“The X-Files” is returning to TV for the first time in 14 years, and bringing it back was probably as daunting a task as you’d think it would be.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” creator and executive producer Chris
The six-part limited series on Fox reunited former FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) years after the X-Files — a batch of FBI cases involving the unexplained and potentially supernatural — have been shut down.
The two come back together again when Mulder is contacted by a radio host (Joel McHale) and comes up with new evidence that suggests all the alien abductions he’d been chasing his whole career may have been faked.
I got the call a year ago, last October, it was completely out of the blue. [Fox Television Group CEO] Dana Walden, who called me, she and I share the same birthday in October and I thought she was calling me to say happy birthday, but she was calling to tell me they were thinking about this. The thing that she said in that same breath was that they were talking to the actors and they were interested in doing that. So when I heard that, I knew they would be willing participants in this opportunity, I immediately threw in and here we are.
Fox just announced they’re doing “24” without Kiefer Sutherland. Would you have considered doing this without David and Gillian?
No. Not with me.
The world’s changed a lot in the years since the original show. What’s the biggest change that impacts how you tell a new “X-Files” story?
The mood in the country, even from the ’90s until now, there’s a pronounced distrust of government. I’m not just saying that, polls show it. There’s a simmering cynicism about politicians, politics, government, governance and that’s an interesting context to tell these stories in.
Besides Mulder and Scully, which characters were you most excited to bring back?
Mitch [Pileggi] as [FBI Director] Skinner. Bill Davis as the Cigarette Smoking Man. I thought about Robert Patrick as Doggett, but he was unavailable. Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes, I was very excited about bringing back. I thought about a way to bring back the Lone Gunmen and I did! So they’re back. I thought about Krycek [played by Nicholas Lea], but couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate him into these stories. John Neville has passed away, unfortunately. So those were the core group.
Recently you said Mulder and Scully were platonic for nine seasons and fans kind of went, “Wait a minute. They had a kid together. They weren’t platonic.” Can you clarify those comments?
Well, we never actually said definitively how that kid came to be. Even though there are indicators how he came to be, we never said specifically when that conception and how that conception and the details surrounding that conception fit together. And I thought it was better to play the mystery of it. Even though we’ve said it’s their kid, I think there are still questions outstanding.
Do you still see them as platonic?
No. They were still in the same bed together in the second movie, so… No, that’s not platonic.
How conclusive is the ending to the six episodes going to be in terms of the larger mythology?
There’s a huge cliffhanger.
Oh no! Why?
Because what else would you expect from “The X-Files”?
So are there plans for more episodes then?
Not yet. We’ll have to see how these do. Right now, even though there was a casual mention of it, no one has had any serious conversations, and certainly no negotiations about coming back after this.
Well, there could be a third movie. These characters are kind of in my blood, I say they’re in my DNA and they are. So there’s always the potential to do more. I think we just have to wait and see how we do on this outing.
But you and David and Gillian would all be game for more.
All of us have expressed a desire to do more, yes.
In your own head, do you have a definitive ending to “The X-Files”?
“The X-Files” premieres Sunday, Feb. 24 at 10 p.m. ET on Fox.