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The X-Files Magazine: The Next Files

The X-Files Magazine [US]
The Next Files

It’s really a different show than it’s been in the past seven years because the characters of Mulder and Scully so much defined the way every episode unfolded. And now when you take Mulder out and put in this other character, it changes everything.~ Frank Spotnitz

With a new lead character and reconfigures series’ dynamic to consider, you can bet The X-Files’ executive producer Frank Spotnitz is pretty preoccupied these days. As usual, he was still gracious enough to take the time to explain what the summer’s many developments mean for our beloved show.

Official Magazine What do all the changes mean for The X-Files?

Frank Spotnitz The series is really redefined by Mulder’s absence and by the addition of Robert Patrick’s character John Doggett. It’s really a different show than it’s been in the past seven years because the characters of Mulder and Scully so much defined the way every episode unfolded. And now when you take Mulder out and put in this other character, it changes everything. So, it’s been challenging. But it’s certainly been a welcome change of pace after years of doing the show one way. Doggett is really a guy’s guy, somebody who’s got a very successful career at the FBI, former cop. Smart, self-made man. Really different from Mulder and Mulder’s background. And we wanted to do that very deliberately to bring a fresh voice into The X-Files. How we worked with Scully and how Scully would work without Mulder was quite a puzzle. It doesn’t feel natural that Scully would suddenly jump into the Mulder role now that Mulder’s gone. That just isn’t who she is. And even though she’s come an incredibly long way in the past seven years and seen a lot of things and had her skepticism challenged, she isn’t gonna just become Mulder overnight just because he’s not there. And yet she is leading this unit and leading the investigations into the cases. And Doggett finds himself playing the role that Scully used to play. No episode in the season will be like the one that precedes it. It’s like the partnership is evolving from week to week, and we’re finding out as we write the scripts.

Official Magazine Can you clarify David Duchovny’s involvement this season?

Frank Spotnitz There’s a certain number of days he’s available in the first half of the season, and then there’s a certain number of episodes he’s available in the back half of the season. And it’s gonna depend on the stories we tell how many episodes at the end of the day it’ll actually be. I think 11 is kind of the maximum number he might indeed appear in, but there’s a good chance it will be less. I’m not sure how it will work out best for the stories we’re telling. I don’t think [he’s] likely to [direct] this year only because he is available to us in such a limited fashion, and when he’s directed in the past we’ve had to sacrifice use of him as an actor in order to allow him to direct. It’s kind of a similar problem for [Gillian]. We need her more than ever, and to make time out for her to direct and write would be difficult given how much we need her as an actress this year. [And] she has some personal commitments that have to come first in her life, and we’re doing our best to honor those.

Official Magazine What will happen to the mythology without Mulder?

Frank Spotnitz If you look back on the first season of The X-Files, there were episodes you could call mythology episodes, but really the mythology of the show did not begin until Gillian Anderson got pregnant and they had to write in the abduction storyline for Scully. And now, the mythology has been reinvented and restarted by having to write in the abduction storyline for David because of David’s contract. So, off-screen issues forced the mythology to really get started in Season Two and again to be reinvented in Season Eight. And it’s really a new ballgame. It really is like a fresh slate. I think you will see the characters of Krycek and Covarrubias, but they are very much a part of Mulder’s world. So, I think we’ll see them after Christmas in the back half of the season.

Official Magazine Is the CSM really dead?

Frank Spotnitz this is the first time in eight years where William B. Davis has not been under contract to The X-Files. There were other seasons where we thought he was dead, but he was always under contract, we always had a deal with him. And we no longer do.

Official Magazine What can you reveal about Scully’s baby?

Frank Spotnitz She is pregnant, we will deal with the pregnancy, but you’re not going to see it every week, every episode. It’s not gonna be something we dramatize. Trust me, off screen she’s thinking about it, but it doesn’t always work in all of these stories that have Scully, especially since it’s a secret that only Skinner knows about. It’s not something you can expect to see her dealing with every week, at least in the first half of the season.

Official Magazine What are your hopes for this season?

Frank Spotnitz Well, to be honest, I was unsure whether it was wise to even go forward with this season, and the decision was really not mine. It’s one that other people made. And having embarked upon this season, I want it to be vindicated creatively. I want people to understand that creatively, it was a good thing to do. I want to reinvent the series for the character of John Doggett. I want that character to be rewarded with the full potential that I know that character and actor possess. And so, if at the end of this season, we created a character that people like and are interested in, then I’ll feel like the year’s been a success, whether it’s the last year of the series or not. And I think there’s a chance that it won’t be the last year of the series, if that character is as successful as I know he can be.

Official Magazine Aside from Chris Carter’s bat-man tale, what stories can we look forward to?

Frank Spotnitz Vince Gilligan is writing a story that’s about a very strange community in the middle of nowhere and Scully gets stranded there, and the locals have a terrible and weird secret that she doesn’t [seem to be able to] penetrate. It’s a great, paranoid and scary, isolated story that’s very much centered on the character of Scully. David Amman has a story about a boy who comes back from the past unchanged and he’s got a secret about what’s happened in the past 10 years, and it’s about Scully and Doggett trying to understand this little boy’s secret. Greg Walker’s got a story about a woman who is saved from a murder and believes she has a guardian angel who’s watching over her shoulder protecting her. But she’s wrong. It’s not what it seems to be at all. And Jeff Bell is working on a story about a man who is seemingly indestructible

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One Response to “The X-Files Magazine: The Next Files”

  1. […] If the seventh season of The X-Files could never decide whether it was or wasn’t the final season of the show, the eighth season is decidedly more ambitious. In many ways, the eighth season is simultaneously the last season of the show as it was and the first season of an entirely new show. As Frank Spotnitz recalls: […]