NYCC 2017: ‘The X-Files’ Cast and Crew Discuss the Show’s Legacy, Next Season

As we all look forward to the show’s eleventh season airing in 2018, The X-Files sent creator and showrunner Chris Carter, as well as stars Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, and Gillian Anderson to NYCC 2017 to talk it up. In our interviews, they each had plenty to say about their involvement in iconic show’s legacy, as well as some hints for what to expect when the show airs.

From Mitch Pileggi, who plays Assistant Director Walter Skinner, we learned that fans who especially follow Mulder and Scully’s relationship should be pleased. He teased that their interactions will be like “vintage, classic Mulder and Scully.” That certainly helps pique my interest, I will freely admit.

Pileggi also discussed the Skinner-centric episode that season eleven will feature. We can expect more backstory for the character. My hope is that the episode ends up more like “Zero Sum”, from the fourth season of the original run (or better!), rather than being like season three’s Skinner-centric episode “Avatar”, which I found to be dull and forgettable. I do love Skinner, so I hope the writing supports him well.

Addressing Skinner’s relationship to Mulder and Scully, Pileggi remarked that he views Skinner as the champion of Mulder and Scully within the FBI, supporting them as much as he’s able. Skinner understands that they sometimes have to step over the line in order to do their work, and by this point, he’s okay with it.

Chris Carter was next to join us. When asked about the shorter format of both season 10, which was six episodes, and the upcoming season, which will be ten, he said that he prefers it for this stage in his life. Also, the shorter length leads to more dramatic story arcs.

Carter said the way The X-Files deals with political realities has been a big source of its life. He did also add later that they prefer not to address these realities head-on, however.

The importance of comedy episodes of the show came up, and Carter pointed out that at first, FOX was unsure about The X-Files doing comedy at all. The success of that first episode laid the foundation for all the tonal shifts that the show does now. Carter said they owe a lot to Darin Morgan for that. I heartily agree – it would be a lesser show without the amazing, ridiculous, hilarious comedy episodes, especially those by Morgan.

One of the things Carter stated that he heard most clearly from fans after season ten was that they wondered about Mulder and Scully’s relationship, and why they weren’t as close as they had been the previous time we saw them. He promised their relationship will be given plenty of attention in the upcoming season. He also acknowledged the controversy over the lack of women in director or writing positions for the show, and said that diversity will continue to be something the show strives for.

David Duchovny was next to sit down with us. He said that, while it was definitely possible for The X-Files to feel like old hat by this point, part of his job as an actor is to find ways to make it fresh and new every time. He compared the process to an actor performing the same play every night – knowing that for the audience, it is new, so his job is to figure out how to experience and portray it as new, along with them.

Discussing his character, Fox Mulder, Duchovny teased that him being at death’s door last season obviously won’t last. He couldn’t say much more, but explained that ten episodes as opposed to six last time allow more time for the story to “stretch out and be a season.” This was in contrast to talking more about the show than telling a story, which he felt the previous season strayed into at times. I would agree, and I hope the extra episodes in season eleven allow the stories to feel more polished than many of them did in S10.

Duchovny also addressed a recent controversy – this time, the #TakeAKnee issue and the fact that he and co-star Gillian Anderson decided to add their own protest, posted on Anderson’s Twitter feed. He said he feels that we’re all human, whether actor or athlete, and there’s no reason anyone should be told to shut up when they have something to say.

In a larger discussion about how Mulder and Scully’s relationship ebbs and flows, he joked that it was similar to how the characters change throughout a show as long as The X-Files. For instance, Mulder’s fear of fire was highlighted once on the show but then never brought up again. Sometimes, the change from episode to episode feels like a kind of amnesia. Heh. He’s right about that from a fan perspective, too!

Gillian Anderson was the last to talk with us, and we unfortunately had less time with her than with the others. She discussed how her character, Dana Scully, has changed and matured since the show’s original run. It has been interesting, she said, to see what elements of her original character show up now, so many years later. Referencing Mulder and Scully’s relationship, Anderson teased that the two of them still work together and still care deeply about each other – and that we will see “things transpire in a way that fans will be pleased with,” and that she herself is pleased with. I’m reassured, because part of me will apparently never cease to be a squeeing, diehard Mulder/Scully shipper.

Anderson, in contrast with the others who were interviewed, clearly sees this season as a conclusion for the characters. Though she always enjoys working with this group of people, she stated that this season will be it for her in terms of The X-Files. She wanted to do this last season to really finish out the story and make it satisfying for the fans. As a fan, I appreciate that. I also hope that FOX and everyone else involved will not choose to try to make more of the show without Gillian Anderson. Much as I love the show, I’d also love to see it to go out with a bang, while it still has everything and everyone we love about it.

I hope these interviews have left you as intrigued and excited as they did for me! The X-Files is expected to premiere early 2018 on FOX.