Over this past weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A with the lovely Gillian Anderson and thousands of fans at Dallas Comic Con (it goes without saying that it was a highlight of my UFO-obsessed, nerdy existence). It was a super interesting time to chat with Miss Anderson considering she is literally flying to Vancouver to shoot the first episode of The X-Files revival this week! That’s right X-Files nerds…it’s actually happening!
Considering she hasn’t done a lot of press since the series return was announced, there were a lot of questions that she hadn’t been asked, things she hadn’t opened up about and even thoughts/feelings that she hadn’t yet processed until she was right there on stage. So a lot of this was fresh and new, making for a candid and revealing conversation!
If you weren’t lucky enough to be in Big D, never fear! Video of the 50-minute Q&A has made its way online (which you can watch in its entirety below). But if you want the Cliff’s Notes, here’s 10 things that came out in the Q&A!
1. #XFiles2015 on her Nerdist podcast episode was a plant!
Conspiracy! Gillian revealed that when she was on the podcast with Chris & Matt back in January, they were actually already in the middle of negotiations with Fox to bring the series back! So when she oh-so-casually brought up the idea of an X-Files revival, it was actually just a clever way to get a grassroots movement going to rally the troops. But who knows…perhaps our Nerdist brethren were in on it as well! Either way, I’d still like to think it was we the fans that helped stoke the embers of a soon to be burning fire with #XFiles2015.
2. The first table read is this Friday!
Anderson said she is hopping on a plane on Thursday to fly to Vancouver, with the first roundtable read of the first episode’s script taking place on Friday, which she imagines will just picking up where they all left off.
When asked if she had a similar emotional experience to reading the script for the first time (Duchovny stated in an interview he cried the first time he read it), and while she said there were no waterworks, the emotional reactions are starting to hit her this week — especially as the con as fans brought up memorabilia to get signed, dusting off all kinds of old memories. She explained that she often compartmentalizes things, so she is only just now allowing herself to reopen the feels factory. She added it’s really just starting to set in that she’ll be returning to the role of Scully, saying it feels like the character “has been asleep for a thousand years” and now she’s waking up. But the more she reads the scripts, the more it’ll just be second nature to return to the role.
She also noted that she hasn’t yet gone back and watched any old episodes as a refresher but she plans to very, very soon.
3. She’s viewing this as a chance for closure and a proper goodbye.
Anderson recounted that for years they were trying to make a third X-Files movie with Fox, which was a long gestating period of false starts. Due to the possibility of a third film hanging out there, they didn’t feel the need for closure thus there was never a proper goodbye for The X-Files. While Duchovny and show creator Chris Carter have stated they would be up for more, for Anderson this 6-episode arch will potentially be that long awaited goodbye. And a collective sigh was heard across the audience…and now the internet.
4. She doesn’t know who else will be making a return besides the usual suspects.
Anderson doesn’t know if The Lone Gunman, Krycek, or any other fan favorites will be making an appearance in the 6 episodes. She did mention that Robert Patrick (FBI agent John Doggett) had turned the offer down. She also confirmed what we already knew — that Mitch Pileggi (FBI Assistant Director Walter Skiller) and William B. Davis (Cigarette Smoking Man) will be returning.
5. Her daughter will be working in the art department!
Anderson’s daughter Piper Maru grew up on the show…literally! She was seen on-screen (in her mommy’s tummy that is) when the aliens blew up Scully’s belly in S02E06 “Ascension,” and even has an episode named after her (S03E15). Now 20, Piper — a student at Foundation Art School studying fine art — will be following in her dad’s footsteps as Anderson’s ex-husband, Clyde Klotz, was Art Director/Production Designer on the show’s first iteration. To quote Anderson, “How fucking cool is that?!”
6. She hopes there will be a funny episode!
Anderson confirmed that there will be a mix of both ‘Monster of the Week’ and mythology-centric episodes in the mix of six, though she doesn’t know the ratio — she generally likes the ‘Monster of the Week’ episodes better. Anderson also shared that she hopes there is one of those weird, funny episodes (like her favorite S05E12 “Bad Blood”) in the mix, too.
7. She hopes they get to play up on the differences between the decades in technology, social media, etc.
While Anderson isn’t sure if it’s relevant in the first episode, she hopes that the updated, modern X-Files acknowledges the differences between the ’90s and now in terms of technology and social media. I must agree it’s a plot device that I hope is taken advantage of considering the original series is quintessentially ’90s in terms of the advent of the Internet, cell phones, and technology as a whole. Not to mention the fashion (hello, shoulder pads and pantsuits)! Outside of the show, it was the genesis for fandom on the Internet, with series-centric fan sites, message boards, fan fiction, and the like became influential enough that the original writers often interacted with fans online and integrated their ideas into episodes.
With the show also being the beginning of appointment television, Anderson added that she’d love to see that recreated for the sake of the show and the sake of nostalgia, as she feels we’ve gotten further and further away from that as a society. As she’s been told by many people over the years, The X-Files brought their family together, so she hopes it once again serves as a tool to bring us together.
8. The red hair is coming back SOON.
Emphasis on the SOON! Anderson said she’s excited about being a redhead again though she plans on going back to blonde after because it will kill her hair. She joked that she’ll likely be bald in her next project.
9. Friendship & Tension
When asked about the infamous, well-crafted romantic tension between Scully & Mulder and how it blossomed over the series/films, Anderson acknowledged it was such a vital part of the story and characters. But where are Mulder and Scully now in their relationship 7-years since we last saw them given that they acted on those feelings, finally smooched, had a kid together (kind of), were an item in 2008’s I WANT TO BELIEVE etc.? Here it is straight from her:
“The way Chris has handled it in the first episode is where it needs to be and fans will appreciate why and hopefully like it.”
Hmm. She didn’t expand any more than that but personally I like the idea of love and love lost between Scully and Mulder. Perhaps they are no longer a couple, or have maybe even been estranged the past few years, but something brings them back together as both partners and friends, reestablishing that tension in a whole new way as they figure out how to reestablish and rebuild their friendship. Just an idea! Anyone who has ever tried to become genuine friends with an ex knows what I’m talking about.
FUN FACT: Our Lady of Skepticism is actually more of a believer in extraterrestrials and the paranormal IRL — David Duchovny is more of a skeptic. That’s acting folks! In fact, she was already a believer when she started the show so it hasn’t made her more of one, per se, but it has broadened her horizons in all that is out there. She herself has even had several experiences of the paranormal persuasion, mostly to do with spirits with which she says she’s in tune. I want to believe indeed!
10. She wants to see the original credits return!
Like most if not all fans (myself very much included), Anderson so wants them to keep the iconic original credits complete with Mark Snow’s classic theme, agreeing that it wouldn’t feel like The X-Files without them. So much so that we started a hashtag right there on stage. So if you do too tweet @FoxTV (the network…not Mulder) and use the hashtag #OriginalX! You know how I feel about this.
Photo Credit: Rachel Parker
BONUS: She finally got her own Chewbacca notebook!
Speaking of Gillian’s Nerdist podcast episode, she went all giggling Yoda over the official Nerdist guestbook – a furry Chewbacca notebook complete with real Wookie growls and groans. Well, on behalf of Nerdist and X-Files fans of Dallas/the world, I gifted her one right there on stage! She proceeded to pet it off and on for the rest of the Q&A.
Photo Credit: James Wallace
So much good stuff! But that that’s only half of it! You should totes watch the Q&A for yourself if you want to hear about why she believe’s in the “Scully is immortal” fan theory, why I’ve been designated David Duchovny’s bear cub (yep), and much, much more!
Photo Credit: Rachel Parker