The X-Files is about to make its grand return to TV, but did you know that the creator actually thought he was going to do a third movie instead?
That’s right, The X-Files creator/executive producer Chris Carter was so sure the franchise was going to return to the big screen that he actually wrote an entire script for a third movie.
“There was talk of doing a third movie and it was casual talk,” Carter said at the 2016 TCA Winter Press Tour. “I actually wrote a third movie. So when this television idea came out of the blue for me, I let my wife read the third movie and she says, ‘I think not for television.’ I had written something else, and she said, ‘I think you ought to do something more like that.’ It was less a spec [script] and more, I’d call it a ‘study,’ if you will.”
But the franchise is coming back to Fox with series stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, along with Joel McHale who is making his introduction to the show as conspiracy theorist talk show host Tad O’Malley. The rebooted show will run for six episodes.
“Think of it as a bento box of X-Files,” Duchovney said. “You had to pay homage to the mythology we’ve done as well as introduce the new twist. There had to be a mythology episode to begin with.”
The six-episode run will include two mythology-heavy episodes, along with comedic one-offs which were popular during the original series run back in 1993-2002.
“That was the signature of the show,” Carter said of the particularly wacky third episode. “It worked and the audience went with you week to week. The thing we became known for was our range. We did that always in the run of the original series but in this case, there are only six episodes so we had to do that in a much shorter arc. Originally we were supposed to do eight [episodes], so six was very doable. Six actually works. You get a variety of episodes still. You get two strong mythology episodes which were the spine of the show.”
Another popular aspect returning for the reboot is the trio of the Lone Gunmen, played by Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund, fan-favorite characters who (minor spoiler alert) all died during the “Jump the Shark” season nine episode.
“The Lone Gunmen are back,” Carter revealed. “They did meet their makers so to speak. But the way you see them return will explain itself. We don’t just bring them back as live characters. They’re back in a completely different way. They’re back in a fantasy.”
McHale, who joined Carter, Duchovny and Anderson onstage for The X-Files panel, revealed that he was a fan of the original series run long before he ever got the chance to become a part of it.
“I was a huge fan and this is like winning an auction,” McHale said. “When Chris made the mistake of casting me, I could not believe it. I asked [David] to sign my boobs. It still feels like a mistake.”
And his first day on set, he was thrown right into the action with one of his biggest scenes of the season with Duchovny.
“The first day was actually a huge day for Joel and I,” Duchovney said. “I felt for myself a little bit. It’s hard to come back. Mulder can’t hem and haw. He’s got all the facts. It’s got to be real and fast and right there. Poor Joel had even more than I did to say that day and he did wonderfully.”
But McHale added, “I thought I was going to be fired. I thought they were going to replace me with Matthew Lillard.”
Anderson also wasn’t a big fan of her first day back on set.
“I hate first days. I wish I could give them back,” Anderson said. “I’m unusually nervous and weird and forget lines the first couple of days. There wasn’t a ‘Woo-hoo, here we go!’ kind of thing.”
But all three agreed that once they got their stride, they felt right at home on set.
Are you excited to see The X-Files return for an all-new season? What do you think about the way the Lone Gunmen are returning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The X-Files premieres Sunday, January 24 on Fox.