Fans of “The X-Files” desperately “want to believe” it’s true: A continuation of the iconic sci-fi series could begin shooting as early as this summer. Fox, the network that aired “The X-Files” between 1993 and 2002, is close to finalizing a deal for a short-order run of the series with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reprising their roles as paranormal investigators Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, reported British television news site TVWise on Friday.
The limited television event will have fewer than 10 episodes, said TVWise, citing unnamed network sources. Another report in the Daily Mail suggested it would be a six-episode run that could start filming in June.
The revival would aim to answer questions the nine-season series left unanswered -- and didn’t touch in the franchise’s second movie, 2008’s “I Want to Believe.” (In “X-Files” canon, the world was set to be taken over by aliens in 2012. Presumably the new series will address what actually happened and why we are still here.)
“The idea is to get the old gang back, have some fun and get a bit of closure for us and the audience,” Gillian Anderson, who played skeptical scientist Scully opposite Duchovny’s believing Mulder, told the Daily Mail in an interview published Thursday.
The “old gang” naturally includes “X-Files” creator Chris Carter, whose Amazon series “The After” was recently canceled, at the helm. Stars Anderson and Duchovny have been vocal about their desire to jump back into the skins of Scully and Mulder. Other “X-Files” players could come on board as well.
Mitch Pileggi, who played stern FBI boss Walter Skinner, reportedly has been asked to don his badge again, and “other key cast members will return.” It’s unclear whether those key members would include the actors who played iconic baddie Cigarette-Smoking Man, “rat boy” Alex Krycek and the trio of lovable geeks known as the Lone Gunmen -- all characters who were killed by the end of the series’ run in 2002. Then again, anything is possible on the show where death didn’t always mean forever.
“The X-Files” also launched the careers of a number of high-profile television writers -- and many fans are hoping some of them will give Carter a hand in writing the revival. Anderson fanned that hope in a BBC Radio 2 interview on Thursday: “Hopefully it would also involve other people who were involved in the olden days -- writers. You know, hopefully Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon,” she said.
Howard Gordon, along with partner Alex Gansa, both wrote for “The X-Files” and are showrunners of Showtime’s thriller “Homeland.” Vince Gilligan, who first cast his “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston on an episode of “The X-Files,” got his start in television writing for the show.
Gilligan has expressed interest in writing for a revival of “The X-Files,” a series that holds a special place in his heart. “I would love to be involved,” Gilligan told fan site The X-Files Lexicon in February. “I don’t know with my current schedule...I would love to be a part of it, but even if I am not, I’ll still be watching every episode and rooting them on.”
It’s unclear whether Frank Spotnitz, who worked closely with Carter on “The X-Files,” and co-wrote the 2008 “X-Files” movie, will be involved, though sources have suggested Carter wants him back. Spotnitz is working on several other TV projects, including Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle.”
An “X-Files” revival would involve juggling the busy schedules of high-profile actors and writers whose careers have skyrocketed since the series’ heyday. That’s part of the reason Fox settled on a limited-series run for the revival. Both Anderson and Duchovny are involved in several major television projects: Duchovny’s new series, “Aquarius,” premieres on NBC this summer, while Anderson is balancing roles on NBC’s “Hannibal” and the BBC’s “The Fall.”
Fox has revived successful franchises in the past. In 2014, it aired “24: Live Another Day,” a 12-episode limited event series that continued the saga of a Jack Bauer from “24,” which aired from 2001 to 2010.
Fans -- known as “X-Philes” -- have been devouring every scrap of news about the rumored “X-Files” project since Fox first confirmed a potential revival at the Television Critics Association press tour in January. Earlier in March, TVWise editor Patrick Munn reported that Fox was set to make a “big announcement” about an iconic franchise during upfronts week, which occurs in May. When Duchovny said the reboot looked “very good” in a television interview in February, “X-Files” fans collectively “squeed” online.
But until the ink is dry and an official announcement from Fox is made, fans remain cautiously optimistic. Dana Scully famously once said, “The truth is out there, but so are lies.” “X-Files” lovers are just hoping this time the elusive truth will be found on the small screen once again.