Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Evolution of the Chakram, by Doug WP

Hello Xenites!

These past days of holidays have served for many things, among other things to enjoy great talks with the Xena community on Facebook. A couple of days ago, Doug WP, an amazing Xenite with many skills, posted a very thoughtful study about the chakram on the group Xenites.

Doug doesn't have a blog of his own (yet!) to share the info, so I was more than happy to oblige and share it here.

Here I leave you with his awesome analysis and pics. Enjoy!


Guys, taking part in some Xena groups I noticed there are many people who aren't 100% familiarized with her most notorious weapon, the Chakram. I’m not taking into account the Indian history behind it, but the one from the show. I thought I’d make some sort of documentary on it here, however as I don’t have a blog of my own and it’s still not possible to upload many pictures in a single post, I will number the information in 7 parts as replied messages in my own post, so follow the numbers to make sure you don’t skip any item and read it thoroughly ok? (that much is solved here)

Here we go: I will focus only on the classic chakram, the one with golden details engraved on it. I’ve seen people question whether there had been 2 different chakrams with those ‘squared’ and ‘jagged’ drawings. And the answer is NO! it’s just one chakram with different pattern sides. There are nine square-shaped details on the “front” which resembles something like this _\¨○¨/_ and on the “back” more nine jagged ones like this _>¨○¨>_

> First Part: When Xena was first introduced on Hercules, her chakram was a disgrace to its race lol Whoever made it at the time didn't have the least notion of symmetry. Also, her chakram didn’t have those shiny inlays (paua shells – a New Zealand wonder!) in the centre of each golden drawing.

(1) Photomontage by DougWP.

(By the way, did you know the whole of Xena outfit accessories is composed of a total of 34 paua shells?)

>> NOTE: For the curious, in the comments Doug (following up an observation by fellow Xenite Anthony De Bellis) clarified where we find those 34 paui: 18 in the chakram (9 on each side), 7 in the sword, 3 in the scabbard, and 6 shells in the whip (3 on each side).

> Second Part: What some people don’t know is that there was a wardrobe full of chakrams made from many different materials (see next picture) and it was used according to the necessity of a particular scene.

For example: whenever Lucy (or the stunt doubles) had to fight, run, gallop or throw the chakram, they used wood, foam or rubber ones due to its lightness and flexibility. Most of scenes where the camera is not focused on the chakram (distance shots or long dialogues) she'd carry a plastic rubber or a resin chakram as it can glow like metal but is very light as well, and leave metal ones only for close-ups.

(2) Photomontage by DougWP.

Third Part: (More photos, complimenting point 2)

(3) Photomontage by DougWP.

Fourth Part: When Xena was granted with her own series, Xena Warrior Princess, so was the chakram with the paua shells (although the golden details still lacked proportions). They only decided to take its details seriously from the 3rd season on.

(4) Photomontage by Doug WP.

Fifth Part: Randomly throughout season 2 - and season 3 at times as well - you can still spot these asymmetric chakrams.

Now compare this: Season 2. Same shot (the aired scene and the rehearsal one). For the first pic they opted for metal (item 2), however the chakram is from 1st season, that is, non-geometric shapes on the golden details with paua shells. Second pic is a rubber chakram (item 2) with symmetric angles on the golden details without paua shells – only the fitting holes - since it wouldn’t stick due to all the throwing).

(5) Photomontage by DougWP.

Sixth Part: To wrap it up, the foam chakram (item 2) was one of the most used on set for Lucy’s own comfort, too bad it wasn’t always the best option on screen (just re-watch 'Prometheus' and you’ll understand what I am talking about… I can’t bear to see that crooked-looking thing hanging to her side and I still can’t believe they got away with it), but nothing, n.o.t.h.i.n.g, compares to what happened in this scene:

(6) Photomontage by DougWP.

> Seventh Part: If this subject is something that interests you, I strongly recommend you check out Vicente Martínez’s blog (That's me :p) - It’s bulging with info in a more in-depth approach!!


Loved this! But I mentioned Doug's many skills, didn't I? It turns he's (obviously) a chakram lover, and he made himself his own FUNCTIONING chakram when he was only 17!

Photo by DougWP.

He's very critical about the details (and say that he'd make it differently now), but I say it's mind-blowing that he made it himself. It's all kinds of cool - above all because he gets to throw it around like this:

This is all! A heartfelt thank you for your excellent research from here, Doug!