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Superheroes inspired by 'The Ring' - Xena

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The Los Angeles Times had an article on the how superheroes portrayed in the media today have been influenced by the 19th Century composer Richard Wagner and his four-opera cycle "The Ring Of The Nibelung".

Xena - In the sixth season of the TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess," viewers learn that Xena was once an evil Valkyrie who presided over a reign of terror in the show's mythological universe. And in the series, Xena even takes a dip with the Rhine Maidens in a nod to Wagner's "Das Rheingold."

Comic-book experts say that Brünnhilde and her fellow Valkyries have influenced the recent flourishing of on-screen female action heroes whose soft-butch exteriors hide an emotionally vulnerable core.

On TV, the most recognizable offspring of Wagner's Valkyries was the title character in the cult series "Xena: Warrior Princess." In the sixth and final season, which aired in 2000-2001, viewers learned that Xena ( Lucy Lawless) was once an evil Valkyrie who presided over a reign of terror in the show's pan-mythological universe.

The season featured three episodes inspired by the "Ring." In one, Xena takes a Sapphic swim with the Rhine Maidens -- a nod to the opening of "Das Rheingold," the first opera in Wagner's cycle.

Rob Tapert, a co-creator of "Xena" who is now working on the series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," said the entertainment industry's attraction to ancient heroes such as Wagner's is cyclical in nature due to advances in screen wizardry.

"The technology has changed and that means you can tell these stories all over again," he said from the "Spartacus" set in New Zealand. "These stories have withstood the test of time. It's really a matter of how we can do it all new for a new audience."

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