The X-Files’ current revival is only six episodes long, but something curious is going on with their schedule: they aren’t airing in the order they were filmed.
The revival stuck to one of its initial plans—starting and ending with mythology chapters—but the hours in-between were shuffled. What was filmed as Episode 2 is now running as Episode 4; what was filmed as Episode 4 is now airing as Episode 5; and what was filmed as Episode 5 aired as Episode 2. (Episode 3 is the only standalone episode to remain in its intended spot.)
Though fans might be tempted to blame higher-ups for tinkering with the airing order, The X-Files creator Chris Carter says the shuffle was done to tell the best story possible. “Because we have a story arc that runs through the middle of the series…we were concerned that, coming right off a mythology episode [and] going right into a standalone episode, people would say, ‘What’s happened?’” he explains. “So, it actually worked out. It served Episode 2 better to replace it with 5. It created a better continuity.”
While the revival’s flow might change slightly with the reordering, “we’ve come and done what we’ve always done: we give you an amazing mix of episodes—we’ve given you thriller episodes, we’ve given you scary episodes, emotional episodes, comedy episodes,” Carter says.
Since Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) first days back on the X-Files are now airing as the final standalone of the revival, Carter acknowledges he had to cut out “a sliver” of the episode to make it fit, continuity-wise. “It’s not even a deleted scene,” he says. “It was lines of dialogue.”
But don’t expect the dialogue to make its way to earlier episodes: as of now, the plan is to keep the cut bits out of the show.