If Mulder invites Scully for another round of late-night baseball when The X-Files returns for its 11th season, David Duchovny won’t be the writer behind the magic.
Duchovny has confirmed to EW that he will not be writing or directing for The X-Files in its next 10-episode season, though that’s not for lack of trying. “I always say if I have an idea, I would love to write and direct it,” Duchovny says.
The X-Files star was no stranger to the creative process during the series’ original run. Duchovny wrote and directed two episodes — ’s “The Unnatural” and season 7’s “Hollywood A.D.” — and collaborated with series creator Chris Carter and writer Howard Gordon (Homeland) on the stories of four episodes in the sci-fi drama’s second and third seasons. In addition, Duchovny returned to the show after departing as a regular to direct a pivotal episode near the end of the ninth season, shortly before what was then the series finale.
The actor tells EW that Carter offered him the chance to write and direct in season 11, but it didn’t come together. “I had an idea that I was toying with, which is actually a movie idea,” Duchovny says, “and I was trying to figure out if I could transpose it into being an X-File. Because then you have to add two characters that demand a lot of time, Mulder and Scully. And you have to tell it in 45 minutes, so you’ve got to shrink it in half while adding two major characters. And in the end, I couldn’t see how it would work.”
Time constraints added to the complication. Even though the Fox drama’s upcoming 10-episode run is four episodes longer than season 10, which aired as an event series in 2016, Duchovny hesitated to minimize his character’s involvement in so much of the story.
“If I’m going to direct a show,” he explains, “it necessitates that I’m very light in the [previous episode] so I can prep it, and it necessitates that I’m somewhat light in the show afterwards, so that I can do post. So really what I’m asking for, if I’m directing an X-File, is, Okay, you’re doing 10, but I’ve got to be light in three out of those 10. And that’s just not fair, really.”
Seven writers for the new season — including vets like Carter, Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, and James Wong, all of whom wrote for season 10 — were announced in June. Each of season 10’s six episodes was directed by its writer; Fox has not yet confirmed EW’s inquiries as to whether every season 11 writer is also set to direct.
“Chris was very generous in asking me to do it,” Duchovny says. “I hope I didn’t disappoint him by not coming through, but I’ll just be acting.”
As for what he’ll be acting in, Duchovny says (as of his conversation with EW on July 14) he hasn’t seen a script — and that’s not for lack of trying, either.
“I text Chris every day nudging him to send me whatever he’s got,” he says. “I’m supposed to get something very soon. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.”
The X-Files season 11 begins production in Vancouver later this summer.