Is everyone primed for the return of one of network television’s longest-running science fiction programs?
Sunday, Fox launches a revival of The X-Files, the fan-favorite series surrounding stories of extra-terrestrials, paranormal activity and urban legends as investigated by FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson).
Apparently the show’s original nine seasons, 202 episodes and two theatrical films weren’t enough. Fans have been champing at the bit for its re-emergence since the series ended in May of 2002. Well, we can stop gnashing our teeth; our wishes will be realized … at least for six episodes more.
This past Thursday I sat in on a conference call with series creator Chris Carter as he answered a few questions about the revival.
When last we saw The X-Files 14 years ago (the 2nd film being a stand-alone feature notwithstanding) there was still a 1990s mentality to it. Fast forward to the present day: Situations and events have changed drastically, Carter hinted. Beginning with Sunday’s premiere (“My Struggle”) we will be “respectfully” brought up to speed on what has transpired between Mulder and Scully since last we saw them. Carter, the producers and writers (many who return from the original series) took a lot into account on how the revival would launch and, in particular, with regard to the two agents: “As we’ve lived our lives, so they have lived theirs’ …” Still, he was quick to point out they wanted to be mindful of seasoned fans of the show. (“This series is for them.”) At the same time, the show will tip its hat to the casual and new fans.
The question was posed if Carter thought interest in the show changed since the days of old. He was uncertain other than to note fandom is infinitely more sophisticated with the advent of social media. Events such as San Diego Comic-Con and other fan gatherings spearheaded the desire to see The X-Files resurrected, he admitted. So what made 2016 the right time for its return? “We live in an era with a tremendous amount of suspicion and distrust, (an) excellent time to bring it back,” Carter noted.
Will the mysterious mythology of the show continue? Carter was adamant it was “part and parcel of a conspiracy that has actually mushroomed” since the series ended. So, in some manner, we will be treated to familiar territory.
What was it like getting writers back together? It was more accidental than anything else. Carter and former writer Glen Morgan discussed the show over the years. (They share the same agent, so it was inevitable.) And word trickled to other X-Files writing alums Darin Morgan and James Wong. With everyone in the loop things fell into place very smoothly once Fox contacted Carter to see if he was interested in going forward with the show. All had ideas how storylines should and could go, some with very specific ideas on the characters. (Also, Mark Snow and his iconic score will be back for the return engagement.)
Speaking of characters, who will be returning? Mulder and Scully, of course, along with FBI assistant director Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and The Lone Gunmen (John Byers, Melvin Frohike and Richard Langly) to name a few. But how, exactly, would Cancer Man and The Lone Gunmen reappear? Didn’t they all perish? Of Byers, Frohike and Langly Carter stated: “I would only spoil it for you if I told you. But I can tell you that they come back in a way that you would absolutely never expect. If I gave you 100 guesses right now you’d never get it …”
How’s that for piquing one’s curiosity?
If the revival turns out a success, is there the possibility of it going forward? Carter hopes it will be well received. If so, that would be a step in the right direction.
As a bit of a bonus question asked during the call Carter was asked about non-X-Files projects. While he maintained throughout the process he was focused on The X-Files, he did hint “… there is a constant drumbeat to bring back Millennium. I am always taken by that hardcore group of fans …” He has ideas how that show could return (!!!) but that particular ball is in Fox’s court.
So here we go. More Mulder. More Scully. More intrigue.
One of our wishes is being granted, starting Sunday evening …