If you had a television during the 1990s, you probably watched The X-Files. You might have been obsessed if you were old enough or simply caught a forbidden glimpse if you were too young to take in the show’s often eerie extraterrestrial themes. After nine seasons on Fox and two films, the show is about to make a comeback with a limited-run engagement starting in January. But creator Chris Carter told The Hollywood Reporter a reboot — the modern term for remake — was not on his agenda.
“I jumped at the idea when I found out the actors were interested. I can tell you the idea of a reboot wasn’t the way I wanted to go. I didn’t want to come back to do a victory lap, to do sequels or anything like that. I wanted fresh, new material and that’s what we’ve done.”
Due to the tight schedules of the series’ two main stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, the six episodes went quickly into production. Carter ended up writing the scripts as filming continued. The first installment of the reboot, called “My Struggle,” was screened to fans at New York Comic Con earlier this month. Carter was not happy with the idea to present the first episode so early, but admitted television marketing has changed since The X-Files was first on the air.
Carter had envisioned working with the same behind-the-scenes team as he had on previous X-Files installments, but discovered quickly that wasn’t a possibility. Some of the actors were unavailable because of other commitments. James Pickens, Jr., for example, has a long-running role on Grey’s Anatomy. Carter remained positive about the personalities that came together for the revival.
“I looked to hire people I worked with before, but over time many of them had moved up [from their original positions], so we hired some new people. You couldn’t put the band back together, perfectly … [but] it was good fortune we were able to hire the people we were.”
“We played the hand we were dealt. People are busy. That’s a fact of life. It actually worked out. The people we did want to work with desperately were available, so our storytelling didn’t suffer.”
When asked if there might be an X-Files installment without Duchovny or Anderson, Carter said the roles are theirs as long as they want to be involved.
“Right now, when they want to do it, I think it’s David and Gillian.”
Not all the old faces are returning, but some new faces should delight fans. The comedic host of The Soup, Joel McHale, stars as alien conspiracy theorist and conservative talk show host Tad O’Malley. McHale told TV Line he was “thrilled” to be part of the series, of which he’s a huge fan. He was coy about whether his character is romantically involved with Scully, played by Anderson.
The show’s six episodes are bookended by “mythology” episodes, while the four in the middle are stand alone stories. While Forbes commentator Merrill Barr reacted to the screening of “My Struggle” by saying it left a lot to be desired, he admitted the premiere episode might suffer from the need to catch up the audience on Mulder and Scully and arrange for them to both be back working on paranormal cases.
The X-Files returns to Fox on January 24.
[Main photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images Entertainment]