Ares Connection & Father Theory Explained


The connection between Xena and Ares in Xena: Warrior Princess runs deep, and fan theory argues that Ares could be Xena’s father.

A Xena: Warrior Princess fan theory argues that the titular heroine’s recurring connection to the God of War Ares was because he was secretly her biological father. Before the adventure series concluded its six-season run in 2001, it focused on the former warlord’s journeys with her sidekick — and rumored love interest — Gabrielle. Although there has been speculation that Ares was the reason Xena and Gabrielle were never officially a couple, a possible familial tie between Xena and Ares may be the real answer why.

Xena was originally a spinoff of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which produced the characters of Xena and Ares. While Xena was used as a recurring character with a tortured past opposite Hercules, it was determined that her increasing popularity warranted a spin-off series. Ares, the god of war, recurred in Xena: Warrior Princess as the charming, and often ruthless, mentor to our heroine. However, the connection runs deeper as much of Ares’s relationship with Xena remained ambiguous throughout the series, including the frequent indications that Ares could be Xena’s father.

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While the theory explaining Ares being Xena’s father is far-fetched, fans are convinced that certain episodes highlight this connection. In Xena: Warrior Princess, season 1, episode 20, “Ties That Bind,” Xena saves a warrior claiming to be her father, Atrius. However, Xena has very little memory of her father who left when she was a toddler. After a grueling sword fight, Atrius lays dying and encourages Xena to kill the villagers who harmed him. However, Atrius morphs into Ares and Xena realizes she was duped. This theory reinforces that Ares was actually posing as Xena’s father, rather than confessing his relations to Xena. Further, in season 2, episode 10 “The Xena Scrolls”, after Ares explains that only a descendant of Xena can release him back into the world, he mentions to Xena, “I am your blood,” which could explain how Ares is related to Xena. But perhaps it was the consistent flirtation between the enemies that suggested the connection between Xena and Ares ran deeper. 

Hercules The Legendary Journeys and Xena Warrior Princess stars

The sexual tension between Xena and Ares in Xena: Warrior Princess makes the fan theory (hopefully) unlikely. Looking beyond the central relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, fans also enjoyed the flirtatious rapport between Xena and Ares. When Xena grew older, Ares became attracted to Xena, who he guided and trained — but when she turned away from a violent lifestyle, he wanted to bring her back to the side of war. He would frame Xena for murder, seduce her, and also turned her against Gabrielle. However, when Xena’s daughter Eve was born with the mark of the twilight gods, Ares tried to protect them both, and even goes so far as to try and have Xena bear a child with him. Ares was used to continually tempt Xena back into life as a warlord, and the writers deliberately wanted the dynamic between Xena and Ares to be a point of contention for her character.  

Xena: Warrior Princess would not have been the same hit show without the love triangle between Xena, Gabrielle, and Ares. But one thing is also certain, particularly following Xena‘s bittersweet (and controversial) ending: that the ambiguity of the connection between Xena and Ares exists because he could be redeemed for all his wrongdoing due to his love for Xena. It’s suggested that Xena reciprocated those feelings, so if one day audiences blessed with a reboot of the series, perhaps some of these underlying questions will be resolved. 

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