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XF at SDCC 2013, Part 2: Season 10

Part of the San Diego Comic Con is still about comics, and IDW at SDCC 2013 was there to promote The X-Files Season 10, of which #2 came out the day before the con. Chris Carter and Gillian Anderson, present for the TV Guide panel, also participated on the IDW panel, along with IDW Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall, XF Season 10 Editor Denton J. Tipton, XF Season 10 writer Joe Harris and Lone Gunman and conventions regular Dean Haglund.


From left to right: Tipton, Ryall, Anderson, Carter, Harris.

The X-Files Season 10 IDW panel was somewhat covered in the press (less so than the TV Guide panel, the audience was also smaller):

Articles: Badass Digest | Wired | Joe Harris’ blog | Comic Book Resources (very detailed!)

Video: Part 1 | Part 2

Audio (bad quality, but includes Chris Ryall’s intro and an awesome joke on X-Files #3)

Interspersed below are also drawings from Michael Walsh, who has continued to tease with art from the next issues on his Instagram account — with a lot of Scully!

XF Season 10: More or less canon?

SDCC was the opportunity to ask Chris Carter repeatedly about the future of the X-Files, his role as executive producer of Season 10, and how do these new comics articulate with his vision for a potential third X-Files feature film.

More below the jump!

First answer at the TV Guide panel:

Q: The comic book just came out, and that’s “Season 10”, you’ve officially blessed it. So a lot of people are wondering, how can and is that, will the storylines sort of feed into whatever you do next, a movie, what have you?
CC: No, it’s a comic book series, so I think the stories really sort of are more comic-book-y. But we wanted to make them sort of true to the characters and the writer Joe Harris has really good ideas, so I think they’re going to be terrific on their own. They’re called Season 10, but they’re kind of their own mythology.

Second answer at the IDW panel:

Haglund: This is technically Season 10, is that right?
CC: Well, that’s how they’re calling it. It’s a comic book series, so it’s got its own comic book life, and it’s got its own mythology, and Joe here will speak for himself, he has come up with great ideas and great twists and turns on the characters. He’s bringing a lot of characters back, as you’ll see. So, I have to say, it’s really, Joe is taking the lead.
DH: Joe is taking the lead. But is this still part of the official X-Files canon?
Ryall: Come on, say it!
CC: Of the canon? Yes.

Third answer at the Dread Central interview:

Dread Central: I know there’s been a lot of speculation but is there still a chance for a third “X-Files” movie? Or will the new comic series be the only way we’ll see Mulder and Scully and these characters live on?
Chris Carter: Well there’s certainly still a possibility for a third movie and the comics will be sort of their own universe; I have to say that they’re a genre within our genre. So while they’re calling it “Season Ten,” it’s really exists as its own comic book mythology. So while I always want to be honest to these characters, to our mythology, to our nine seasons, we’ve given writer Joe Harris free rein to run with the stories however he wants to. It’s really his own take on the show; I’m involved but I’m also conscientious of it being a comic book so there is a need to tell these stories in a certain way.

Additional question on the old 1990s comics from Topps and whether Carter and IDW considers them as canon:

Ryall: Those weren’t canon, Chris [Carter] had no involvement in those!

Pop culture franchises tend to generate spin-off products and merchandising, notably novels, comic books and video games — and fans tend to debate endlessly about how these stories fit into the established continuity of the master work, how canon (canonical) they are — funny how a term from religious studies has become part of the standard vocabulary of experiencing our new myths (that says a lot, a lot!).

Michael Walsh August 2: “Scully!


What transpires from all this is that one of IDW’s main selling arguments for Season 10 is Carter’s involvement, and that Carter is ambiguous to say the least on how important these comics are to his own vision of what might come next. Carter has been very protective of the creative decisions related to the X-Files in the past and Season 10, sharing with Joe Harris decisions on character and story directions, has been a significant departure from that. This evolution is significant in terms of what it implies on how much Carter still feels concerned about the future of the X-Files — judging from the TV Guide panel, not much.

However, we must now diminish our perception of Carter’s involvement as an “Executive Producer” in Season 10 as it seems more like an authorization for IDW to do what it wants in the comics as long as what happens in the comics world stays in the comics world. If/when Carter takes back the lead for a feature film sequel he will be free to pick and choose what he will keep as canon, and after all these years a feature film is still the only thing Carter is truly interested in.

Considering that chances for an X-Files 3 are slim, this “free rein” card could eventually and in retrospect prove to be a definitive passing of the torch to continue the story in comics. If XF3 as a feature film continues to be a low priority for FOX (and to some extent Carter) in the future, I would love to ask Carter one or two years from now whether he might finally consider telling his story in another medium. The mini-series format was turned down in the recent TV Guide panel. As time continues to pass, would comics be a solution?

That being said, comics, at even a greater degree than TV series, have a way of feeding themselves and having storylines that never end. Why should they? They are cheap to make and you can always find stories to tell, with the main characters, with side characters, with flashbacks… Thus, as good the news may be that the story continues, it is a continuation that is not in a perspective of capping things off — as the fans have been expecting more or less since the year 2000 — but unless Carter’s ideas for XF3 are not incorporated it is a continuation with no end in sight.

Michael Walsh July 29: “My favourite panel of X-Files. Jordie Bellaire is a genius.


XF Season 10: Behind the Scenes

Additional information from the IDW panel on Season 10 (actually, all information: the panel went off-topic often!):

DH = Dean Haglund, CC = Chris Carter, JH = Joe Harris, CR = Chris Ryall

On the Lone Gunmen in #2:

DH: I’ve got to ask about bringing the Gunmen back. Whose idea was this, Chris?
CC: It’s Joe’s idea.
JH: Well, I suppose it was, yes. […]
CR: We’re comic book guys, so anybody who dies off-panel, off-screen on a comic is still alive.
JH: Nobody dies in comics.
DH: Exactly. So Joe this was your idea. Tell me about how this came about, what was that conversation like?
JH: Pretty much, I think early on we were discussing about what the comic book would entail and Chris and I were pretty much in agreement we wanted to bring the Lone Gunmen back. You died off screen so anything’s possible. I just think it was necessary. You know, part of the point of the story is to tell what’s next, but also, you know, bring back a lot of those old elements so that people get back to what they sort of enjoy. They certainly enjoyed you.
CR: It feels like in a post-Wikileaks world, like there’s such a relevancy to the Lone Gunmen now, that you need to be a big part of the story. And Joe came up with very novel [?] and [?] for the characters and how to bring them back and what they’re doing now, it’s very intriguing, it was a really good idea. So you’re back!

Michael Walsh August 3: “Mulder … Uh oh


On launching the series and Carter’s involvement:

DH: What was the first meeting like? […]
CC: It was a great meeting in my office. […] I realized Joe, very quickly, I realized he was a huge fan of the show, he knew the show inside and out, and I think just done another refresher course on it. So he gave me great confidence….
CR: […] We signed to do the X-Files comics and we do these licensed books. And you always want to get the people who made the show and created the show but it’s not always feasible for a number of reasons. So we had a first meeting at Fox to discuss what we wanted to do with the X-Files, Joe had his plan in place, so I went to up meet Fox and Gabe Rotter, who works in Chris’s company, and that’s what the meeting was set to be. I get up the elevator, I ride up the elevator with this silver-haired devil here [CC] and I didn’t make the connection — I look at my feet in elevators, I don’t look at other people — so we go to the same meeting and he says ‘Hi, I’m Chris’. Oh, Jesus Christ! And we sit at the table, and Chris goes ‘Tell me what you ant to do with the X-Files.’ ‘No! I can’t do that!’ Just take it and read it and then we can talk about it, but I couldn’t sit there and tell the creator of the show what we wanted to do with his characters, like it felt presumptuous and I was uncomfortable.
DH: Wow. So Chris, did you read it there in the office and say yeah that’s good?
CC: I think we discussed it a little bit more and I think we took it back, and I studied it, and just everything came together beautifully.
JH: You had some good tweaks to offer as well.
CC: I wanted to be involved as much as I could, as a sort of creative presence, but I have to say, you know, when you have somebody who knows what they want to do and has a clear vision, you sort of go with it.

Season 10 was initiated by IDW and Joe Harris was hired to set up the stories, a process that was quite advanced by the time Carter got involved. The above does show that Carter did not need to get involved for Season 10 to happen, he could have just approved from afar; but he chose to get involved and now underlines the fact that this is very much Harris’ project.

On the length of Season 10:

DH: Wow! How far are we planning this Season 10 to go, how far have we sketched this out?
JH: That’s a good question. We’ve got outline material for a couple years at this point. I don’t think there’s any plan to end it after that.
CR: No, we’re going to build up to the Lone Gunmen second death! […]
DH: So is there any talk of moving this to another medium of any sort?
CR: There was some talk yesterday I think! No, we’re just the comic book guys, that’s the only thing in out control…

So, as happens with TV shows and comics in general, Season 10 has no ‘ending point’ in story terms in sight. For comparison, the comic book Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight was initially planned to last 25 issues (so about two years) but ended up being extended to 40 issues.

Michael Walsh August 8: “Scully inking!


On lingering questions:

CR: Actually Joe, how did you formulate your plan, what was your starting point for the story?
JH: I guess the starting point was the end of — there were a lot of things lingering, there were some unanswered questions at the end of season 9, and for me I just though of some of the more intriguing elements driving these characters at the end and how we could extrapolate from there: dealing with the child, you know what happened to some of the elements of the conspiracy, you know we’ve seen the Syndicate gone but the tendrils are still out there. So there’s a lot of little things to pick up and play with. Basically what we’re trying to do with this book is sort of take the formula I think as a teenager was really impressed on me is, breaking up, doing mythology stories interspersed with ‘monster of the week’ type stuff and bring us to the future while harkening to the past wherever possible so it feels familiar but doesn’t feel too retro. And that’s pretty much the formula going forward.

A welcome question on Frank Black!

Q: Is there any future for any other productions like Harsh Realm or Millennium in comic book form? I want to believe that Frank Black will be back!
CC: There’s actually a little movement to bring Frank Black and Millennium back. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but it would be great to do it in comic book form. Harsh Realm is a perfect comic book concept. So, will it happen? I don’t know. Will it happen? The truth is out there.

On the #3 cover with the CSM:

DH: Here’s another person coming back to life. Joe, is everybody coming back to life on this show?
JH: Lots of people are coming back in some way, shape or form. There’s going to be a little bit of an explanation though, it’s not as cut and dry as it seems, but for all intents and purposes, yeah.
CC: That’s one of my favorite things about what Joe’s doing, is you can’t take everything at face value. It makes the comics that much more interesting for me.
JH: We don’t want to retcon everything. We want to see these characters again, I think you want to see these characters again, it’s about finding creative ways to bring them back that doesn’t undo what’s already done, but lest us kind of bring you what it is you want, and going forward I’ve got quite a few of those lined up.

This is all comforting in the sense that the past events won’t be blatantly ignored just to have popular characters back. Harris seems to be aware of the controversial way these returns are being received by fans, and teased what’s next by posting the following from #3:


The above acknowledges that for all intents and purposes the CSM’s brain irremediably burned — so there’s more than meets the eye going on here! And as Harris has continued to tease us with a full-blown classic CSM shot, the dialogue continuity shows he has watched 9X19/20: The Truth!

However, I hope that Season 10 will not only rely on nostalgia of the past with the return of character after character, and that it will progressively build its own strengths and characters and storylines.

On Samantha:

Q: [Samantha’s fate] Might we see her story continue in the comics?
CC: That’s a good question, I don’t know, that would be an interesting thing to explore.

After 7X11: Closure, isn’t the chapter closed on Samantha?…

The person who asked this question thinks that Joe Harris was so passionate about the X-Files that he was a fanfic writer for years before this, which is quite funny considering how professional writing works:

Q: When the idea kind of come to start with this, and did it happen before IWTB and if it was, what impacted the movie coming out and that story have in that direction?
JH: We’re setting this, this is present day, so I guess it’s a little elastic in that we’re never said what year, where it fits, but I mean it’s now. And that was always the idea, when I was asked if I had any interest in writing this that’s how it was proposed to me, we were going to pick this up as potentially calling it Season 10. [CR nods yes]

Carter repeats this is really Harris’ project:

Q: Was there any storylines or paranormal phenomena that you just really wanted to do in the TV series that you never were able to and that you want to explore in the comics?
CC: […] As far as what Joe can do, I think with comics this guy’s the limit, it’s really a chance for his imagination to go wild here, like ours did on the TV series.

Michael Walsh August 9: “More Scully inkin 🙂


On bringing back the fourth Lone Gunman, Jimmy (!), and William:

CR: Do we have the right to such things?
JH: Possibly.
Q: Has there also possibly been any talk at all, about possibly in the future, in the series, in the comic book series even, on reuniting Scully with her son?
CR: You’ve got to read the comics.
JH: Yeah, that’s a question that I don’t think I can answer fully other than: just keep reading.

Finally, Joe Harris confesses that for Season 10 he has no research assistant, just Netflix and the internet, alas! (I wonder whether that includes Eat The Corn?)

XF Season 10 #2 & #3

All the reviews on #2 I could find:

Flickering Myth | Random Verbosity | GeekMom | Comic Vine | Small Things (French) | Bloody Disgusting | Unleash the Fanboy | Comic Bastards | Brad Gushing Enthusiastically (continues to be awesome!) | Across the Airwaves | Bag and Bored | Eat The Corn

The general feeling is one of increasing excitement.

Season 10 #3 is coming out on August 14, next week! As usual, Comic Book Resources has a 7-page preview up, if you want to spoil yourself even more with the return of yet another character!

Cover artist Carlos Valenzuela teases things to come (we suppose from #6?):


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2 Responses to “XF at SDCC 2013, Part 2: Season 10”

  1. TL Foreman says:

    A little movement Chris? A little movement doesn’t self publish a 512 page book on your series Millennium. 🙂

    • orodromeus says:

      You can say that again! This event that was much relayed by the media could have been an opportunity to talk about what the 1013 fandom can achieve, to show there’s interest out there. But given a good artist I can see Frank Black in comic book form!