Eli (Xena: Warrior Princess)

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Headshot of a man with long black hair and a full beard. He is wearing a pendant which lies upon his bare chest. Timothy Omundson as Eli
First appearance Devi
Last appearance Seeds of Faith
Created by Robert Tapert
Portrayed by Timothy Omundson
Species Human
Occupation Healer, holy man, prophet
Affiliation Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, Amarice

Eli is a fictional character from the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. He is portrayed by American actor Timothy Omundson. He was based on Jesus Christ.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Devi[edit]

When Xena and Gabrielle travel to India, they meet an illusionist named Eli. While watching him perform, Gabrielle becomes possessed by the demon Tataka. The demon in Gabrielle's body, Tataka, begins healing people and deceives the people into thinking she is a devi, a divine healer. Tataka then proceeds to use her adoration in an attempt to destroy Xena and Eli, who discover in the temple that Gabrielle has been possessed. Armed with holy water, they go to save Gabrielle from the grip of the demon and discover that Eli is the true "devi". Eli uses his powers to free Gabrielle from her demonic possession. Gabrielle and Xena thank Eli for his help, say goodbye, and continue on their travels.[1]

The Avatar and the Demon King[edit]

After Eli saves Gabrielle from Tataka, the people now believe that Eli is an Avatar, a god in human form. When Xena and Gabrielle see Eli again, he is speaking to a group of people asking for his help. He is successful in healing a little girl, but he is still trying to accept that he is the avatar, and is unsure of his new-found powers, telling Gabrielle: "When I thought you were a devi. You seemed to have the power to heal people. That thing I sought after all my life. I envy that. Now I have this power to heal people and cast out demons, give people hope. And it terrifies me." A little later they meet Hanuman, who tells Eli that the Demon King Indrajit is hunting him, and that he should seek the assistance of Krishna. As they travel to Krishna's temple, Eli tells Gabrielle about his way of life, and that there is only one universal truth, and that is reverence for life, and that fighting is never allowed. Referencing Gabrielle's question of someone harming him: "[U]nder no circumstances would I fight back. If I did I would simply be perpetuating the cycle of violence that has ravaged the Earth for centuries. That cycle has to be broken, Gabrielle. And the truth is that that can only be done through nonviolence." When they arrive at the temple they are confronted by minions of Indrajit, Xena battles them as Eli, Gabrielle, and Hanuman flee into the temple. Indrajit attacks villagers outside the temple to lure Eli out and captures both him and Gabrielle.

Hanuman tells Xena that Indrajit has taken Gabrielle and Eli to the demon land of Lanka, and that she will need the help of Krishna in order to liberate them from Indrajit. He convinces Xena to pray for the first time in her life, to Krishna, who appears to her and tells her to embrace her path as a warrior in this life, in order to ensure her next life as the Mother of Peace. Krishna tells Xena if she should need help against Indrajit then she should call upon him. Gabrielle is with Eli and she has a vision of Xena beaten and bruised about to be killed, she runs to help Xena, but it turned out to be Indrajit and he tries to strangle her. Xena arrives and frees Gabrielle from the hands of Indrajit by cutting off his hand with her chakram. He begins growing more arms until he has six, he grabs swords and axes and begins attacking Xena, and he manages to disable her long enough to sever both her arms. While lying armless, bleeding on the floor she calls on Krishna for help and as she is imbued with the power of Kali she grows four new arms, and springs back into battle. She beats Indrajit by cutting off his head. Now free from the demon, Gabrielle relinquishes her past as a warrior and chooses to follow Eli's Way of Love, whereas Xena becomes even more firmly rooted in her Way of the Warrior. Gabrielle throws her staff into the river, and Xena suggests that Gabrielle should travel with Eli because she and Gabrielle are following different paths, but Gabrielle says they should stay together since even though they are on different paths they will end up in the same place.[2]

Eli preaches the Way of Love[edit]

When Eli comes to terms with his new calling, he tells Gabrielle: "Selfless pure love is the only expression of divine perfection we have in this world. It's the greatest power one can possess." When he, Gabrielle and Amarice are taken as hostages by Brutus, he and Gabrielle try to teach the impetuous Amarice about the Way of Love, but she tells them the only power she needs is at the end of her sword. Xena arrives to free them from the Romans, but during the battle she is injured by her own chakram. Gabrielle, seeing her friend in need, turns from the path she had chosen and begins killing the soldiers before they can attack Xena. With this act of brutality, Gabrielle believes she has failed all the people in her life, namely Eli, Xena, and herself, for going against everything she had previously believed in. Xena says she made Gabrielle leave her Way of Love, but Gabrielle tells Xena that she made the choice to save her friend and follow a different path from the one she had chosen.[3] Xena and Gabrielle are then captured by the soldiers and crucified.[4]

Doubting his god and his powers[edit]

With his friends Xena and Gabrielle now dead, Eli begins doubting the power of his god. Amarice blames him because his preaching the Way of Love made Gabrielle weak. He asks his god: "What good is this gift if I can't at least protect the ones I love? Why did you even give this to me? What am I supposed to do?" Eli's god answers his questions when the powers in heaven send an angelic Callisto to Eli in a vision. In the vision she tells Eli that he must use his powers to bring Xena and Gabrielle back from the dead. He begins praying to his god for help, and Callisto comes to aid him in resurrecting Xena and Gabrielle.[5]

Eli and the Twilight of the Gods[edit]

As Eli comes into his own and fully accepts his new destiny, he still fears it. Callisto comes to him and tells him he is to be martyred. The age of the Olympian gods is coming to an end. The new world is to be built on the foundations of the old world; she tells him he is the hammer that will cause the fall of the gods. He asks whether there is another way, to which she replies that there is not. Eli then sits crying at the answer. Knowing his destiny is to usher in a new age without the gods, Eli faces it knowing it is what he must do. Ares confronts him and Gabrielle. He tells Eli that he must die so that the gods can live. Gabrielle defends him, but he tells her that she cannot save him with violence, but he tells her it is for the greater good. Gabrielle turns her back to him so she will not see Ares kill Eli. The death of Eli triggers courage in his followers and they realize they do not need to depend on the Olympian gods to protect them. Xena vows that Ares will pay the price for Eli's death with his own. Callisto tells her that killing Ares would not honor Eli's memory, but she says she will kill Ares anyway. When she is about to kill Ares, she has a vision of Eli and remembers all his preachings of peace and the words of Callisto, which provides Xena with enough wisdom to not avenge his murder by shedding more blood. Ares 'tries' to kill Xena, but she tells him her death will only strengthen the belief of Eli's followers. Eli appears as an angel, and tells Xena and Gabrielle that "Love is the Way".[6]


  1. ^ "Devi". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]
  2. ^ "The Way". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]
  3. ^ "The Way of Friendship defined". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]
  4. ^ "Ides of March". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]
  5. ^ "Fallen Angel". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]
  6. ^ "Seeds of Faith". Whoosh.org. [unreliable source?]

External links[edit]