More than any other event earlier this year, and I expect more than any even for the remainder of 2013, The X-Files‘ 20th anniversary was celebrated at San Diego Comic Con International 2013. The size of the event and the media coverage it got is the reason why this was a key event. The big panel was hosted by TV Guide, the second panel by Season 10 comics publisher IDW, and then there were of course signings and pricey photo shoots.
X-Files’ 20th anniversary
This was the biggest cast & crew reunion since the Paley Festival in 2008. From right to left: host Michael Schneider; Chris Carter; David Duchovny; Gillian Anderson; James Wong; Glen Morgan; John Shiban; Darin Morgan; Howard Gordon; Vince Gilligan; and out of frame, David Amann (photo from syzzlyn). From the writing team, you could say that all the people who shaped the show were there, apart from Frank Spotnitz (in Europe, busy with other projects) and Gordon’s writing partner Alex Gansa. As would be expected in such media-intensive events, the focus was much more on Anderson and Duchovny instead of the rest of the creative team — given how short the panel was, some of them only spoke once!
Host Michael Schneider posted a kind of “making of” of the whole event, which is a very entertaining read but is also revealing. The panel was organized by TV Guide, and within TV Guide, Schneider played an essential role: in inviting people and handling the organization of the event on the day. The involvement of FOX is nowhere to be seen apart from their mere approval. Still, we guess that they were watching, gauging interest in the X-Files to see if it has a future. The fans were certainly there!
One and a half decade ago (!), June 19 1998, “The X Files Movie“, better known by its main tagline “Fight The Future” premiered in the USA and Canada! (…and only in those countries on that day! That was a time when studios and audiences were less globalized and it felt like film reels had to cross the ocean by steamboat before reaching you. Release dates spread from June 19 to December 5!) Season 5 had just wrapped up, the show was so successful that FOX was willing to abide by the lead’s desire to move production from Vancouver to the more expensive Los Angeles, and Chris Carter was playing the Deep Throat informant with his fans: this was the high point of the show’s life.
Interestingly, 15 years later the same date was chosen for the launch of Season 10 of the X-Files in comics form. The same XF logo variant that was first introduced with Fight The Future is also used for Season 10, instead of the classic “typewriter X” of the show’s opening titles that was used for the Topps comics.
In rememberance, the definition of 1998, the year of Fight The Future, with Noel Gallagher’s Teotihuacan!
A day to celebrate! Let us hope Season 10 will be a worthy extension of the franchise.
XFN:You said once that Mulder and Scully were the light in dark places. What does it say to you that after 20 years, Mulder and Scully remain in the consciousness of so many people?
CC: “I’m blown away by the show and the character longevity. David and Gillian struck a deep chord with their portrayals.”
XFN: Reminiscing about when this great ride started, we’ve read earlier versions of the pilot that included a character named Agent Drazen. Do you remember what your plans were for this character and why he didn’t make it to the final version that was eventually produced?
CC: “I remember writing that character as a minor foil. He was named after a director. He and Scully’s boyfriend, played by Tim Ransom, didn’t make the cut, though Drazen disappeared before we shot. Something that’s not well-known is at the end of the pilot when Mulder calls Scully and she answers the phone in bed, her boyfriend’s beside her.”
XFN: Thinking back to the first day of filming the Pilot or even the whole shoot in Canada, is there a memory that strikes you about this first episode?
CC: “I have many memories, but the casting of Billy Miles comes to mind. We saw many actors before Zach Ansley came in and nailed it. I also remember how hard it was to stage the abduction sequences, with minimal special effects.”
XFN: When you think of everything that you have accomplished what is the most rewarding moment of your career so far?
CC: “We were honored by the WGA yesterday as one of the 101 best-written TV shows of all time. That is pretty amazing.”
XFN: We miss having a Chris Carter show on TV, what can you tell us about your latest projects?
CC: “I’m working on several different scripts for several different networks. The TV business is very exciting right now.”
XFN: There have been rumors that Fox is planing something for the 20th anniversary of The X-Files, what can you tell us about that?
CC: “I don’t know that Fox is planning anything, but I did hear this week that they’re bringing the series out in HD! Wow.”
XFN: It’s been heard through the grapevine that the show is being remastered to be released on Bluray, just like they’ve done with Star Trek. Is there anything you can tell us about this ambitious project?
CC: “I don’t think you’ll see the series in Bluray, but anything is possible.”
XFN: We’re really excited about the release of fresh stories via the new X-Files comics, but we’re curious, how will they fit between The X-Files: I Want To Believe and what we hope will be XF3? What can you tell us about this new stage?
CC: “The comics will pick up after the end of the second movie. Look out for some surprises, though. And trust no one.”
XFN: The unavoidable question – X-Files 3, When? What? How? The fandom is there, the timing it still there… What is the missing piece to get this project up and running?
CC: “XF3 will happen if the studio wants it to happen, and only then.”
XFN: You attended the Insect Fear Film Festival in February and attended The X-Files screening planned as the closing event for the Hero Complex Film Festival. What do you enjoy about these events and meeting fans of the show after all these years?
CC: “I’m always struck by how generally nice and respectful X-files fans are. It makes it a pleasure to do these events.”
The XFN Quick 6:
Favorite Food? Rufina’s chile rellenos
Favorite Word? Yes
Favorite X-Files Quote? Too many to choose!
Guilty pleasure? Wouldn’t you like to know.
I wish I had invented… A foolproof lie-detector
Dream Job/occupation: To surf one wave as Kelly Slater.
Thanks so much to Mr. Carter for the opportunity, and Mr. Gabe Rotter for your assistance during this interview!
This interview offers several insights.
First, after several rumours, this is the first official declaration that a HD version of the series is being prepared! An HD version would be used for broadcasting in modern TV sets, this is why Carter separates that item from a BluRay release in a somewhat puzzling remark — however once FOX will have an HD version there is no reason whatsoever not to release it in BluRay.
Second, he does tease Season 10 — but this is the only time he has done so, leaving principal writer Joe Harris to do all the promotion. This might also reflect the two creators’ relative contributions to Season 10, meaning that Carter is very little involved in this project beyond very generic indications. Joe Harris has been acknowledging and praising Carter’s contributions in all his interviews, however some of his replies sound like kind attempts to downplay Carter’s importance in the series. Carter’s participation as “executive producer” in Season 10 was/is a big marketing argument on behalf of IDW and is the only argument that makes this effort part of canon. His presence behind the scenes and absence in front might mean that this effort is not very important to him, or that we are witnessing a definitive passing of the torch.
Thirdly, Chris Carter’s characteristic few words and careful choice of words and what that says for Season 10 and a potential X-Files 3. All his answers were one-liners, he didn’t say anything more than the bare necessary and didn’t spend time on this interview more than was necessary. If he wanted to, if he really wanted this Season 10 project to happen, he’d be all over it. He has never been particularly extroverted as a character or internet-savvy, which is fine. But there are plenty of things he could do. In comparison with other creators who nurture their fanbase and know how to communicate and raise interest for a project that is close to their heart (Joss Whedon, Guillermo del Toro, JM Straczynski just to name a few) there’s a world of difference. He’s not particularly vocal on his other projects either. One possible reason for this is because he has become too afraid or weary of being the subject of attention and criticism, too averse to the idea of failure or of lack of acceptance from critics and fans. The hard work he poured in the X-Files and in “I Want To Believe” and the flood of criticism he got with the latter seasons of XF and with IWTB have taken their toll — the fact that he was hospitalized for exhaustion in September 2008 after a summer of promotion of IWTB is telling. He would like to step away from the spotlight, and that is perfectly fine, but he doesn’t seem keen to strongly defend his projects either. Perhaps, after “protecting his territory” by sticking with the X-Files after season 7 (his contract would end) throughout seasons 8 and 9 and all the way to IWTB, he has decided to relinquish some creative control and let the story go where it may. For the past five years, Carter and FOX have been playing ping-pong on whom the responsibility lies for launching the production of an XF3. If this relinquishing of control finally means that Carter is willing to let go of the idea of an XF3 and focus on other things, I’ll follow him on his next projects but I would just like him to be honest with the future of the things he’s created and stop this politically correct game of expectations.
This behind the scenes video from seasons 2-3 includes rare clear footage of the demon form of serial killer/"death fetishist" Donnie Pfaster from "Irresistible". The final cut of the episode was much more subtle, with only one very quick shot of the black silhouette of the demon included. ... See MoreSee Less