Thanks to a dedicated fan campaign, are Fox close to ordering a third feature film adaptation of The X-Files?
In July 2008, 20th Century Fox released The X-Files: I Want To Believe, the second feature film adaptation of Fox’s long running science fiction television series. The film, which was received poorly in the United States, tanked at the box office; bringing in only 21 million dollars, domestically. Despite that, rumours have persisted that a third X-Files film was in development. What’s the real story, are Fox really interested in producing a third film? Is the truth out there?
First a little background. The series was created by Chris Carter and ran on the Fox network from September 10th, 1993 to May 19, 2002. The X-Files followed two FBI agents as they investigated unexplained phenomena which the Bureau had classified as X Files. The series starred David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully, Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner, Robert Patrick as John Doggett and Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes. The series was produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ten Thirteen Productions with Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan, Howard Gordon, Glen Morgan and James Wong serving as executive producers.
Since early 2009, rumours have been circulating around the internet claiming that a third X Files move was in development. Chris Carter himself said to IGN that “There's a date in the X-Files mythology -- 2012 -- that is very important. We'd certainly love to do something with that" (a reference to the forthcoming alien invasion which was frequently mentioned on the series.) That said, last year, when David Duchovny claimed that a script was being written, former executive producer Frank Spotnitz was quick to respond by saying “I’m afraid I can neither confirm nor deny. I wish I could say more, but all I can say is what I’ve said all along: Don’t give up!”
Since then Gillian Anderson has gone on record as saying that there were talks underway for a third feature film. But is there any truth to these rumors? To get the answers I got in contact with a source at 20th Century Fox. While (as with most of these types of discussions) he was loathed to go into too much detail I was informed that there were some very “informal” discussions happening at Fox regarding the matter.
When I asked why these discussions were now occurring (some three years since the release of the last film), I was told that there were a variety of reasons for this and one mentioned was the campaign that is being conducted by X Files News to get a third film produced. The website is in the middle of an aggressive campaign that includes compiling 10 013 fan photographs to send into Fox and a “tweet up” in which X-Files fans (for lack of a better term) spam 20th Century Fox’s twitter account, showing their support for the series and a potential third film. Speaking of the campaign my source said: We’ve been aware of them for some time. The persistence, drive and passion is remarkable. They have been surprisingly consistent and well organized.
My source also informed me that while the gross at the box office in the US was disappointing, there was an international market out there. Apparently another concern about a third film is that it be a continuation of the series proper. I think the last attempt proves that we need to make sure that it draws from the mythology of the series. Skinner, Mulder, Scully they all have to be there, as does the alien story that was so present throughout the series. And I think that that is something you’ll see is reflected in the script
When I pushed on that last point, “something you’ll see reflected in the script”, I got a lot of obfuscation. After speaking to another contact I was however told; I know that Frank and Chris fleshed out some ideas last year, they got to writing a script. It would appear that the X Files News campaign is working, but how close is Fox to officially green lighting the project? Given they said “very informal discussions” I wouldn't expect to see any announcements coming any time soon. So in the words of Frank Spotnitz: “Don’t give up!”