The truth is out there, but after 20 years, it's not always so easy to recall all the details. TV Guide Magazine West Coast bureau chief Michael Schneider sparked the memories of The X-Files stars David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), along with show creator, Chris Carter, at the July 18 Comic-Con panel celebrating the 20th anniversary of Fox's landmark sci-fi mystery series.
Duchovny and Anderson, who rarely appear at such fan events, kicked off the audience hysteria by entering the darkened stage brandishing their character's familiar flashlights. "Thank you all for coming," said one fan, acknowledging that the duo is not "regulars on the convention circuit. And it really means a lot that you're here."
Much of the audience adoration was focused on Anderson, who inspired many female fans in their careers. "A lot of women have actually come up to me and told me they've gone into physics because of Scully," said Anderson — to which the routinely cheeky Duchovny kidded, "Men often come up to me and say they got into Scully because of Mulder."
Carter confessed that Scully was "my fantasy woman: strong and smart and opinionated and resourceful, tough. All those things that I like."
Giving equal praise to Duchovny, Anderson admitted, "I didn't realize that Mulder was so cool until a few years" after the series began. "Then I thought, 'Damn, I should have gone there sooner.'"
Though the audience expressed their enduring disappointment over a filmed, but never aired, Mulder/Scully sex-scene, Anderson pointed out, "Something happened because we have a child." One of the show's writers, John Shiban, provided a visual aid of just how much time had passed by bringing out his teenage son, who had appeared onscreen as Scully and Mulder's baby. "He looks like me," noted Anderson, as the embarrassed teen offered a shy wave and hurried off stage. "That's our son!"
The panel, which also included series writers David Amann, Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Howard Gordon (24), Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan and James Wong, also acknowledged the drama's most dastardly villains. "The Bounty Hunter was pretty freaky," noted Anderson. Carter selected the Peacock brothers and the Well-Manicured Man as his wicked favorites. Wong's choice: the infamous Cigarette Smoking Man.
But the greatest anti-hero to be born from The X-Files may perhaps be Breaking Bad's Walter White. "There would be no Breaking Bad without The X-Files," said Gilligan, who created the acclaimed AMC drama years after Bryan Cranston guest-starred on The X-Files as a character named Patrick Crump.
So what might the future hold for the franchise, last visited in the 2008 movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe? Anderson emphatically shot down any suggestion of resurrecting the show as a limited series, and Duchovny ruled out the pair appearing together as other characters, but both seem game for a third go-round as Mulder and Scully on the big screen. "A film would be great," said the actress, who will star in next season's NBC drama Crisis.
"I always thought the show was so flexible and that we could come up with so many different ideas that we could do it forever," said Duchovny, who is going into his seventh season on Showtime's Californication. "I always thought whenever we can come back together we would. So we will."
But Carter seemed less committal. "You need a reason to get excited about going on and doing it again," he said, adding that being at the panel was "very inspirational."
That wasn't quite enough encouragement for the two stars, who joked that Anderson's plan to auction off a cardboard cutout of Mulder and Scully for charity at the conclusion of the panel could instead be used to finance a film. "This is how we're going to get the movie made," Duchovny said. Added Anderson: "This is our Kickstarter." Fans can only hope.