‘A Necessary Evil’ NZ script
Hey guys! We are finally up to the last episode of the Destiny-Quest-Necessary Evil arc, and boy, are we going out with a bang. Until I started reading through this script I didn’t realise how this story must have evolved! There are so many differences, so this post is going to be long.. #sorrynotsorry.
No, honestly… clear your calendar for the day and grab a coffee because we are going for a ride.. but if you stick with me it will be WELL worth it. 🤯
So first off, a little bit about this script. This one is special to me because it was used on-set in New Zealand and I don’t have many like that. How do I know? The two ring binding on the left is the main give-away along with the fax detailing. The script has seen better days, but considering its 25 years old and been around New Zealand and made its way across the seas to Australia- I think it’s going good!
Who is Russell? Well that’s a mystery I have been trying to work out for many years. I have spoken to people who worked on set and it is still an enigma.
At the top of each page you can see that the document was faxed from LA through to New Zealand on November 8th 1996. I have covered up the number- not sure if it’s still active, but I don’t know international numbers and better safe than sorry!
Interestingly, the shooting schedule for this episode was from November 26th to December 5th with 8 shooting days allocated. Whether this changed because of Lucy’s accident I am not sure, but these are the dates I have on my season 2 main unit production schedule. With this script, I am not sure if it is a final copy because it is annotated ‘2nd draft’. Scripts will go through many versions before the final, but I would have thought because the writers are in LA, only the final would have gone to NZ. But then again the script is dated November 22nd.. which is weeks AFTER it was faxed. Ok there is some voodoo shit going on here. AND if shooting was to begin on the 26th, SURELY it was finalised by the 22nd… but then again.. *I* am a last minute kinda gal so I can’t really judge.. and... Argh! Help! If anyone has a ‘shooting draft’ for this episode, please give me a shout-out- we can compare!
I have digressed. Alright, first up- the teaser. It is so different to what we end up with on screen:
Interestingly, instead of having the dialogue between Gabrielle and Ephiny regarding the ‘Amazon parades’, we have some friendly banter between Xena and Gabrielle about sleeping in late and sleeping in trees. It’s good light-hearted fun.
In the script, Velasca has a lot more meaty dialogue. Which to be honest, I am glad they reduced. Statements like “gift from the gods… to MAKE A GOD” is so much more powerful compared to what is written above. That’s my opinion, but it’s so interesting to read what was originally intended. There was also much more emphasis on Xena being injured in this initial battle which is brought up many times in this script.
The next scene after the intro is also so different to what we saw! I am just going to leave this here...
I have mixed feelings about this. I do feel like the conversation with Xena and Gabrielle is forced, and to be honest, what we got on screen was more genuine. Those two can convey more in one look than 5 pages of dialogue.
Moving on.. Callisto and her pet rat in the Labyrinth of the Gods!
Hear me out. I am glad this changed. I am one of those ones that enjoys Hercules. Let me make clear that I don’t like Sorbo… but I grew up watching the action back-2-back and I will still watch it on occasion. Xena is 10000% times better than Hercules, but I just love the entire WORLD that they create- X:WP, H:TLJ, and Young Hercules. So I like the seamless continuity.
This next one is interesting because this replaces the scene where the Amazons ‘offer’ up Ephiny at night time. I do like the original…
Next up is a bit more of an explanation why they are going in a hole to retrieve Callisto.. continuity.. heh 😄
BUT. I don’t like the implication that Gabrielle would leave Xena? I know it was in jest but I really just don’t think given the circumstances they would joke about that. Or am I being overly analytical?
Down into Callisto’s tomb…
I just wish we saw Xena break off a stalagmite… meanwhile we have Gabrielle and a rabbit up top.
(gifs from @aphroditexwp)
Next up we have a real change from the screen. In the script, Velasca destroys a temple to Demeter, not Artemis.
Artemis makes sense… goddess of the Amazons. Lets stick with the latter shall we?
Now this bit is good. In this script, the manner in which Xena tells the story of Cirra to the villagers and Callisto’s reaction is very different to what we see. Callisto is much more involved.
I would like to have seen how this played out. I greatly admire Hudson’s acting of Callisto because she is such a loose cannon. You never know how it will be portrayed. But that look she gives in the episode- that almost robotic moment; it just makes the scene for me and we would NEVER have got that with this dialogue. So is it greedy of me to want both?
So the scene in the ‘mountain arena’ (as I am going to dub it) isn’t too different, but since Callisto gets blown into pieces I feel it is worth visiting:
Following on from this, we also have SUCH a different campfire scene:
I have reservations about how good a ‘general’ Callisto would have been. I think she was much more impulsive and wouldn’t have sat around discussing tactics. She definitely wouldn’t have discussed things on the same level as Xena. I know these differences are dealt with in the scene but I really just don’t see it. I would love to know what others think of this because maybe I am bias… NOTHING could be beat the campfire scene between Gabrielle and Callisto.
I wasn’t going to include this next snippet because I know this post is already very long but… Chariot!!
Alright. Here we are. The penultimate fight. Buckle up. THIS IS SO DIFFERENT. Lets read:
… so XENA is the one on the rope bridge telling GABRIELLE to cut the ropes! AND SHE DOES! I am just shook.
Okay, final scene back in the Amazon village:
What do you prefer? The Wizard of Oz version or the ‘Less-Wizardy’?
I do really like the imagery of Velasca and Callisto imprisoned like flies in amber, but I am unsure if CGI at the time would have done it justice. The gutteral screams and laughs really get you in the feels in that closing scene. But from what I remember, I think there was intentions to have Velasca resurrected from the lava like Callisto was at some point. At least it was left open and I would have loved her return. Imagine if she came back after the 25-year time jump with no understanding of ANYTHING between Season 2 and Season 6. That would have been fun.
Alrighty guys, if you’re still with me, THANK YOU. Its been an epic one. You deserve a stiff drink.
Until next time xo
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