Chris Carter on Why Amazon Scrapped 'The After' — and What's Next After 'The X-Files'

Chris Carter - H 2014
AP Images

Chris Carter - H 2014

Chris Carter nearly returned to TV before Fox greenlighted the revival of The X-Files.

Amazon picked up his drama The After to series, with the X-Files creator telling reporters in July 2014 that he was approaching the show with a 99-episode goal. Six months later, Amazon scrapped the eight-episode series.

So what happened to the post-apocalyptic mystery thriller that was originally poised to be Carter's follow-up to The X-Files?

"I think there was just a difference of opinion about the direction of the show," he told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday after meeting the press for Fox's presentation of the X-Files revival at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour. "It was a hard sell from the beginning. It was eight characters in hell, and I really didn't do a bible for the show because I wanted to discover what that was about. It was a hard sell, and it would have been an investment for them, if they were going to do eight episodes, of $40 million. I can understand their reluctance, and I still think I had eight great episodes."

Written and directed by Carter, the series hailed from Georgeville TV, who worked with him on The After in October 2013 when the project was shopped to buyers at MIPCOM. The show was set to bow in 2015. Amazon only filmed the pilot, which was picked up in August 2013 after being previously developed by MRC in 2012.

Carter said he based his mystery-focused The After on Dante's Inferno, which has 99 cantos in its story. "I'm using that as my model," he said at the time.

The series — which starred Louise Monot, Sharon Lawrence, Aldis Hodge, Adrian Pasdar, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Andrew Howard, Jaina Lee Ortiz and Sam Littlefield — was rumored to have been shopped to other outlets, but Carter confirmed Friday that The After is dead.

As for what's next after Fox's six-episode X-Files revival — which Carter said he had "no talk about spinoffs of any sort just now" — the showrunner plans to go surfing, though he does have another TV project in mind.

"My wife has a miniseries, which is an adaptation of her second book," he told THR, eluding to Dori Carter's We Are Rich. "I would really love to see that on television."

And for those wondering, he would indeed want to have a role of some sort in that writers' room, should that mini find a home.

Carter, meanwhile, says he had a script for a third X-Files feature film but opted to scrap it after his wife read it. "I actually wrote a third movie, just because I was interested in the idea of where that might go," said Carter, who then thought of repurposing the script for the series. "I let my wife read the third movie, and she said, 'I think not for television.'"