Less than a week after Fox premiered the first hour of the upcoming X-Files revival at MIPCOM, the show made its U.S. debut — in front of fans — at New York Comic Con.
“It makes me very nervous,” series creator Chris Carter said of his pre-screening emotions. “I wonder how they’re reacting to it, how they’re enjoying it.”
The fan excitement was palpable. Cheers broke out when the screening started, during the opening credits — a slight variation on the original 1993 version, which ran for the show’s first seven seasons — as each original cast member appeared in the hour, and even when Mulder’s former office was shown.
The Con screening was the first time X-Files stars David Duchovny (Mulder) and Mitch Pileggi (Skinner) had viewed the episode. Gillian Anderson (Scully) couldn’t make the panel due to a filming commitment, but she sent a video message with her regards.
Duchovny praised the hour and said the core group of returning people relied on one another to make sure everything was gelling.
“We have a group memory when we come together,” he said. “We can kind of feel when Mulder is right or when Scully is right or when [Skinner] is right.”
“It just felt right,” Pileggi added.
The team was also very aware they had to make a big mark on the current television landscape right out of the gate.
“David, before the episodes, we spoke, and he said, ‘I think we have to come out and punch them in the mouth,'” Carter recalled. “We knew we needed to make a statement. We needed to be bold and we needed to show we’re back.”
With so much of the world changing since X-Files ended, “it’s a perfect time to be telling X-Files stories,” Carter said. And given the evolution of the government and some of the issues that have emerged with spying, etc., since the series ended its weekly run, “it gave us a lot … to work with.”
The hour — which featured Mulder and Scully reuniting as the government conspiracy heated up — also included fans’ first glimpse of the dynamic duo post-romantic split.
“This is when the sniper gets me,” Carter joked when questioned about it. “They’re not living under the same roof, and that is a conscious thing. We wanted to be true to the passage of time. Mulder and Scully have had their difficulties.”
Fans weren’t entirely ready to let that split go. When it came time for audience questions, a fan asked, “Don’t you think they’ve earned [their happy ending] after 20 years?”
“I was going under a bridge — we were doing some sound on the show — and on the bridge above us, it said, ‘Life has many bumps in the road,’ ” Carter recalled. “Mulder and Scully have hit one of those.”
As devoted as fans of the original series are, the revival aims to be accessible to new viewers as well. To help facilitate that, the premiere of the series recaps the events of the first nine seasons.
“That opening sequence, I didn’t know if it was going to work or not,” Carter admitted. “The fact that you’re responding to it is a miracle to me. There’s a lot of ground to cover in a very little time.”
If the show works, there’s already talk about the series continuing on in some form. Carter shared his hope at MIPCOM that it might live on, and Duchovny didn’t object to the notion of doing more.
“Chris has the lion’s share of the work … it’s a bigger commitment, [a] bigger time commitment,” Duchovny said. “I’m grateful to all [the fans] and to Chris for us to come back and play these characters again. If it so happens there’s an appetite for more and Chris can [write it] … you have my number.”