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When The X-Files returns to Fox in 2016, the show’s core partnership will be fractured: in the time since viewers last saw Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) — in 2008 feature, I Want to Believe — the franchise’s central pair have broken up.
“We do it in an interesting way,” The X-Files creator Chris Carter tells The Hollywood Reporter of his decision to break up the popular couple. “We play with that relationship [in the event series]. We put some of the tension back in that was relieved by them being together. It added to the storytelling opportunities. It’s something that I came up with; I had been thinking about it. There was always talk of [breaking them up] if we did another movie.”
Fox first confirmed that Mulder and Scully would be split in the upcoming revival during its summer Television Critics Association session after reporters were shown a clip from the January premiere, “My Struggle,” which indicated as much. The subsequent fan reaction to the news has been mixed, at best.
When the series first started, Scully was partnered with Mulder to debunk his paranormal findings, but the pair quickly bonded and took on an us-versus-the-world mentality. They kept things (outwardly) platonic for a while, until the duo a thwarted kiss during the show’s first movie, Fight the Future. (Mulder also kissed a 1939-version of Scully during season six.) It took until season seven for the two to successfully lock lips. It was revealed at the end of that season that Scully was pregnant — though in true X-Files fashion, it took a year for the show to 100 percent confirm that Mulder was baby’s father.
Although Duchovny left the series in season nine, he returned for the show’s 2002 then-series finale, as Mulder was falsely accused of murder and put on trial. After he was found guilty and sentenced to death, he was broken out of jail — and he and Scully (who had given up their son, William, for the child’s safety earlier in the season) went on the run. The duo were living together in I Want to Believe, but they hit a rough patch over whether they should take part in an investigation of a man who claimed to be a psychic priest. Ultimately, they ended up reconciling.
But it seems like things might not be as simple this time. During a panel — with Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) — at Pittsburgh’s Wizard World Comic Con this weekend, Duchovny hinted the duo might not work out everything by the time the six-episode event series concludes.
“In the beginning of these six episodes, we seem to be estranged,” Duchovny told fans when he was asked about the state of the Mulder/Scully relationship. “I don’t know where it’s going. I really don’t know. I’m trying to think [what was] the end of the sixth episode … “
“Can we say maybe yet to be determined?” Pileggi interjected. “Is that appropriate?”
After Duchovny joked that it felt like Pileggi was basically his lawyer, the two conferred, and Duchovny echoed, “It’s yet to be determined.”
With production on the event series now wrapped, Carter marveled at how much the creative team has been able to accomplish. “We just wrapped the six episodes, and I look and I see that we did 202 episodes of the show,” he told THR. “I honestly don’t know how we did it. I was exhausted by the end of these six episodes. I think what the show benefited from a lot of youthful energy. I always say about the show that we didn’t know what we couldn’t do, so we just tried everything. And luckily, we had the people working with us, and for us, that always gave it a shot.”
The X-Files event series premieres Jan. 24 on Fox. What do you think of the decision to split up Mulder and Scully? Sound off in the comments section, below.
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