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San Francisco Examiner: The End is Out There for "The X-Files'

San Francisco Examiner
The End is Out There for “The X-Files’
Tim Goodman

Series Creator Claims Finale is Only a Season and a Half Away

PASADENA – Ultimately, we may never know if the truth is out there.

Chris Carter, the man who created “The X-Files” – which is now in its sixth season – said it’s highly unlikely that the show will go beyond a seventh season, so he’s going to start telling the truth.

Of course, that’s a little like a sheep-herding young man we all know crying wolf for the 99th time. Fox is touting a special two-parter on Feb. 7 and 14 – in the heart of sweeps – that “reveals the series’ deepest secrets.”

In fact, Fox says the entire alien conspiracy will come to an end after the two shows. Huh?

“There’s going to be a lot of stuff explained – you’re going to understand this conspiracy after the end of the two-parter,” Carter said Saturday at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. And then, of course, the teaser: “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything’s wrapped up and finished.”

Hardcore fans know that “The X-Files” has answered few of the mythology questions it has raised through the seasons, and almost every “truth” revealed comes wrapped in yet another mystery.

This time out Fox suggests we’ll find out what happened to Mulder’s sister, the true motives of Agent Krycek, a secret Agent Fowley is keeping from Mulder, a secret the Syndicate is keeping from the aliens and the true identity of Cassandra Spender and her role with the Syndicate.

If the episodes, titled “Two Fathers” and “One Son,” gives up those answers, then we’re getting somewhere. But the odds of such revelations are slim.

What makes these seemingly yearly promises from Carter so irresistible is that he’s an earnest guy. It’s not like he’s patently lying, with a Hollywood smile and wink. “We’re making some choices, knowing that the show is moving toward a kind of completion, and so we’re planning for that,” Carter said.

He’s ready for “The X-Files” to become a movie series instead of a TV series. “So I’m not looking to spend all my capital, I want to make sure that we continue to have good stories to tell, and that “The X-Files’ continues to have avenues to explore.”

The “capital” Carter refers to is an endless supply of conspiracy theories that fuel fan interest. In short, even after year seven, there’s going to be quite a few loose ends and unsolved mysteries to explore.

“You know watching “The X-Files’ now for some 130-odd episodes, that every time we give you an answer, we also ask a question – that every answer has its own set of questions that come along with it,” Carter said. “I think you can look for more of that.”

Oh, thanks for coming, Chris.

Carter did reveal that the second “X-Files” movie would be delayed – to 2001 or 2002 – because the move of the TV show from Vancouver to L.A. took longer than expected and, if he wanted a movie to follow the final season next year, it would have had to film this summer.

The end of the TV season won’t be a surprise to the network, Carter said, because the talk all along – and the views of the actors – was to end it then. Creatively, he needs to know when the end is coming, Carter said.

“As a storyteller, I want to know where I’m going and what my parameters are, always, so that I can choose when to say what. And certainly with the mythology, it’s important that I know where I’m heading. I don’t want to have the rug pulled out from underneath me.”

Ah, the mythology. That intricate web of government lies, aliens, cloning, bees, black goo and shape shifters. Carter was asked whether he knew, all those years ago, what a convoluted web he would weave.

“It’s amazing to me, now, having the ability to look back after five and a half years of work, how many questions we ask in that pilot, not ever knowing how completely we’d be able to explore everything about the Cigarette-Smoking Man, the conspiracy, what happened to Mulder’s sister,” Carter said. “That whole theme is now, in a weird way – and this is kind of beautiful – that the stories almost dictate themselves. There’s so much that has come and been told that you are, in a way, a slave to the facts that you’ve created, and it’s really a fun way to tell stories.”

For those who need to catch up on the mythology – and that would be just about everyone – the cable channel FX will air “The Complete Conspiracy,” 24 mythology episodes that will lead up to Fox’s sweeps surprise. The FX shows air Jan. 25-29 and Feb. 1-5 (8 and 11 p.m.).

Although Carter and Fox have certainly led viewers down this road before – to momentary enlightenment and then back into the shed of confusion – Carter says the show will indeed be changed by February’s revelations.

“In fact, because so much is going to be explained, you might wonder where we’re going to go,” he said. “And I look forward to dealing with a whole set of problems. And I think when you see the conspiracy exploded, you’re going to see that there are lots of characters who were out there working as free agents that might create strange bedfellows. And I think that’s going to be fun.”

See? When Carter wants to loosen his lips, he can. He even said that The Cigarette-Smoking Man would be “all but stripped of mystery.” Revealing, yes?

And if the end is indeed a season and a half away, Carter needs to get busy. He’s signed to do another pilot (called “Harsh Realm,” a sci-fi effort based on the comic book), and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are anxious to move on to movies (and no, they’re not signed to do a second “X-Files” movie yet).

Thus the promises of closure – and the hint of more confusion. What it comes down to is this: Do you believe?

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One Response to “San Francisco Examiner: The End is Out There for "The X-Files'”

  1. […] February Sweeps seemed to be the perfect place for an episode like this. Much like Triangle earlier in the season, Two Fathers and One Son received a flurry of media attention and publicity. “Five years of questions, two nights of answers,” Fox promised, announced a ten-night marathon of the show’s conspiracy episodes to promote the two-parter. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz did a lot of publicity to raise awareness the episodes, with Carter even addressing the Television Critics Association Press Tour. […]