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Orbit Magazine: The End is Out There

Orbit Magazine
The End is Out There
Greg Archer

Chris Carter, the brainiac behind The X-Files, TV’s most addictive, head-scratching sci-fi hit, is ushered into the Zanuck Building on the 20TH Century Fox lot with stars Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish not far behind. Sniff the air and you can smell prestige, power- pressure. The buzz is out there-literally. What’s the 411 on David Duchovny’s TV persona, Mulder- really? Who’s the father of Scully’s baby- really? And why, exactly, is this award winning cult show, which spawned gaggles of Internet-surfing chat room chatties (X-philes), fading to black? Carter, clad in comfy tan pants and a handsome shirt sprinkled in cinnamon tones seems ready to fess up: “I didn’t want it to be the sort of thing where people were going to write what The X-Files used to be. [That] it’s past its time or running on some past glory.”

That glory began in September, 1993. The Fox drama about two FBI agents investigating unexplained cases involving the paranormal was a hip amalgam of Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and Night Stalker. In one corner was agent Mulder, a brooding guy trying to shake off the childhood trauma of his sister’s alien abduction. In the other corner was agent Scully, a doctor and realist who would no more believe in aliens than be caught dead without her skepticism. (How’s that baby doing, Dana?). In between, there was Skinner, the boss who didn’t mind going out on a limb. Viewers worldwide quickly soaked up the show and soon there was www.thexfiles.com.

Critically, it hit high notes, garnering 61 Emmy nods, winning for Outstanding Lead Actress (Anderson), Outstanding Writing, Art Direction, Makeup, and more. The show also nabbed the George Foster Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcasting and several Golden Globes-Best Dramatic Series, Actor (Duchovny) and Actress.

At its best, The X-Files pushed the envelope. It was cutting edge. It provoked thought. It was often downright scary-those aliens, those hair-raising conspiracies, that mystifying Cigarette Smoking Man. We’ve seen everything from clever cloning and time shifting to primordial beasts and psychic phenomena. And the comedic episodes weren’t bad either.

Fortunately, diehard fans embraced the dramatic shift the show experienced over the last few years, which included The Lone Gunmen spinoff, Mulder’s character being abducted and the addition of Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish as agents John Doggett and Monica Reyes. The spinoff fell flat, but in a surprise twist, which only a show like The X-Files seems experienced enough to pull off, the Patrick-Gish addition paid off.

But how does the gang feel about calling it quits?

“I felt as if I’ve just begun to hit my stride as Monica Reyes and have grown to have a deep affection for the cast and the crew, so it’s sad,” Gish admits. “Although, there’s an elegance to the way they’re dropping the curtain… and there’s a little more chemistry between Doggett and Reyes – an event, shall we call it. I think it’s apparent that Reyes is deeply in love with Doggett. Unrequited love seems to be the theme that The X-Files thrives on.”

Patrick, who’s still dusting off Terminator 2’s “Liquid Man” mystique, is disappointed that his first TV gig is ending but respects Carter’s decision to go out on top.

“They wrote a great character and it’s been fun playing a guy that loves America, loves his job, believes in doing the right thing,” Patrick says. “[Doggett] has a lot of codes that he lives by and I think it’s a throwback character. I believe in a lot of things that Doggett believes in, I tell you that.”

But for Anderson, knowing the end is coming doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to accept.

“It feels very obscure to me, very surreal,” Anderson says. “It’s hitting me. [But] I think it’s great [that David is coming back]. I didn’t realize how important that would be. I really didn’t realize how much I was missing him and how integral he was to the story.”

So, what can fans expect from Carter’s May finale, which Duchovny appears in?

“We’ve gone so far from where we’ve began, so now … I’m going back to where we began,” Carter reveals. “There’s this mythology that people thought was very convoluted and very confusing and it actually all does make perfect sense. And I think that’ll be the thing that makes it [the finale] very satisfying. There’s a beautiful structure to it.”

And Scully’s baby?

“I think everybody knows now who the father is,” Carter adds. “We’ve kind of said that it was Mulder’s, but still, she was barren. So how does a barren woman give birth to a child? I think that it’s pretty clear now that there was some hanky panky.”

Fortunately, the end, as it were, isn’t really the end. Fans can expect another X-Files flick, the plot of which won’t depend on the finale.

“We’re always going to be true to the characters,” says Carter. “We really see the movies as taking the best part of the series, which is the Mulder/Scully relationship and The X-Files franchise, and doing stand alone movies that are their own thing – good scary stories the way we’ve been telling them now for nine years.”

But does Carter really believe in aliens?

“Me? No,” he laughs. “But if there are aliens out there, they owe me a visit after all that I’ve done for them in the last nine years.”

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