Chris Carter on Rebooting 'The X-Files' in a Spoiler-Obsessed Culture

Carter talks with THR about filming the upcoming revival in an age when spoilers can't be contained.
 Courtesy of FOX

When it comes to The X-Files, the truth is out there … and so are the spoilers.

For much of The X-Files' run — on both the small and big screen — the team behind the franchise has been concerned about unauthorized leaks.

When the first film, 1998's The X-Files: Fight the Future was in production (during the show's heyday), series creator Chris Carter famously had the script printed on red paper to prevent photocopies.

The creative team was able to keep the plot of the second film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, from leaking before its 2008 debut. However, they used some trickery: During production, they left out fake props to throw fans off the scent of the case that Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) were investigating.

And though things have changed since The X-Files television series went off the air in 2002 ("There's actually a new position called set security," Carter tells The Hollywood Reporter. "That's the person to make sure everyone has a badge and watches out for us."), when it came time to shoot the revival, the fan and media interest in production caused quite the shock.

"When we shot on a street [on the second day of production], there was paparazzi everywhere," Carter recalls. "You can't stop them. It's what every production deals with when they're dealing with high-profile stars or high-profile projects."

With those photographs of early production hitting social-media sites almost instantly (from fans and paparazzi alike), the show's official account shared its own "first" photo of Mulder and Scully the next day.

Social media has added an extra layer of complication for the famously spoiler-phobic people involved with The X-Files. And since fans were able to observe any time the show filmed on public property in Vancouver, Carter opted to forgo spreading false information about what was in store for the revival series. "I realized that a lot of that stuff is a waste of time," he says. "I called it propaganda. We put out no propaganda, no deflection."

That newfound peace towards spoilers came at the right time: Though Carter previously admitted he "wasn't crazy about" the first episode of the revival screening at New York Comic Con, he also acknowledged, "As far as I'm concerned, this episode, everyone's seen it now because everyone will be online talking about it."

The X-Files returns Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Fox. Did you seek out spoilers for the upcoming revival?

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