"We've given the fans what they wanted."
UK, August 1, 2008 - Six years after the TV series wrapped, crusading (now former) FBI agents Mulder and Scully are back tackling a new case in The X-Files: I Want to believe. IGN sat down with series creator and the director of the film Chris Carter and writer/producer Frank Spotnitz to ask what fans thought of the film, and why they took Believe in the direction they did.
IGN: The film has had a mixed reaction from critics, but what have the fans said about the film?
Frank Spotnitz: I have to say, honestly, we've given the fans what they wanted, which is a really nice thing. The feedback has been wonderful and we just guessed -- I mean it was a shot in the dark -- though it was a shot that came from a lot of experience and we trusted our gut instincts and think we made something that was worth the six year wait.
Chris Carter: Through focusing on their relationship, the trick was not to rely on what they had done in the past, but to do something new in the relationship. It was really the only honest thing we could do if you look at the trajectory of how long they've known each other, it would have changed in the past six years. That's been the great thing about the fans -- whatever people were expecting to be in this movie, there has seemed to be very little debate about the choices we made for Mulder and Scully.
IGN: Did you ever sit down and think, "We need to include this or that to keep fans happy?"
CARTER: If you threw in everything to keep every fan happy you'd have a really messy stew. No, you can't do that, you have to be really true to those characters but you do also have to be mindful of what the fan's expectations are. Mulder and Scully have had this professional relationship and involvement that is now 16 years in the making and so we really had to imagine six years out and where they would be -- what their attitudes would be towards one another, what their personal and professional lives would have evolved into...
IGN: So why did you focus specifically on their relationship this time around?
SPOTNITZ: Well I think the first thing we wanted to do was be true to the characters -- it was kind of a surprise that after all this time we were so interested in this relationship, which really became the centre of the movie. If we had made it five or six years ago it maybe would have been more about the X-File, but after being away for so long we felt that was what was most powerful. So I don't know if the movie is quite what anybody was expecting, but it was the right thing to do.
IGN: Does this film represent the end of the X-Files myth-arc?
CARTER: If you look at the reviews of the movie you have people saying: "Hey where are the Aliens? You know that's what The X-Files is... aliens." But people who know the show say that what we did was really the heart of the show -- you know, scary creepy stories. I mean we love the alien storyline, too, but we felt coming back this time -- a story like this is not only true to the series, but allows us to focus on Mulder and Scully more. You don't have to deal with all the complications in the alien storyline.
IGN: You've tried to get discussions of faith and belief in there -- is injecting some thoughtfulness and intelligence becoming a feature for summer movie-making?
CARTER: Well first of all we're not a big-budget blockbuster! I mean to be fair, we couldn't have picked a worse week to open in the States. We opened in the shadow of The Dark Knight and so... I mean this is a modest budget movie. It is not a blockbuster movie -- it does not have a lot of the big CG and the big action sequences -- it's a really emotional story that's very, very scary at the same time. Our goal here was to creep you out, to take you on a journey with these characters that you've known and hopefully loved for many years end up in a new place...
SPOTNITZ:The X-Files has always got the creepy, icky, disturbing stuff; the stuff that my 14-year-old daughter likes, but also it's always had something to say. It's always been intelligent -- it can't help but be -- Mulder and Scully are so smart and they approach things intellectually and sceptically so its always this intellectual thing. That's what I've loved about The X-Files -- its always had so much to say.