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‘X-Files': David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson Disagree on Their Chemistry

TCA 2016: Stars of Fox’s six-episode revival series banter about being Mulder and Scully

Much of the success of the original “X-Files” rested on the chemistry between stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the roles of Mulder and Scully.

More than a decade since the show ended, that magic potion is something they’re still struggling to define.

“David and Gillian, when we first cast them, they had very little contact,” recalled “X-Files” creator and showrunner Chris Carter Friday during a Television Critics Association panel for the revival series on Fox. “So they were cast separately, we didn’t know whether or not they would have chemistry. … It wasn’t until the day they were both in Mulder’s office, and they both just lit up, and it’s been the same ever since.”

Duchovny thinks his chemistry with Anderson has grown into something else during the past 24 years.

“At this point, having known each other and worked with each other so much, we’ve gone beyond chemistry, to history, which is a very cool thing to play as well,” he said. “We’ve all seen movies or TV shows where you see mother and daughter or father and son and you’re like, there’s no way. There’s no history, it doesn’t feel like history. But Gillian and I actually have history, so we don’t have to play it.”

“I don’t buy that,” Anderson retorted, prompting Carter to quip, “You’re seeing the chemistry right here.”

“I’m not saying we don’t have chemistry. We have chemistry and history, we’re going to try to get biology too,” Duchovny joked.

The stars also admitted that they took a long time to embrace their iconic roles and that they would always be largely defined by “The X-Files” to a large chunk of fans.

“It took me a long time to embrace it after we were done with the series,” Anderson said. “It took a good decade to suddenly start thinking of it as the gift that it was, and to properly appreciate the opportunity that I had, and also how fortunate I was to play such a great, iconic character on a show that was iconic in and of itself, and for such a long time. It could have been something else. It could have been something I hated, or something. It suddenly hit me some time later.”

Duchovny agreed.

“It took a while to recognize it as the gift that it was, and that’s why we’re able to come back now,” he said. “I think also it acted as a spur to go out and do more work, to keep expanding myself as an artist. It was both a gift and a spur to want to not settle after it was done. So on both levels, it’s been a gift in that way.”

The six-episode “X-Files” event series will debut Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.