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Quoted from Jeph York's commentary at Whoosh!
The scenes from Cirra had several major inconsistencies from what we
know of Xenaverse history: the sudden reordering of Callisto's family from
mother-sister to mother-father-uncle; Xena's dubious possession of the Kronos
Stone; Ares' physical presence at Xena's side, contrary to what she said in "The
Reckoning" ("I always wondered what you looked like", to paraphrase); not to
mention quite a few minor, inferential mistakes: Xena wearing her sword on her
back, Ares in his Season Three outfit, and jewels on Xena's chakram (not
present in the Herc Trilogy). This seems to have riled up many Xenites,
especially the poor handling of Callisto's family. However, there is a very
rational explanation for everything.
What you have to remember about all the past scenes, from the death of
Alcmene onward, is that they took place in an *alternate universe*. As soon as
Alcmene died, Iolaus began to follow Callisto forward into the present ... of a
new and divergent timeline: that of A World Without Hercules. Here, everything
is basically the same, but with Herc's disappearance/nonexistance spreading
outwards like a ripple as his fame grew in "our" timeline. By the show's current
time (about 30/35 years after Herc's birth, give or take), his nonexistance had
resulted in Xena conquering the known world. By Cirra (25/30 years, give or
take), perhaps his nonexistance had indeed affected the Xenaverse timeline, but
in minor, indirect ways.
I mean, let's see: Herc is never born. He never grows into a hero, inspiring
the people to defend themselves (Xena and Ares even complain of this at Cirra,
that they almost wish a champion would come forward so that crushing people's
spirits would be more fun; a distinct clue that this is the Cirra of a World
Without Hercules). The now easily-defeatable populace is ruled over by Xena
with a tighter fist, and so Ares decides to manifest himself to her earlier than in
Herc never stops a certain mugging on a certain day, and Callisto's sister
loses her life. To support Cally's mother after that loss, her husband and brother
remain in Cirra instead of going off to fight at, say, Troy.
Herc never stops a thief from stealing the Kronos Stone from someone else,
diverting it from its "natural" fate of the Quallas Collection. It ends up in the
hands of the king who begs for his life and kingdom with it, and Xena gets ahold
The list of minor differences can go on and on, even rationalizing away Ares'
early costume switch and Xena's weapons differences, if you tried hard enough.
So I don't think that we should regard what we just saw in AN2 to be the
hard-and-fast canon of the events at Cirra, but instead like a painting rendered in
broad strokes: the intent, if not the details. "Our" Cirra, the real Cirra, happened
a bit differently, and we haven't yet seen it completely.
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