The X-Files is now two episodes into its final season — at least if star Gillian Anderson and creator Chris Carter are true to their word. Anderson said she will not play Agent Scully again, and Carter said he would not continue without her. So fans especially hope they make the most out of the last eight episodes, because this may be what they have to remember Scully and Mulder (David Duchovny) by.
Anderson, Duchovny, and Mitch Pileggi joined producer-writer-directors Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, and James Wong for a press conference on the 20th Century Fox studio lot on Wednesday as part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour. Carter was unable to travel since he was evacuated from Montecito due to mudslides.
The elephant in the room, Anderson’s departure, got addressed right off the bat. She explained how she came to her decision after reflecting on 2016’s six-episode X-Files season.
“I didn’t feel like I would necessarily have been happy if those six were how we said goodbye,” Anderson said. “I thought the way the writers were talking about doing another season — were we to do another season — sounded more like a good ending to me. When I was asked to do another season, I agreed to do another season. It never occurred to me, nor was it discussed or suggested, that now we were starting a new series. So I said, ‘Yes, I will do this.’ But in my mind, it had always been that it would just be one season.”
Anderson said she wants the freedom to pursue other roles without being committed to a series for months at a time. She has many potential new roles in the works but none she would reveal just yet. She did confirm that she is not returning to American Gods.
“I’m not doing any more American Gods,” she said. “[Showrunners] Bryan [Fuller] and Michael Green aren’t either, as has been announced.”
Despite Anderson’s definitive decision and Carter’s seeming resignation, Duchovny still said he could go either way on future X-Files.
“The X-Files is a frame,” Duchovny said. “It’s a show. It’s an idea that Chris came up with many, many years ago. It happens to have these three actors in it that people have become attached to, but I believe that The X-Files as a frame is totally legitimate in any form. Whether it can go on, who knows? I don’t see Nostradamus up here. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Right now, the actors are still finishing up the latest season, although the last scene is in the can.
“We just have a couple things to do on episodes 9 and 10,” Morgan said. “I’m pretty sure the ending has been filmed.”
Many fans were disappointed in season 10, which just barely eeked into Fresh territory with a 64% Tomatometer score. Duchovny gave fans reason to believe in this longer season.
“One of the reasons these 10 are, I believe, a lot stronger than the last six that we did was, because the show is so flexible, the show has so many different tones, if you only have six then it’s a little schizophrenic,” Duchovny said. “If you have 10, you can kind of find a groove between all these different [things]. I think this is a lot more indicative of the kind of show that we used to have.”
Morgan thinks it’s simpler than that.
“That’s why they’re so strong this year; I think the mistake we made was separating them,” Morgan said. “Their chemistry is phenomenal. When I was working with them, they’re improvising and I go, ‘Just keep going.’ They’re incredible.”
That said, Morgan stands by season 10.
“I get annoyed when they say the last batch weren’t as good,” Morgan said. “I feel good about what we did. I thought what Gillian did in ‘Home Again,’ her performance was incredible.”
Episode 7 sounds like a winner, and we mean “sounds” figuratively because it seems like there won’t be much sound to hear in it at all.
“It probably has 15, 20 lines of dialogue in the whole episode,” Duchovny said. “It was really a ballsy move on everybody’s part. I think putting up an hour of television on a network that has maybe 20 lines in it and still be riveting, I’m sure not all of us believed it. It’s one of our more special episodes that we’ve done in a long time.”
Anderson said she still wants the X-Files episode to feel modern, even with minimal dialogue.
“It’s really interesting as an actor to work on something that has no dialogue, because you don’t want to end up miming what you would say were you to have dialogue,” Anderson said. “It was a fascinating challenge to not end up just being Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton in the way that we were communicating to each other.”
Morgan said that silent episode also has no supporting cast.
“Show seven is only David and Gillian,” Morgan said. “They’re the only people in it.”
There is a reason why Scully and Mulder only speak to each other a handful of times.
“Technology is doing more talking than we are,” Morgan hinted.
Every X-Files season has a comedy episode as well, and Morgan said that is the fourth episode of this season.
There’s plenty of love to go around to the supporting cast too. Director Skinner (Pileggi) gets an episode to explore his past.
“Skinner had referenced, when Mulder was trying to resign and he was refusing his resignation, he related one of his experiences in Vietnam that was horrific to him and affected him terribly,” Pileggi said. “You actually get to see that played out. Being able to let the audience know who Skinner is, why he is the way he is and why he behaves the way he does, why he’s done the things that he does, what his relationship is with them and why it’s the way it is, you find out all this stuff about him. There really is a lot that is revealed.”
Look for new and returning guest stars too, some in different roles.
“Brian Huskey is in [an] episode,” Morgan said. “Haley Joel Osment’s in the one with Skinner. Show three, Karin Konoval, who played Ma Peacock, she’s my favorite actor there is. On Intruders, she said, ‘My goal is to play a man.’ So I was going to have her play the Russian commander and then Chris said, ‘Can I use her?’ She got to play three or four different parts.”
Agent Doggett, however, could not be freed from his day job.
“I know we tried to get Robert Patrick a couple times,” Morgan said. “Scorpion shoots 22 episodes. We tried. It’s just a scheduling issue.”
Fans are also itching to see Scully and Mulder’s son, William, since he’s been mentioned in the season premiere. Stay tuned.
“For us as actors, it’s just the human aspect of it,” Duchovny said. “It’s not really who William is, but it’s the fact that you’re dealing with a child after so many years. It’s certainly a very interesting character that just shows up as an adult almost. It’s an amazing thing that we’re that old, that long-running that you can do that.”
And by episode 10, that’s that. Will all your questions be answered? No, but maybe more than you think.
“Some of those questions will be answered,” Morgan said. “Some, I think, won’t because that’s the way this show is. I think to answer whether it would go on in any form is one for Chris.”
Outside of work, Anderson has been busy as an activist. She’s supported the Time’s Up movement on social media and joined the protest at the Golden Globes, wearing all black. The middle of the week following the Globes may have been too soon to ask about the organization’s progress, but the outlook for its legal defense fund — which has surpassed its $15 million goal and now stands over $16.5 million and rising — and other initiatives is bright.
— Gillian Anderson (@GillianA) January 7, 2018
“It’s only Wednesday,” Anderson said. “I think it was a very powerful evening, being there. I think the way it was put together by the initiative itself, that the legal defense fund, the harassment commission that’s being put together by Kathleen Kennedy and others is a really effective, proactive, adult way forward towards fair, equal, accountable workplaces, not just in the industry but as an example in other industries. I think it was very effective, and I think people are paying attention.”
The X-Files airs Wednesday nights at 8/7C on Fox.