The X-Files is done. For now, hopefully. What's next? Is there anything ahead for Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson)? Warning, spoilers abound in our chat with The X-Files creator Chris Carter about the season finale of the drama's Fox revival, and what's to come should we get more episodes in the future.
Things ended on a big cliffhanger: the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) had started to end the world with Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) sort of under his thumb. She decided to side with him to save herself. Mulder was near death, confronting CSM and Scully was unaffected, raising to find a cure for the world's sickness by using her own alien DNA to hopefully save the world. As she raced to save the sick Mulder, a UFO appeared and beamed a light down on them. The end?
"There's no negotiations, but I had a conversation with [Fox boss] Dana Walden today," Carter told E! News. "They said they're certainly up for more if we can figure out how to get it done."
Why end on a cliffhanger?
Traditionally, the show ended on a cliffhanger at the end of every season, so [it's] like that tradition and this just happens to be one of the biggest cliffhangers we've ever done.
It's quite a big one. If this is the end, are you happy to leave Mulder and Scully here if you can't get another season going?
I think that certain events bore some conclusion to this predicament and this is what looks like almost certain doom: a pickle, for lack of a better word. I think that suggests there's more to come.
I think fans certainly want more. The reaction on Twitter has been—I don't think confused, but they certainly want more. Is there anything you want to say to people who may not be happy with a cliffhanger ending?
I think that hardcore fans of the show just expect nothing less than this and I think—I hope—people aren't confused. I hope that it was not a confusing ending. If it was perplexing or alarming, I would prefer it to be that.
My thought when the ship came up was: Is William somehow involved with that UFO? That's obviously a question you can't answer.
[Laughs.] No, I'm not going to answer those questions. I think the search for William is certainly something [they] think about in the morning when they wake up and there are big mysteries to be solved and resolved. I think the hunt for their baby is the most personal of their quests.
What are you most proud of with these episodes?
It was a challenge to come back after 14 years off the air to be true to the hardcore fans, true to the characters of Mulder and Scully and not do it as an exercise of nostalgia, and a chance to tell good, original stories that people came to expect from us. I think that we did that. I think that the material was inspired, fresh, original and...yes that's it.
Looking back at these episodes, is there anything you'd do differently? Do you have any regrets?
It's hard to say. I don't like second-guessing myself necessarily because you work under tremendous pressure and the schedule [is grueling]. The thing that you do working in series television is you learn to live with these choices because they have to come so quickly. While there were things in the original series I wanted to change coming back and I think there was at least one thing that I was able to give a little nod to in the show—and I won't mention what that is—I always want to say that we did our best.
It was interesting to me seeing Reyes back in that role. What made you decide to do that with Reyes?
I wanted to put her back in the show on some way, as I wanted to put Robert Patrick back on the show, but I wasn't able to do that because he's on another TV show. [Annabeth Gish] luckily had a window where she could come and do this, I had written the part before I knew she could do it. It was just a tremendous stroke of luck. I think it was an interesting way to explore her character and choices her character made in those 14 years away.
Had she just been living with the Cigarette Smoking Man over those 14 years?
She's certainly been at his beck and call.
I feel like a lot of discussions I was having with people were about the stories: There were six episodes, why wasn't it all one serialized story? Is that something you'd want to do?
We made our mark by telling a lot of different kinds of stories. It wasn't all mythology. You could do that, you could take that kind of approach, even come back and do a series of sequels. There are lots of different things we might do or we could have done, but we took our recipe and we told the kinds of stories that I think people expected us to tell. We explored the genre that we have explored thoroughly and originally in many ways.
Do you have a message you want to say to fans out there, to viewers?
Don't give up.