The resurrection of X-Files mania

A peak at the 2nd installment reunites a dormant community. 'I felt like the person in the desert who finally finds water again,' one fan says.

They flew from Germany and England and Chicago to attend. They lined up at 5 a.m. outside the Moscone Center West in San Francisco fueled by contagious group excitement and caffeine. They sat through the boring "Shutter" panel to make sure they got good seats. One attendee estimates that there were 5,000 people packed into the 4,000 capacity convention hall and that's not including the spillover that ran down the various hallways.

But God, it was worth it!

Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny and "X-Files" creator Chris Carter were at Wondercon last week (along with "X-Files" feature film writer Frank Spotnitz) to promote the still-untitled new "X-Files" film scheduled to come out July 25 and it was the first time the trio had appeared together at a convention since "X-Files" first came on the air in 1993. The fans screamed throughout the whole 45 minutes

Adam Quigley, who was covering Wondercom for Joblo.com was surprised by the palpable energy. "I didn't realize there was so much interest in the show," he said. "People were cheering before the stars even came out. They didn't even show that much footage, but it didn't matter how much they showed. The second Mulder and Scully were on the screen the crowd went crazy."

It has been five years since the "X-Files" franchise went off the air and (let's be honest) at least six years since it's been good. (Even devoted fans stopped watching when Duchovny left the show in 2002.)

And so the rabid fan base, a precursor to the frame-by-frame-watching "Lost" and "Heroes" obsessives, has been left without any new material to dissect and discuss and analyze for half a decade now.

Many of the multitudinous "X-Files" websites and message boards, some of the earliest on the Internet, haven't been updated since 2006. The fan fiction, which once came gushing out of the show's devotees (the chemistry between Scully and Mulder providing ample material), has slowed to a trickle. Old friends have lost touch. Fans resorted to checking up on Anderson and Duchovny on their personal fan sites occasionally, just to keep up with their heroes, but it wasn't the same. She was doing the English drama "Bleak House"; he was doing "Californication."

"I would see reruns on TNT and I would feel so nostalgic," said Lisa Angelo, a journalism student from Chicago who covered the "X-Files" panel for www.xfilesnews.com. "I was homesick for being on the Internet and having that hobby. I missed it like I would miss an old friend."

"'X-Files fans are a loyal bunch," said Vaness Griekspoor, a moderator at Idealists Haven, one of the oldest 'X-Files' message boards still up and running and a clearing house for information about the new film. "...Overall I would say [fans became interested in] shows like 'CSI,' 'Alias' and later 'Lost.' But it was never anything directly noticable. People seemed perfectly happy discussing their favorite show ['X-Files'] and their favorite actors, even though there wasn't anything new."

But then a miracle: After years of rumors, Fox announced that it would release a second "X-Files" movie.

"The atmosphere on the boards these days is euphoric," said Griekspoor. "Loyalty has paid off and with those old members returning, it's one big party."

"When I found out they were going to make another movie, I was ecstatic!" said Holly Simon, a web designer in New Foundland, and the administrator of www.xfilesnews.com. "I felt like the person in the desert who finally finds water again."

 

 

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