/Instagram

Her big break was winning a part on Melrose Place in 1995. Post-Callisto, she had a number of one-off roles in TV, including Nip/Tuck, 7th Heaven, Touched by an Angel, Shark and Tru Calling.

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Leick was also busy in feature films, appearing in Cold Heart (2001), Chill Factor (1999), Denial (1998) and One, Two, Many (2008). She gave up her acting career after 2010’s mystery, Paris Connections, and now works primarily as a yoga instructor through her company, Healing Heart Yoga — but she will always be remembered as Callisto to us!

Karl Urban as Julius Caesar in the Xena: Warrior Princess cast

Karl Urban in 2002 and 2022
2002 / 2022Gregory Pace/FilmMagic/Getty Images ; Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Caesar is Xena’s number one mortal enemy, having broken her legs and crucified her on their first meeting. But you can’t keep a good woman down as Xena is resurrected and finally kills him once and for all in season 4. Important to keep in mind is that the series is filled with fantasy and magic, so Caesar uses some alternate reality magic to come back to life.

Karl Urban was born in Wellington, New Zealand and showed an early interest in public performances with his first acting role at age eight, when he had a single line in local TV series Pioneer Woman.

He acted throughout his school years in plays and, following high school graduation, enrolled in Victoria University, leaving after one year to pursue his acting ambitions. He appeared in several local TV commercials over the next few years in addition to theater roles.

Karl Urban, 2004
Karl Urban, 2004J. Merritt/FilmMagic/Getty Images

His first Hollywood role was in the 2002 horror film Ghost Ship, and since then he has worked on many high-profile movies, including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), Doom (2005) and Star Trek (2009), in which he took on DeForest Kelley’s role of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, to name a few.

A longtime fan of Westerns, Urban starred as Woodrow Call in Comanche Moon, a TV miniseries that was a prequel to the Lonesome Dove miniseries.

Many box office hits have rounded out Urban’s resume over the years, including Acts of Vengeance (2017), Pete’s Dragon (2016) and The Loft (2014). Since 2019, he has starred as William “Billy” Butcher in Amazon Prime’s The Boys.

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