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