PASADENA, Calif. – Scully and Mulder have issues when Fox’s The X-Files returns Sunday (10 p.m ET/7 PT), but that’s hardly the case for the actors who play the paranormal investigators, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
The Scully-Mulder relationship “is not in a good place,” Duchovny tells USA TODAY, before turning to Anderson for character information. “Were we ever married? I get it wrong all the time."
Anderson says no. “Just living in sin?” Duchovny asks.
“Yes. Basically,” she says.
“And we had a baby?” he asks. She confirms that fact, leading him to inquire: “And, is it my baby?”
“Well, that’s debatable. It’s either yours or God’s," she explains.
“You can see where the problem is,” Duchovny says. “There is a lack of communication in this relationship.”
Perhaps, but there has long been a chemistry between the characters — Mulder, believing in aliens and paranormal activities, and skeptical scientist Scully — that helped X-Files become a big hit, running from 1993 to 2002 on Fox and spawning feature films in 1998 and 2008.
And the actors have no trouble communicating. Of the revival, Duchovny, 55, says he has most missed “working with Gillian,” while Anderson, 47, says she appreciates “our camaraderie.”
The actors joined with creator Chris Carter for the six episodes, a sampling of X-Files' quirky repertoire of mythology, monsters and humor. Memorable characters will return, including FBI supervisor Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), The Cigarette-Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and The Lone Gunmen (who died, but will appear in some form).
There’s an advantage to having multiple episodes vs. a two-hour film, Anderson says. “We have the opportunity to show the spectrum of what the series used to be."
X-Files, which cultivated writers, directors and producers who would go on to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, 24, Homeland, Game of Thrones and Grimm, was at the vanguard of a sci-fi renaissance.
The series was unique and has had imitators, says Duchovny, who, like Anderson (Netflix's The Fall and a New York play), is working on another series (NBC’s Aquarius) and says he hasn't yet talked about doing more episodes.
“When we started, science-fiction was kitschy and campy. … We tried to make it not the campy style of the time,” says Duchovny, who initially didn’t want to become part of the science-fiction culture. “Now, they rule the world. It didn’t come from The X-Files, but we were there.”
When X-Files returns, Mulder is disillusioned. He believes the conspiracy he felt he discovered isn’t true. However, a conservative news host (Joel McHale) with conspiracy credibility lights a fire under Mulder, leading him back to the FBI. Mulder is “on to something,” Duchovny says. “He wants to know the truth.”
Scully isn't far behind. Since leaving Mulder, she has felt the pain of giving up her son (his well-being is one of the season’s topics) and has dedicated her life to surgery on children. Still “there is something missing," Anderson says.
That would involve Mulder. “What is clear is how much they care about each other and how connected" they are, she says.
“They’re both better together … pushing each other and doubting each other,” Duchovny says. “It’s almost like watching one organism work its way to some kind of conclusion.”
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