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Toronto Sun: Truth is in theatres

Toronto Sun
Truth is in theatres
Claire Bickley

The X-Files gang plan their first movie for 1998

Being kept in the dark between seasons is nothing new to viewers of The X-Files. But next year, they’ll have to move their curiosity into darkened movie theatres.

A cliffhanger set up by the final episode of the 1997-98 season will continue in the first X-Files feature film, to be released a month or so later, says Chris Carter, creator and executive-producer of the sublime scare series.

He’s hesitant to talk much about the summer ’98 movie, lest he give away plot turns in the TV episodes to air between now and then. Carter’s shows are both blessed and dogged by incessant Internet chatter.

“I’ve already appointed a Minister of Propaganda to put dummy scripts out there,” he said, and he may not be kidding.

Scripts have leaked before and bootleg tapes of his other show, Millennium, were being sold at swap meets before its premiere last October.

Suffice to say, the feature film will find both FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder investigating something spooky.

“Yes, it’s for both Mulder and Scully, played by Richard Gere and Jodie Foster,” Carter joked.

He’s eager to turn big-screen capabilities loose on X-Files sensibilities.

“The first thing I wrote on the first page for The X-Files movie was, `We have a low rumble, a THX big-screen rumble,’ and I can’t wait to take advantage of some of those things,” he says.

The movie will be made during X-Files’ summer hiatus this year and, despite a recent rumor to the contrary, Vancouver will remain its production base.

In another development affecting The X-Files’ future, Carter qualified his long-expressed opinion that the show should do five good seasons and then end, which would have seen it leave TV in May 1998. Now he says that while he expects to leave as executive producer at that time, the show will probably continue without him. Stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are contracted for a sixth season.

Propelled by its new Sunday night timeslot into a Top 10 hit for the first time and having just sold existing episodes into syndication for next fall to 99% of the U.S., Fox is understandably loath to let it go.

They’ve decided to air an X-Files episode immediately after their broadcast of The Super Bowl Jan. 26, a massively-watched timeslot traditionally used by networks to launch a new series or goose the ratings of one that’s struggling.

“The X-Files is the best of what we’ve got. We wanted to give the audience a gift,” explained entertainment division president Peter Roth.

Since that means the show will air at 7 p.m. on the west coast that night, Fox is hoping Carter doesn’t deliver too gory a gift. Carter is still choosing between two episodes, but said neither is “beyond what is tolerable for the time slot.”

Meanwhile, he’s also working on an episode with sci-fi author William Gibson. Another Secrets Of The X-Files special is being considered for this Spring. Horror novelist Stephen King, who met (and beat) Duchovny on Celebrity Jeopardy, has asked Carter if he can write a script.

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