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SAN DIEGO — It’s been 20 years since the seminal Fox show, The X-Files, premiered and to celebrate, stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, former writer (and Breaking Bad creator) Vince Gilligan, creator Chris Carter and key writers and producers made the pilgrimage to San Diego for an anniversary reunion panel.
The biggest question concerning the franchise dealt with the possibility of a third X-Files movie and the panelists skirted the question like pros, though Carter left it open. “You need a reason for going on and getting excited,” he told the enthusiastic Ballroom 20 crowd Thursday, adding that the warm response “is very inspirational.”
Meanwhile, Anderson — who recently appeared on NBC’s Hannibal and BBC’s The Fall — indicated that she would be down for a third film. “A film would be great,” she answered matter-of-factly. (She would later jokingly auction off a cardboard cutout of herself and Duchovny to the highest bidder. “This is how we’re going to get the movie made by the way!” Duchovny deadpanned. Anderson added: “This is our Kickstarter.”)
But when asked if she would ever do a limited series a la 24: Live Another Day, which debuts next year on Fox and is executive produced by Homeland and X-Files grad Howard Gordon, Anderson was adamant that she would not reprise her role as Dana Scully.
Another interesting nugget from the reunion came when Gilligan revealed that Drew Barrymore was almost a guest star on the show during its original run. He had an idea for an episode inspired by The Twilight Zone centered on a “kid who can wish people into the cornfield,” Gilligan said, revealing he had desires to have the Firestarter star have that power.
Anderson recalled getting on the phone with Tom Waits, whom the producers wanted for a guest spot. “For some reason I ended up on the phone with him,” she shared, “trying to convince him [to join]. That was a cool moment in my life.”
For Carter, X-Files would not have been all that different had the show premiered in 2013 and not 1993, when shows like Matlock and Murder She Wrote were popular. “The show is very dark by design and I don’t think it would be a lot different,” he admitted. “The technology has changed … that would affect some things. What we did is what we’d do now.”
The X-Files was a rich breeding ground for writers, counting prolific producers Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and Gordon among the notable alums. Gilligan revealed that he first met Bryan Cranston in a season six episode of X-Files. “That was fruitful for me personally,” he said of the actor who would later star on Breaking Bad and win three Emmys as Walter White.
Though a straight answer on an X-Files 3 was not given at Comic-Con, the story lives on in comic book form with a new series that’s being dubbed “Season 10, but it’s their own mythology.” “The stories are more comic book-y,” Carter said of the arcs, but will stay “true to the characters.”
The impact of X-Files has been felt on TV since the series began, none more so than on the actors themselves. “Scully had quite a huge impact from the aspects of her personality, her personal strength, things she stood up for. She was also a decent human being,” Anderson said.
Added Carter: “Scully was my fantasy woman. She was strong and smart and opinionated and resourceful and tough. All the things I like. It was a fantasy relationship that was more intellectual than it was anything else.”
Duchovny, who portrayed Scully’s partner, Fox Mulder, has high hopes for working with Anderson again outside of their X-Files characters though he indicated that it had to be the right project because what they have “is special.”
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