It [Xena/Ares in The Reckoning] had a feeling of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast. The 2 of them were sooo terrific and looked soo good that it worked out very well.

Charles Seibert, S1 DVD Best Buy special

Oh come ON! Haven't you ever been in love with someone you knew was bad for you?!

Chris Manheim, 2005 Xena convention

He's bascially this little puppy dog, following her around, trying to say 'I love you' when he can't say it. It was a tough scene to do because they didn't want to go overboard to make it sappy.

Philip Sqriccia, "God Fearing Child" Interview, Season 5 DVD

I think Ares both loved Xena genually and loved her for what she could bring to his life.

Chris Manheim, "Eternal Bonds" Interview, Season 5 DVD

And quite honestly, it's my feeling as a writer, nobody ever worked as well opposite Xena as Ares did. At least, in the sack. Nobody seemed to have what it took to stand up to Xena, except Ares. The chemistry was undeniable between the two of them and I'm guessing it's because they [Kevin and Lucy] were friends off screen. It allowed them an easiness that translated wonderfully as sex.

Chris Manheim, "Eternal Bonds" Interview, Season 5 DVD

I think Xena and Ares were star-crossed lovers, quite honestly. I mean, it's kind of odd when you think of Romeo and Juilet as star-crossed lovers, to say that Xena and Ares were. But because of the evolution of Xena's character, and I don't just mean the writing character, but you know, she's growing through, having more compassion, heart, so far away from where Ares ever wanted her to be, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still love her. I think Ares has always been in love with Xena.

Chris Manheim, "Eternal Bonds" Interview, Season 5 DVD

Ares' main gripe against Xena was that she didn't love him in the way that he loved her. Although, obviously, he expresses his love in a very bizarre way.

RJ Stewert, "The Furies" Interview, Season 3 DVD

If Kevin is available, if we haven't used him in a while and Ares can fit into the story, Rob loves to add him in. He's like a chef sometimes, adding different ingredients to the stories. I thought if Ares had just gotten his immortality back, he would have been out of circulation so long that no one was worshipping him as they should. So Ares would think if he created this huge war between the Amazons and the Romans, then both sides would be open to coming to him for success in battle. It was a great way for him to get back into the god business. And Rob really wanted to make a point of Ares becoming a @#%$ again. (laughs) After spending the fifth season making him mortal and crazy, Rob told me to make Ares like he used to be-manipulative, cunning.

Joel Metzger, Chakram Newsletter #15

Sharon Delaney: Speaking of being wrong, how about Ares and Xena! What was it Gabrielle said, Xena has a thing for bad boys? [laughs]

Chris Manheim: I must say that was my big push all last season. [laughs]

SD: Rob has been saying to me for years that he wanted to put Xena and Ares together. They even had a scene together in the Hercules episode "Armageddon Now" that was cut. I had stills from that scene and was going to put them in last year's calendar and Rob asked me to wait. He was hoping a scene between teh two of them would make it into a future Xena episode and he didn't want it spoiled ahead of time.

CM: All I know is when we were talking about trying to get Xena romantically involved with somebody, I know I was sitting at home thinking we've tried so many different ways. Ulysses didn't work and Rafe from "King Con" didn't work. In my mind, I sat down with Xena and I said to her, "If you could have anybody you wanted and nobody was the wiser for it, if time could stand still, who would you be with?" And Xena said, "Ares." And I went wow! Except for the fact that he's on the wrong side...

SD: ... and done very bad things to her.

CM: Yes. And in all ways is not good for her. If there were no consequences, that's who it would be. And frankly, I'm sure it's because Lucy and Kevin work so well together and enjoy each other as people. The word I got back was Lucy said, "It's like kissing my brother." And then I looked at the dailies and thought, "Boy! New Zealand must really be a different kind of island!" [laughs]

SD: You said you were hunting for a love interest for Xena. Was that something they wanted to do last season.

CM: Actaully, it was a drum I continued to beat. But, it's that quandary of who can match Xena. Who really looks good with her and can stand toe to toe with her and Ares was the logical choice for me.

SD: How does Xena feel toward Ares?

CM: In "Eternal Bonds" or generally?

SD: In general.

CM: You know, by the end of the season he's mortal. I think that's a real positive thing. I'm so glad the choice was made not to kill Ares. Because he saved Eve and Gabrielle. He brougth Eve back to life. He also saved her as a baby in "Eternal." He had her in his hands and he could have done something about killing her then and chose not to. I think that was the beginning of Xena thinking, "Wow, there may be something I can trust. There's a core of decency somewhere in him -- a little teeny one." [laughs] I think for Xena, it would be really tough to give up her relationship with Gabrielle. But if any man was going to get her, it would be Ares. Especially now that he's mortal.


SD: I forgot a question about Ares. His appearances to Xena when she was sleepign and then in the field when she was walking with Eve.

CM: Ares was manipulating Xena's dreams. At first you didn't know, but at the end he says, "Sweet dreams," and that's a tipoff to the audience that he was inserting himself into her dreams.

When she was walkign in the field, that was Xena remembering her dream. Ares didn't cause that.

SD: Lucy did that well. [laughs]

CM: Yes she did. [laughs]

SD: I loved Ares' line, "I would rather die in your arms than live without you in mine."

CM: I thought what a hokey corny line and it'll work just great. [laughs] I got a number of comments from the women in the office who were proofreading the script about that line.


SD: You were around during the writing of "Motherhood." Were you in on the discussions about deciding to kill the gods?

CM: We had known from the beginning of the season that we were going to end up with an episode originally titled "Twilight of the Gods" which became "Motherhood." And in terms of who would die and who woudln't? There was some talk about should Ares sacrifice himself for Eve? Or for Gabrielle? Or Xena?

SD: Giving them back their lives would drain and kill him?

CM: Right. And in that moment there would have been a genuine kiss between Ares and Xena that was emotional. That wasn't just lust. An honest meeting of souls because he would have redeemed himself. But he didn't end up dying and I think that was the best news. Now he can be brought back.

Eternal Bonds interview, Chakram Newsletter Issue 12

Sharon Del: ... Now, you wrote a lot of strong Xena/Ares episodes. So, which side was Xena on?

Chris: I didn't believe you had to make a choice. I thought she can play both sides of the fence. I think the word "bi" was made up for just such an occasion. (laughing)

SD: If you were a friend of Xena's and she was in love with Gabrielle and she was in love with Ares and was asking your advice -- which one would you pair her with?

Chris: As a friend, I would never dare to say one way or another. I really wouldn't. I wouldn't take on that responsibility. In real life, I wouldn't say anything unless I thought someone was really bad for my friend. As for Ares, before he turned good at the end of the series, you would say, "No, don't go with him. He's going to turn you to the dark side again." Clearly, the Ares of old, I would have counseled Xena to beware of him. Because I would never have trusted him. Whereas I think Gabrielle is a very trustworthy person.

SD: Did you ever think they took Ares too far -- so far that some fans were calling him a stalker, abuser -- in terms of his relationship with Xena?

Chris: See, I like that, because he kind of was and it made his trip toward redemption that much harder. I really didn't mind that. Maybe it's something about me. (laughing) It made the character more interesting. If you painted him pale gray instead of going all the way to black, he's not as interesting conflict-wise.

SD: I think one of the most poignant moments in the series was in "God Fearing Child," when Ares is trying to tell Xena he loves her. [description of the scene follows] Kevin played it beautifully. It's interesting you said Ares was on the path of redemption?

Chris: It seemed to me that love redeemed Ares even though he didn't want it. I think he enjoyed his role as God of War and he believed in what he espoused. But I think love overcame his innate nature and redeemed him in spite of himself.

SD: So that he made that gesture at the end of the fifth season, in "Motherhood," where he gave up his godhood to save the lives of Gabrielle and Eve?

Chris: Yeah! Yeah!

Interview with Chris Manheim, from Chakram Online Newsletter, Xena Fan Club Kit #9