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CarterNews: The After, Area 51

Once more, Carter is busy!

“The After”

A month after Amazon released its pilots in February 6 and hosts of reviews started appearing, rumors began on Chris Carter’s “The After” getting the green light for a full series, but with no official word or comment anywhere. This was only officially confirmed on March 31, with not only “The After” but a total of 6 pilots going to series out of 10. Many people expected that Amazon would choose among the two one-hour pilots, this being the whole point of the online competition, but instead both “The After” and “Bosch” were chosen, which puts into question as to whether viewer feedback was going to be taken into account at all — possibly viewer feedback will be used to steer the show in future episodes. The official synopsis:

“The After”: Follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world “that defies explanation.” Written and directed by Carter; executive producer is Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and Gabe Rotter is producer. Starring Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jamie Kennedy, Sharon Lawrence, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Louise Monot.

The After” thus becomes Carter’s fifth series (although he is not mentioned as executive producer above), and his first since 2001’s short-lived “The Lone Gunmen“. Before Amazon ‘airs’ the episodes, “The After” now has to go into pre-production, Carter has to write scripts (alone or gather a team of writers), with full production and shooting (in 4K Ultra HD!) and post-production to follow — so a likely date for us to see the rest of the story is late 2014 or early 2015. We don’t know whether Carter and Amazon conceive this as an event mini-series or a first season in a multi-season story. In an interview with Carter at KCRW, it was hinted that the rest of the show would be four two-hour episodes.

See also on EatTheCorn: XFL/ETC exclusive interview with Carter | The After” released | Details on “The After

“Area 51”

March was a big month for Carter, as his other project of a show was ordered into full development! We had first talked and theorized about it on EatTheCorn, it turns out that it’s different from what I expected! The official synopsis:

“Area 51”: Writer/EP: Chris Carter (The X Files); EP: Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead). Based on the New York Times best-seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen. A contemporary conspiracy thriller revealing the true story behind the infamous Area 51, America’s most mysterious military installation.

Carter had mentioned that it would include some discussion on “the spectrum of political discourse as seen on the cable news channels” and would be “treading on some of this interesting ground that Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange have uncovered for us“, so obviously some aspects of it would be about media manipulation of information and the (un)covering of governmental/military secrets of debatable ethics. However the main subject is surprisingly close to what Carter came to be known for with “The X-Files“! Area 51, codename for a part of Edwards Air Force Base in Groom Lake, Nevada, is a huge myth for UFO lore, that’s where the Roswell UFO debris would have been stored and where reverse engineering of alien technology would have taken place; it was covered in XF in 6X04/6X05: Dreamland (and the Ellens Air Force Base, Idaho, in 1X01: Deep Throat was a stand-in for Area 51).


What is interesting is that the series would be based on Annie Jacobsen’s non-fiction book, which caused quite a stir when it was released in 2011. Jacobsen presents research on what really happened in Area 51 (and in Roswell), and presents not a story about aliens but a story about military research and Cold War era paranoia — although she has been criticized of sensationalistic writing and for not citing all her sources, the approach and presentation is a journalistic one. A whole commercial website was set up for the book (this kind of attention-seeking is not something very common for non-fiction), and it became a success. The synopsis of the book:

It is the most famous military installation in the world. And it doesn’t exist. Located a mere seventy-five miles outside of Las Vegas in Nevada’s desert, the base has never been acknowledged by the U.S. government-but Area 51 has captivated imaginations for decades.

Myths and hypotheses about Area 51 have long abounded, thanks to the intense secrecy enveloping it. Some claim it is home to aliens, underground tunnel systems, and nuclear facilities. Others believe that the lunar landing itself was filmed there. The prevalence of these rumors stems from the fact that no credible insider has ever divulged the truth about his time inside the base. Until now.

Annie Jacobsen had exclusive access to nineteen men who served the base proudly and secretly for decades and are now aged 75-92, and unprecedented access to fifty-five additional military and intelligence personnel, scientists, pilots, and engineers linked to the secret base, thirty-two of whom lived and worked there for extended periods. In Area 51, Jacobsen shows us what has really gone on in the Nevada desert, from testing nuclear weapons to building super-secret, supersonic jets to pursuing the War on Terror.

This is the first book based on interviews with eye witnesses to Area 51 history, which makes it the seminal work on the subject. Filled with formerly classified information that has never been accurately decoded for the public, Area 51 weaves the mysterious activities of the top-secret base into a gripping narrative, showing that facts are often more fantastic than fiction, especially when the distinction is almost impossible to make.

Keeping with the XF vein, Jacobsen’s next book will be “Operation Paperclip“! (see 3X02: Paper Clip)

AMC and veteran producer Gale Ann Hurd considered making a series out of it from as early as November 2011, with a different writer attached at the time! AMC approached Carter in 2013 to have his take on it, and now it’s moving into full production. Again, we do not know whether this will be conceived as a mini-series or a first season — nor whether the series will fully follow Jacobsen’s grounded (but debatable) explanation or whether it will involve actual aliens (à la “Taken” or “Dark Skies“). Even so, there are plenty of things that happened in and around Area 51 that didn’t involve Roswell: military planes development, astronaut trainings, Soviet technology reverse engineering, nuclear bomb tests! Area 51 was really “in” in the 1990s and covered several times, I hope Carter can find a fresh approach for this. It looks like a full season will be produced altogether, without first making a pilot; perhaps this will air as soon as late 2014, but probably it will be early 2015.

All in all, 2014-2015 is shaping to be a very interesting period for Carter!

XFL/ETC exclusive: Chris Carter interview!

I am very grateful to Matt Allair at The X-Files Lexicon for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the interview he conducted with Chris Carter very recently! Truly, this is an honor and one of the big highlights for Matt’s XFL and for EatTheCorn: getting to talk with the source of it all, the mind behind The X-Files, Millennium, Harsh Realm, The Lone Gunmen, and now The After!

Carter has been doing several interviews promoting The After: TV Guide, The Verge, KLTA, TV Wise, X-Files News, Studio System News, and even an “As Me Anything” at Reddit — unprecedented for someone who hasn’t been too keen on using social networks!

The pilot for The After is available for viewing worldwide with a single registration to Amazon.com, and viewer reviews should still be factored in in Amazon’s decision process to turn it into a series or not — a decision it might be making in a few days’ or weeks’ time! As a bonus, an IMDB poll that Amazon is looking at.

The XFL interview is available here. Or you can find it below!


Photo: Chris Carter directing on ‘The After’ Set; still courtesy of Amazon Studios

Chris Carter: Hi Matt, how are you?

Matt Allair: Hi Chris. It’s a great honor to speak with you. I really enjoyed the pilot and congratulations on the show.

Chris: Thank you so much.

Orodromeus: We first heard about The After well over a year ago, in October 2012, when Marc Rosen had been promoting it to the MIPCOM expo. For how long have you been actually developing this story?

Chris: I had the idea about six years ago, and then I finally sat down to write it about two years ago, so that’s pretty much the timetable.

Matt: The X-Files and Millennium thematically had a dialog between science and religion; will The After be a continuation of that dialog, or do you see it going in a completely different direction?

Chris: No, I think for me, those were the two big questions in life (chuckle) and so they inform everything, even if they don’t inform it directly. So I’m sure you’ll see those questions come up, but hopefully in as entertaining a way as possible.

Orodromeus: Selling The X-Files to FOX famously involved bringing forth statistics about alien abductions in the USA. What did it take to sell The After?

Chris: Really the script just sort of sold itself. I got it out there, Amazon saw it and liked it, which is pretty much all of the sales pitch I had. I met with Joe Lewis from Amazon once and we had a nice conversation, but beyond that I think the script sold itself.

Matt: You have been known for your innovative casting decisions. The After has an interesting range of fairly new actors; are there any current actors you’ve worked with who really stand out?

Chris: I think the whole cast is excellent, of course. Four have never been seen [before], certainly in the US, Louise Monot who’s our French actress. It was kind of a miracle that we were able to cast her, because we were told that she couldn’t get a work VISA, etc…But, I think she actually became available before we started shooting.

Orodromeus: You recently mentioned in interviews that you felt there is more freedom and flexibility in cable television instead of network television. What has been your experience with the new medium of online distribution so far? What are your expectations?

Chris: Well, my expectations are that this is the future. So while I think that while it’s new to me, and new to many, it will become the norm. I’m not, of course, used to the idea that you make something and then it’s put on trial, as it were, with a jury of hundreds-of-thousands of people. That’s a new experience, but it’s exciting at the same time.

Matt: Your track record for bringing in important writers who do groundbreaking work is quite impressive. Have your criteria changed over the years? Are there certain strengths you always look for when you hire a writer?

Chris: Yes, that they are imaginative, that they are in sync with my characters as I’ve imagined them, and the concept of the show, but mostly that they’ve had a body of work that shows originality.

Orodromeus: Over ten years have passed since your last show went off the air, yet there are still strong followers of that work, be it online communities of The X-Files and Millennium or the comics continuation of The X-Files. How does the creator feel to see his work live on in these ways? Is there a sense of pride and accomplishment, or rather a need to distance yourself so as to focus on new creative endeavors?

Chris: I don’t feel the need to distance myself, I always want to do something that excites me, that I feel is different and hopefully original, and I think that’s what we’ve got here with The After. For me, it’s a miracle that 20 years later people are still as interested in The X-Files as they are. There’s a whole new generation interested, and that’s amazing to me. Is that an once-in-a-lifetime experience? Maybe, I hope not.

Matt: Has Amazon Studios given you a lot of support in the production of the Pilot?

Chris: Amazon was terrific. They had really smart notes that helped make the project better which is what you want with a partner. They have been a terrific support for us and a guiding light.

Orodromeus: The After has a whole new crew. Can we expect to see any of the people you collaborated with previously in the crew?

Chris: It’s always hard to tell because people are busy, and certainly good people are always in demand. You know, it will be a combination of who wants to come work on the show – that we’ve worked with before because we love working with friends and other collaborators. But we are also looking forward to working with some new folks and faces.

Matt: Will this show being developed for AMC go in a completely different direction from The After? Is there anything new you are willing to share about this other project?

Chris: I’m not able to talk about it, but it’s not really directly connected to The After. I think you’ll see there is connective tissue there, but not obvious tissue. It based on a book that was given to me by AMC. I read that book, I didn’t see how it could be a TV series. They asked me to read it again, I did, and all of a sudden it just hit me–how you could do it. So that’s where I am in the process.

Matt: Back when you started as a writer for Disney and NBC, you worked on developing cop shows and family comedies, I even recall you wrote a script based on your surfing experiences. Now that you are getting back into television, would you like work in a genre outside of what you are known for?

Chris: Yeah, I’m interested in so many things that all of a sudden to become stereotyped as a science fiction writer. It’s funny to me because I never would have described myself as that before The X-Files. I did write something based on my–less my surfing experiences than my experiences with the surf culture–when I graduated from college. I did my journalism internship at Surfing magazine. I ended up staying at the magazine for five years. I had a tremendous experience and education there that was not just about the surf world, but about business, but about putting something out serially. So, that was a fantastic experience and I’d love to write about that–and in fact I did with a script that never got made. I’d love to revisit that.

Orodromeus: With the wide use of internet and discussion boards, the days of The X-Files were an important moment for the audience-creator interaction. Now it appears like viewer feedback for the pilot of The After will be part of the evaluation of the project on behalf of Amazon. Could you discuss the process a bit, and whether you see this as helpful or not?

Chris: I’m not reading the comments, it’s only helpful to me in that other people are and it’s helping them to evaluate responses that I’d call are more personal, in a personalized way. For me, as I have always done, I am going to try tell a story, a saga, that is interesting to me, because if I don’t do that–it’s beyond me to do that–I don’t know how to do something that doesn’t interest me on some kind of deeper level.

Matt Allair: With your previous projects, you have been known for developing mythology arcs, as well as stand-alone tales, will The After follow similar formats to your past work, or will it be more like the usual episodic television format?

Chris: It will be more like my past work. It will have a mythology, but it will have stand-alone episodes, as well.

Orodromeus: Hopefully The After will move forward with a full series order. How clear set are the other episodes? Would you work with other writers to develop them?

Chris: I do, yes, we will sit with the writers. They will sit with me and Gabe Rotter, the co-executive producer, and we will plot the series. If we are so lucky to go to series, there are no guarantees here even though I think the response has been positive, you just never know. It could go either way.

Matt Allair: Now that you have a few features under your belt, are you gaining more confidence as a director? You’ve worked with many directors in television over a decade; did they help influence or shape your choices with The After?

Chris: Absolutely. David Nutter originally was extremely helpful to me. My first episode, my first directing experience, David really helped me. He dug in there, he actually blocked scenes for me to show me how he did it, and it showed me, not only his style, but the economy and the way he thought about shots and editorial. That was extremely helpful to me. I’m still working off those lessons. Rob Bowman and Kim Manners in particular were very, very instructive. They had such a vast experience in television. They knew how to go fast, but to make it beautiful and cinematic. I’ll never forget Kim who’s no longer with us. In every episode, he tried to do something with a great degree of difficulty. I was talking to Bill Roe, the DP on the last four years of the show, and he said that in fact, ‘that’s right, Kim would always try something that was too hard’ during the show, and that’s what I think made his episodes stand out and that made the show visually superior.

Matt: Thank you so much for taking time to do this.

Chris: Thank you so much.

So much more could have been asked and said, that goes without saying, but of course the object of this interview was his most recent piece of work (covered on EatTheCorn here and here). What’s more, with this interview and others, we got hints of not just one additional project (the untitled AMC show) but more as well, and non-genre to boot — namely, a potential adaptation of his wife’s Dori Carter interconnected short stories We Are Rich, and a potential revisit to an old idea of his on surfing. It is great to see Carter active again!

Chris Carter’s “The After” Released

EatTheCorn covered extensively the pre-production of Chris Carter’s new project, the pilot for “The After” for Amazon Studios. After shooting in October-November, the pilot was released on February 6 along with 9 other pilots in Amazon Original Series’ “pilot season”.


Eight strangers are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation.

The 55-min pilot can be viewed at Amazon.com (for free, and from anywhere in the world, with a simple Amazon account). The television landscape is changing radically, with new distribution means come also new evaluation methods: viewer feedback will be taken into account on whether “The After“, or any of the 10 pilots released, will be ordered to full series!

This is Carter’s first production to see the light of the public since 2008, and 2002 before that! Carter is writing and directing; it is his first pilot that he is also directing. A “Spedis Owl” (with the voice-over “Who Made This?”) production logo has replaced the Ten Thirteen logo.

As for the content itself… admittedly, colour me underwhelmed. Characters, dialogue, plot, directing and general visuals are what one would expect from a generic Hollywood production. The whole thing feels a lot like the profusion of series that tried and still try to replicate Lost‘s popular success (Invasion, FlashForward, The Event, Revolution…), which is ironic given how Lost at times felt like it had taken inspiration from The X-Files; all these are shows that do not attract me in the least. Many of Carter’s trademark signs — concentration on few tortured and idealistic characters, dark photography, introspective ambiance — are absent here, nevertheless less important trademark signs abound (the ouroboros above, 1013, 1121…). Despite all this, by its very nature of serialized mystery storytelling, this is a concept that would need more time to be developed, what we have now are merely random glimpses of the whole mystery and starting points for future character arcs. Promotional material since 2012 have described “The After” as a 13 episode project.

Stay tuned for another exciting “The After“-related development for EatTheCorn!

So what’s Carter and Season 10 up to?

A number of interviews with the creative team behind XF and Season 10 have popped up lately, and they have been very revealing on how Season 10 came to be and where it is headed: Joe Harris at Things From Another World; Chris Carter at MTV; Chris Carter, Joe Harris and Denton J. Tipton (IDW editor) at Nerdy Show.

Carter projects: Coming in February 2014

Chris Carter is finishing post-production of the pilot of his next series, “The After” (extensive coverage here). It will ‘air’ online at Amazon Prime in February 2014, before a decision is made to order a full series or not. Below: a photo from the shooting (from Back To Frank Black).


And in parallel he’s developing the story for another show for AMC (extensive coverage here).

From MTV:

Carter has also been busy with non-X-Files material. He’s finishing up a pilot for Amazon called “The After” which, according to the new studio, “follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation.”

Then there’s the super-secret AMC project he’s working on. “I wrote a script that I got a good response to,” Carter said. “Right now it’s still in the development stage.” Regarding the subject matter, Carter only conceded that it has something to do with conspiracies. Seems like he’s heading back into familiar territory.

And so this is where we are, precisely one year after December 22nd 2012, the would-be date of the alien invasion that Carter burdened himself with by referencing it in the X-Files finale. Eleven years after that finale, what we get on making Dec-22-2012 the ‘end date’ for XF3 is this (from Nerdy Show; major troll on Chris’s behalf!):

“I think that’s a significant date, but… there was this idea that we would shoot for 2012, I always though that was a mistake and I’m glad that date is passed.”

Below, a Flukeman commission by Michael Walsh… who didn’t do the art for #6-7!


Season 10: “Am I vague enough for you?”

It appears IDW first got the idea for the comics with the 20th anniversary of the series and approached FOX. Joe Harris was hired to write up ideas. Eventually Carter got involved, and steered Harris away from certain plot points, and gave Harris certain feedback for what became the first story arc, “Believers“. After that, Harris sends Carter drafts for review but by the sound of it Carter has little to say and lately hasn’t even had time to go through them (he seemed unaware or forgot that monster-of-the-week type issues were upcoming!). Whatever Carter prevented Harris to cover in “Believers” is something that Carter hopes to use in a potential third XF movie, and this territory is off limits for Harris for the foreseeable future (incidentally meaning that Harris is aware of certain story elements of that XF3!). And this is how Season 10 is evolving, Carter being ‘executive producer’ but essentially giving Harris free rein to do whatever he wants apart from dealing with certain specifics — we suspect resolving the William issue, or actually making colonization happen. And if, if XF3 happens, Harris hopes that they will manage to have the comics storylines nicely fit into and lead to the movie. Which is nice for coherence’s sake, but also means that Season 10 is, in some ways, bonus adventures/side distractions/stand-alone material, before the grand finale that is as yet unrevealed. Enjoyable, but somewhat frustrating!

Some quotes from MTV:

Carter: “I’d never been involved in the comics before because I had no time and really no inclination,” Carter explained. But when he heard what was being planned for the series, he offered to step in. “I think they’ve been doing a really good job,” he said. “I like that there are characters coming back, they’re bringing characters to life, and that tickles me.”

And from Nerdy Show:

Carter: “It’s really Joe who is driving this […] a product of his imagination […] IDW, they’ve taken the lead, they’ve taken the reins”

Carter: “Even though we are calling it ‘season 10’, it’s a comic book season 10″Carter: “If there ever were going to be a third movie, we wanted to preserve certain things that wouldn’t corrupt that opportunity”

Harris: “Chris and I have talked about a potential third movie and what that would entail, or what that would address, what that would contain, and I am very mindful of that, and leaving a lot of space. I don’t want the comics to get into that specifically at all. If and when that is to materialize I’m pretty confident we could make it all work.”

Joe Harris at TFAW:

TFAW: How large will Scully’s son William figure in the overall series?

It’s all a mystery, wrapped in a puzzle, inside of an enigma. William is, obviously, a core concern for Mulder and Scully — for Dana, especially. And the events of our opening “Believers” arc didn’t do anything to lessen that.

But William is also a dear concern for Chris Carter, and I know he has business he wants to get to on that front, himself. So we’re touching upon things where appropriate, and when expected . . . but we’re being careful for other, very cool reasons too.

TFAW: Can you give us any hints about the alien invasion, or whatever else is coming next?

JH: If I told you about “the alien invasion” Chris Carter would excommunicate me . . .

Joe Harris interview for Comic Book Resources (video, text highlights). On XF Season 10:

It’s totally in continuity with the blessing of series creator Chris Carter. He has overseen everything I brought — he’s even offered some tweaks to make it better and preserve some things he wanted to preserve; mysteries he might want to tackle later at some date. It’s totally in-continuity, they are the present-day adventures of Mulder and Scully. It draws on everything we know, it continues the mythology while — I’d like to think — adding something new, so it’s not completely retro.

Bonus: another short video of Joe Harris on #5 and #6.

IDW Season 10: Changes in the team

Michael Walsh, who did the art for issues #1-5 and #8, will not be returning for more — for reasons unknown (perhaps the lukewarm reception his art got, arguably, although he has been engaged to another series, and he said in an audio interview for Comicbook Noise that he might return occasionally, but not as the main artist. Issues #6-7, #9 and #10 have some guests artists with Elena Casagrande, Greg Scott and menton3, however it appears that none of them will be the regular Season 10 artist: that one will be revealed with issue #11! Jordie Bellaire, who worked with Walsh, will be returning for colors.

There are changes on the covers side as well, with Carlos Valenzuela leaving after issue #9 and Francesco Francavilla arriving with #10. Comics Alliance has an interview with him.

Issues #8, #9 and #10 — and beyond!

The solicitations for February and March are out:

February 2014: Issue #9 is a single-issue arc. Writer Joe Harris: “It’s my first, original “Monster of the Month” (a term I’m taking sole credit for) story and it’s utterly disgusting, I’m sorry.” Exciting — although I’m worried 22 pages might not be enough!

The X-Files: Season 10 #9
Joe Harris (w) • Greg Scott (a) • Carlos Valenzuela (c)
Chitter” A missing persons investigation leads Agents Mulder and Scully into a disgusting mess of human sacrifice, enough bugs to keep your skin crawling long after the issue is over, and The X-Files’ newest “Monster of the Month.” But what is “The Chittering God,” and why does it hunger for Dana Scully?
• 32 pages • $3.99
Ask your retailer about the menton3 variant cover!
Our first issue to feature an original “Monster of the Month”


March 2014: Issue #10 is also a single-issue story, and it returns to the mythology in a bigh way. Joe Harris teases us at length:

Issue #10 is a quasi-sequel to one of my favorite X-Files episodes, Season Four’s “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” which presented a potential, speculative history of everyone’s favorite nicotine addict and X-Files foil.

Keeping in that tradition, we’re going to fill in some more blanks — some of which line up with what we know of X-Files and “Mytharc” continuity, and others that just won’t make much sense when you lay them over times, dates, events and relationships we already know — while attempting to tell a story that both serves as a love letter to that classic Glen Morgan-penned and James Wong-directed episode, as well as a springboard toward our next big “Mytharc” storyline kicking off in issue #11.  On the surface, this will appear to be a throwback story… but if you read between the lines, or panels (and if we do our jobs correctly!), you’ll learn a few things about our current, “Season 10″ rendition of the Cigarette Smoking Man, get some hints as to the nature of his unexplained resurrection following his demise at the end of the show’s final season, as well as learn a bit more about what amounts to a neo-Syndicate that’s popping up to make Agents Mulder and Scully’s lives difficult all over again.

Menton3 is joining us on interiors this time around (while providing another ‘Retailer Incentive’ cover), and this issue also marks the debut of the the amazingly talented Francesco Francavilla as series cover artist!

The X-Files: Season 10 #10
Joe Harris (w) • menton3 (a) • Francesco Francavilla (c)
More Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” The ubiquitous foe of Agents Mulder and Scully has returned from the dead, raising many questions and burying many answers. Find out more about his resurrection, along with his past, in this special stand-alone story, which sets the stage for the next big story arc!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
• Ask your retailer about the menton3 variant cover!
• Special standalone story featuring the “Cigarette Smoking Man”!
• Eisner-winning cover artist Francesco Francavilla begins his run as the regular cover artist!


Some art by Walsh from the upcoming #8 (original and with colors):


Walsh: Did some traditional grey washes on some pages from this issue. Quite happy with how they turned out, I’ll probably incorporate this technique in to my work again down the road. As always Jordie did a great job colouring

Could that be a flashback featuring X?

This looks like it’s from #8 as well:


And also a commission by Walsh that… we’re not likely to see inside the issues:


And, Joe Harris on TFAW:

As a fan, is there a scene you’re just dying to write?

Oh hell yes. As I’m always scanning through old episodes, I make note of little hooks and references that might later work their way into a Season 10 story and cement us a little more within the mythology.

There’s a lot I’m looking into right now, and I really don’t want to reveal and spoil anything here. But I can give you two examples of moments and bits that would ring some bells with the fans, and which I really want to illustrate as either the center of an upcoming issue, or in a scene somewhere down the line, etc.

The first involves Mulder’s trip to a Washington, DC “head shop,” as mentioned in the Stephen King co-written episode, “Chinga,” where he ends up buying the iconic “I Want To Believe” poster that hangs on his basement office wall. I mean, can you imagine Mulder browsing through the bongs and glass pipes before he gets to the blacklight posters and patchouli?

The other involves Monte Propps, the killer who was the subject of young Fox Mulder’s famed work as a profiler before founding the FBI’s “X-Files” division, and who was mentioned in the very first episode of the show. I’d like to expand and expound upon that bit of lore a little at some point, too.

And I’d love to show more of Mulder and Scully’s past, at some point, if it works within the context of what we’re doing in the present.

These flashbacks do sound like something we could see in #8.

TFAW: Can you give us any hints about the alien invasion, or whatever else is coming next?

JH: If I told you about “the alien invasion” Chris Carter would excommunicate me . . .

But I can tell you that we’ve got lots of hooks and permutations of the X-Files “Mytharc” to explore, and new conspiracies to dig into. Lots of old friends, enemies, and characters difficult to classify as one or the other will be returning . . . some in unexpected ways, with motivations and secrets that keep this a forward-leaning series, rather than just a trip down memory lane.

We’ve got everyone’s favorite monster, Flukeman, returning in a two-part sequel to the immortally beloved Season Two episode “The Host” beginning in issue #6, and Mulder’s mysterious informant “X” makes a return from beyond the grave in issue #8.

Issue #9 is going to spotlight our first original “Monster of the Month” that I’m super excited to reveal. It’s going to be a pretty creepy experience, I can promise you that.

After that, we’re going to expand on the presumed history of everyone’s favorite nicotine addict a bit, both as a love letter to one of my favorite episodes, “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” as well as an uncovering of some new details regarding the mystery of CSM’s reappearance in the pages of The X-Files: Season 10.

And all of this will propel us toward the next big, shocking multi-part storyline beginning in issue #11.

And Harris in the Nerdy Show:

“We’ve got a five-issue mythology story arc starting with issue #11. And after that we’ll be into year two of the Season 10 series being published, and I’ve got a few new ideas for single-issue monster stories and short two-part arcs as well”

Other releases: Volume 1, Conspiracy and Annual

The X-Files Season 10 Volume 1 was released on December 18 2013. It is a hardcover collecting the first five issues of the seriess, i.e. the “Believers” arc. This is the version that will be circulated widely, be translated — usually comic publishers go with collecting 6 issues in trade paperbacks, but IDW sees big with XF! IDW seems to be continuing the trend of collecting 5 issues, as Volume 2 has been announced for April. This also has an impact on the way stories are written and over how many issues they are spread over: Volume 2 should have “Hosts“, “For the Benefit of Mr. X“, “Chitter” and “More Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man“, and Harris has said that the next big mythology arc should be spread over issues #11-15 (i.e. Volume 3!).


Joe Harris is continuing to sell his XF scripts!

Alongside Season 10, IDW is continuing the X-Files: Conspiracy series, which is the cross-over of the Lone Gunmen with other big franchises (announced here). Two issues are released per month, with awesome covers by Miran Kim and others. Now that they have Miran Kim back on XF, as she used to do the covers for the Topps comics in the 1990s, why don’t they have her do some interior art as well? There is also an interview by Conspiracy writer Paul Crilley at Comic Book Resources.


The X-Files: Conspiracy: TMNT—SPOTLIGHT
Ed Brisson (w) • Michael Walsh (a) • Miran Kim (c)
The Turtles are doing their best to avoid trouble in Northampton. Unfortunately, trouble finds them in the form of the Lone Gunmen! The fate of the world depends on the Gunmen getting the reclusive Turtles’ help. Add in an undead menace and things are going to get downright dangerous!
• 32 pages • $3.99
The X-Files meets the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Written by Ed Brisson (Comeback, Secret Avengers)!
Art by The X-Files: Season 10 artist Michael Walsh!
“Tabloid Newspaper” Variant Cover by Joe Corroney!

Paul Crilley (w) • Dheeraj Verma (a) • Miran Kim (c)
The Lone Gunmen’s trail of secrets leads them to evidence of extraterrestrial life—mechanical extraterrestrial life! Will OPTIMUS PRIME and his allies trust these human interlopers—and what secret conspiracy could involve CYBERTRON, anyway?!
• 32 pages • $3.99
Written by Conspiracy architect Paul Crilley!
Art by Transformers: Fall of Cybertron artist Dheeraj Verma!
“Tabloid Newspaper” Variant Cover by Joe Corroney!


The X-Files: Conspiracy #2 (of 2)
Paul Crilley (w) • John Stanisci (a) • Miran Kim (c)
The event of the year concludes here! The Lone Gunmen have finished investigating several urban legends—a group of ghost-hunters, mutant turtles that live in the sewers, shape-changing alien robots, and a vengeful spirit from beyond the grave—after receiving Internet files from future that foretell a plague that wipes out most of humanity. Now it’s a race against the clock as the Gunmen, with Agents Mulder and Scully, attempt to save the world!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
• The event of the year sees characters from The X-Files interact with the Ghostbusters, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Crow!
• Ask your retailer about the Joe Corroney “tabloid” variant covers for each issue of the event!
• Each issue has a special subscription variant that depicts famous conspiracies with a new twist!

The X-Files: Conspiracy: The Crow
Denton J. Tipton (w) • Vic Malhotra (a) • Miran Kim (c)
Bernard is a decorated state policeman in love with his partner. But their romance is brutally cut short when both die following a high-speed pursuit and fiery car crash involving the Lone Gunmen. Bernard inexplicably awakens to find himself resurrected by an otherworldly crow and with only one thing on his mind: vengeance.
FC • 32 pages • $3.99
• Art by Vic Malhotra (Joe Hill’s Thumbprint)!
• Ask your retailer about the Joe Corroney “tabloid” variant covers for each issue of the event!

As for April, as revealed in the Nerdy Show podcast, we are to expect an Annual for the X-Files, a once-a-year event, graphic novel-style stand-alone story, that will be scripted by none other than Frank Spotnitz (XF’s Number 2) and Gabe Rotter (Carter’s assistant and now producer on Carter’s next show The After)! This is some news, more and more 1013 alumni are joining IDW’s effort! Back in 2008-2009 around the release of I Want To Believe, Spotnitz had contributed in writing 3 issues of XF comics for the 7-issue run of the XF comics for Wildstorm. Many times over, Spotnitz had hinted on his official site that there were more comics coming, but that never materialized. Specifically, it had been announced in July 2009 that “Frank is at work on another original “X-Files” comic book to be co-written by Gabe Rotter, director of development at Ten Thirteen Productions and author of the novel, “Duck Duck Wally.” Look for the book to hit the stands early next year. [2010]” So I am guessing that this 2009 story idea is what will make its way to this IDW Annual.


There have been many reviews, in particular with Season 10 moving into different types of storytelling (monster of the month) and as it gets better circulation with the first collected volume:

Chris Carter’s shows: “The After”

Since The X-Files ended in 2002, and apart from 2008’s I Want To Believe and the aborted project Fencewalker, Chris Carter has not been associated with a creative project. But for the last two years, Carter seems determined to return to the little screen. There has been the TV series project Unique, which did not get sold in 2011. And now there are two projects simultaneously: The After and a second, yet untitled, show. See here for that second show.

From Sierra/Engine’s website:


From the creator of the X-Files
Chris Carter’s “THE AFTER”
What happens when the end is now?
13 x one-hour

THE AFTER is not POST-apocalyptic, it is REAL-TIME apocalyptic. It is Chris Carter’s take on what could and would happen at the beginning of the end. Suddenly, on a perfectly normal day, our power goes out. Our cell phones and Internet cease to work. We can’t communicate with our loved ones or watch the news on TV. Very quickly the world goes crazy.

SOMETHING terrible has happened out there… but WHAT IS IT? Is it supernatural? Geological? Biblical? With The X-Files, Chris created a format which many shows follow today, wherein some episodes are “mythology” episodes, following the continuing story arc of the show; while others are self-contained “monster of the week” episodes. We intend to employ a similar format with THE AFTER.

We first got wind of The After in September 2012, when Carter was described as “currently developing a new series for cable“. We got many more details in October 2012, when the series was being sold to buyers (co-financiers, cable TV, new broadcast platforms, international buyers…) in MIPCOM, an annual entertainment market event in Cannes, France. Deadline broke the news:

Independent TV studio, Georgeville Television has teamed up with The X-Files creator Chris Carter to finance a new drama series. Entitled The After, the series will debut at next week’s MIPCOM TV market where it will be shopped by newly formed Sierra/Engine Television.

Written by Carter, The After is a thriller which revolves around a mysterious, unexplained event. In the vein of The X Files, The After incorporates elements of science fiction, suspense, and real-world fear and paranoia. “Chris has woven his mythology magic within a very human, grounded story about the moment when we realize all of our worst fears about the world and its future,” said Georgeville CEO Marc Rosen, who co-founded the company earlier this year with Leon Clarance of Motion Picture Capital, the financing arm of Reliance Entertainment.

In addition to The After, GVTV is also financing a remake of the cult UK sci-fi series Blake’s 7 with feature director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) for Syfy, Hunters, a pandemic thriller drama from Overbrook Entertainment and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski at ABC as well Sense8, a supernatural series from the Wachowskis (The Matrix) and Straczynski. Sierra/Engine is handling the international distribution for GVTV’s projects, which also include Neil Cross’ midseason NBC pirate drama Crossbones. Carter has been looking at non-traditional TV development/production for his return to television after The X Files. Last year, he teamed with MRC for female-drive thriller Unique, which didn’t get set up at a network. Carter and Georgeville are with CAA.

The Hollywood Reporter also echoed:

This new series follows the aftermath of a mysterious event and will incorporate both supernatural and suspense elements that run through most of Carter’s work.


While at MIPCOM, Georgeville TV CEO Mark Rosen was interviewed by 8 Art City (French media), and he gave many more details in his French-English mix. At that time, the promo image above from Sierra/Engine was already in use. This is a full transcript/translation of what he said:

In fact it’s not apocalyptic, it’s very apocalyptic. In fact it’s the first five seconds when it begins, the five minutes, the five hours, the five days, the five weeks. Normally, films — and even series, like “Revolution”, but films normally — they jump a period of ten years, twenty years, something that is ahead. Because you want special effects, production design, things like that. But with us, it’s really reality, it’s what happens if you and me we are here, something happens outside and we find ourselves in the middle of we don’t know, if it’s aliens, if it’s biblical, if it’s supernatural, à la Chris Carter in the X-Files.

Each week our group of characters will try to find exactly what’s going on. But as it’s Chris Carter we’re going to do twists and turns I think with the mythology. In fact it’s — he’s going to say the same thing — it’s the closest to the X-Files compared to anything else he’s done today. It’s because there’s a secret with what’s going on, supernaturally or otherwise, and characters who are trying to find that out. At the same time they have missions themselves: to find the family of one of them, to find medicine for another, and for that they hold on together throughout the whole series.

We are going to see the voyage between Los Angeles and New York in the first season, and afterwards we have twists and twists that Chris invented. I think that the audience who liked the X-Files will like this show here.

After MIPCOM 2012, in March 2013 the show was also shopped in MIPTV 2013 in Cannes. TV Wise had this to report:

According to a number of potential buyers who heard the pitch for the series, The After is in fact a thriller set in Los Angeles which explores the coming apocalypse. I hear that the drama begins after a strange event strikes the Earth. There is no government statement on this event and it is shrouded in secrecy and will ultimately lead to a far greater cataclysmic event. The series will follow a core group of characters who try to discover just what has happened and why, while also doing what they must to survive. One source described it as a combination of The X-Files and Falling Skies. “It’s a mystery series set right at the end of the world”, one source tells me. I also understand that, as one would expect with a genre show such as this, The After will be largely serialised and utilise season long story arcs.

As reported previously, around the San Diego Comic Con in July 2013, Carter mentioned he was working on cable projects. The following quotes might refer to The After:

On story ideas they never got to do on the X-Files: “I’m actually saving those for something else I’m working on right now”

On what’s next: “I’m working on something new, and with any luck it could be announced soon.”

And: “Right now I’m close to coming back to television but it’s to cable television. The scripts I’ve written for it, you could not do on network television.”

On August 14 2013, Amazon Studios, which is new in producing original content, announced that The After was among the show concepts it was picking up:

Amazon Studios seems to be gearing up for its next batch of scripted pilots, which is expected to feature both comedy and drama projects. The company already has greenlighted drama pilot Bosch, a police procedural based on Michael Connelly‘s novels about Harry Bosch, and Jill Soloway’s comedy pilot Transparent starring Jefferey Tambor. I hear there are several other projects that are zeroing in on a pickup. That includes The After, a drama from Chris Carter and Georgeville TV set at the moment of apocalypse. The X Files creator is set to write and direct. […] In its first-ever pilot orders in April, the company picked up 6 kids and 8 comedy pilots, five of which — 3 kids and 2 comedy — went to series to stream later this year and in early 2014.

It seems Georgeville TV is aiming more at new ways and platforms for entertainment, such as Netflix (the Wachowski’s and JM Straczynski’s Sense8), X-Box (Blake’s 7) or Amazon (The After). Since the success of House of Cards (Netflix, 2013), the trend of non-network, non-cable “TV” producers has been picking up. If you’re interested, you can read an interview with Amazon Studios director Roy Price on this novel approach to original content:

Amazon announced its first five original series in May, which were selected from a pool of 14 pilots. […]

Assuaging the fears of writers and creatives who might be reluctant to place the future development of something they have poured their heart into in the lap of the viewer, Price says the point is seeing what people react to, not using feedback to tweak the narrative or alter a story arc.

“That’s an important distinction, it’s about assessing how successful something is in its current form versus coming up with the answer – we are not proposing crowd-sourcing a show’s creative direction,” he says.

The bigger picture is that Amazon is betting that the audience outreach will, in bucking convention, unearth a gem that regular TV is not set up to find. “If you look at the history of TV, a lot of the game-changing shows came from networks that were new or coming off a bad streak because that made them more open minded” […]

The manner in which Amazon will release the content to those subs is under discussion, but Price is cool on the simultaneous release model pioneered by Prime Instant’s chief rival, Netflix, citing the need to build buzz and also the drawback of waiting for a series to finish production before it launches.

“It’s possible there is a middle-ground hybrid model,” according to Price. “That may be [put out] episode one, or one through three and then release the others as they become available. One may be too few and thirteen may be more than enough.”

Not two weeks later, the order for a pilot for The After was confirmed:

The X Files creator Chris Carter is close to a TV return with his first pilot in more than a decade. I’ve learned that Amazon Studios has moved forward with a pilot order to The After, Carter’s project with Georgeville TV. Carter wrote and is set to direct the thriller, which takes place at the moment of apocalypse. Georgeville TV, founded by Marc Rosen and Reliance’s Motion Picture Capital, first teamed with Carter for The After last fall when the project was taken to MIPCOM by Sierra/Engine TV. The After joins another Amazon drama pilot, recently ordered Bosch, as the company is looking to launch its first hourlong series. Amazon also has Jill Soloway’s comedy pilot Transparent starring Jefferey Tambor, and football comedy The Outlaws, written by Jeremy Garelick and Jon Weinbach and executive produced by Ice Cube, also is gearing up for a pilot shoot.

During August, Carter had this to say to Vulture:

Does that affect what projects you want to work on in the future?
Yeah, I’m involved right now with AMC and I’m also involved with Amazon [Studios], and these are, for me, new platforms and new approaches and they have different expectations. With Amazon, it’s completely uncharted territory, which is really exciting.

What can you tell us about the Amazon project? Is it true it centers on the moment of the apocalypse, which was something that was foreshadowed in The X-Files?
[Laughs.] That was what was reported in the trades. It’s not exactly a perfect description of the show. But because I’m superstitious I’m not going to try to elaborate on that. We are gearing up right now and it is a very exciting time; I think we’re going to start casting soon, and I think the show will take a lot of my storytelling experience on The X-Files and apply it in a really new and creative way.

In October 2013, pre-production of the pilot is in full swing, with several announcements of casting — accompanied by short character descriptions! First, Jamie Kennedy as “a professional clown”, Adrian Pasdar, as “an escaped convict who proclaims to be an innocent man who was railroaded”, and Aldis Hodge, as “a successful Beverly Hills businessman”.

Second, Louise Monot , as “Gigi, a woman caught up in the midst of the action”, and Sam Littlefield:, as “the mysterious Dark Shadow”.

The official announcement for the pilot for The After from Amazon only came on October 31 from Deadline, after casting was done:

Written and directed by Emmy-nominee Chris Carter (The X-Files), executive produced by Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television and produced by Gabe Rotter, The After follows eight strangers who are thrown together by mysterious forces and must help each other survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Sharon Lawrence, Jamie Kennedy, Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Adrian Pasdar and Louise Monot will star. “I’m very superstitious about talking about what I’m working on before it’s finished, and it’s more fun if it’s kept a mystery! So let me just say that this is a show that explores human frailty, possibility, terror, and the triumph of the human spirit,” said Carter, creator of The After. “I’m so excited to be telling this story with Amazon in this new frontier of television.”

Producer Gabe Rotter has been Carter’s assistant since 2001, throughout season 9 of The X-Files and I Want To Believe. On November 1 he posted the following: “Wrapped this morning after a long, arduous, AWESOME 15 day shoot all over LA. Exhausted, relieved, and super excited.” (information from the X-Files Lexicon‘s Matt)

The announcement above adds 4 more actors to the ensemble cast of 9: Sharon Lawrence, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Jaina Lee Ortiz.

And thanks to IMDB we even have character names to go with that:

  • Kebbel as Tammy
  • Pasdar as Wade
  • Hodge as D. Love
  • Lawrence as Francis
  • Howard as McCormick
  • Monot as Gigi Generau
  • Ortiz as Marly
  • Littlefield as Dark Shadow
  • Oddly, Kennedy is not mentioned although he is in Amazon’s announcement: IMDB does not have the info yet, or perhaps his role is uncredited and his character will grow in importance in later episodes?…

Other characters complete the cast: Gangster #1-4, Fireman, Fireman Night, Garciela, Gang Leader.

IMDB also provides some crew — the most important of which might be the director of photography (Nelson Cragg, who has worked on Howard Gordon’s Homeland) and the production designer (Tony Fanning, who has worked as art director in some Spielberg films).

More info on the context of Amazon Studios from Variety:

As with Amazon Studios’ previous pilots, anyone on the Internet will be able to watch the pilots and provide feedback that the company will use to determine which pilots to produce as series. The dramas are scheduled to stream exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LoveFilm in the U.K. in early 2014.

In November, Amazon is expected to premiere its first original series, both half-hour comedies.

“We are very excited to be working with creators like Michael Connelly and Chris Carter, both epic storytellers in their own right,” Roy Price, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “For the first time we are bringing Amazon customers hour-long programming and we can’t wait to hear what they think of these new stories.”

Amazon’s original productions and exclusive content are available to members of Prime, which provides free two-day shipping on select items for $79 per year as well as Prime Instant Video and other perks. The company had nearly 11 million Prime members at the end of the second quarter of 2013, analyst firm Morningstar estimates; Amazon does not disclose figures for Prime but said it added “millions” of new members in the third quarter.

And that’s where The After stands!

The usual process is for a pilot to be shot, which sets the general aesthetic and stroy threads. The studio then evaluates whether it wants to move forward with a half-season or full season episode order — in the case of Amazon and The After, using viewers input from the pilot as well. The pilot for The After was shot in the second half of October 2013, it now has to go through post-production and air in early 2014 (February?).

The show proper starts production and broadcast some time after that. So if all goes well, we will get to see The After sometime in late 2014. Amazon is an online platform, so it doesn’t have to align to the usual schedule for a TV season, i.e. start of broadcast in the fall and end of broadcast in late spring, The After could start any time in the year.

Although it’s way too early to form an opinion, and although the information that has filtered out might be misleading or too partial, from that short synopsis it’s true that The After sounds a lot like another run-of-the-mill big concept show the likes of which there have been many lately — and few of them have survived beyond their first season. For example, The Event (2010, 1 season, supernatural events and conspiracies involving extraterrestrials), FlashForward (2009, 1 season, people unexplainedly have a vision of their lives 6 months in the future), Revolution (2012, 2 seasons and ongoing, post-apocalyptic survival after a world blackout), Falling Skies (2011, 3 seasons and ongoing, post-apocalyptic survival after an alien invasion)… Most of those are broadcast on networks, not cable, and really feel like they were purposefully created to replicate Lost, a show that was both popular and addictive, using elements of Survivor and of the supernatural or science fiction or horror. Lost also used a premise of various unrelated characters who are thrown together and try to survive, like The After. It’s possible that Carter’s ideas are far away from all these concept shows, and we won’t know until more information is released.

Despite all that, it’s exciting to see Carter working on something new — his particular sensibilities that can be seen across all Ten Thirteen productions are unique and would enrich enormously today’s television.

Chris Carter’s shows: Untitled AMC show

Chris Carter is coming out of “post-XF retirement” — which I’m sure was very enriching for him personally! — not with just one but two projects for television: The After and a second, yet untitled, show. See here for The After.

The existence of a second show separate from The After was revealed on August 23 2013 in an interview by Vulture (full interview posted on August 27):

Does that affect what projects you want to work on in the future?
Yeah, I’m involved right now with AMC and I’m also involved with Amazon [Studios], and these are, for me, new platforms and new approaches and they have different expectations. With Amazon, it’s completely uncharted territory, which is really exciting.

You always like to do more than one series at a time. What’s going on with AMC?
They approached me with an idea that I really, really liked. It was actually a book. They wanted to know my take on it. At first, I turned them down; I said I didn’t have a take. Then they came back to me again with the book and asked if I would read it again. So I read it again and I did have a take on it. It also owes to The X-Files, and I’ve written a draft and I’m writing a second draft.

And is it a book that people might recognize?
[Long pause.] I’m not going to spoil it.

What current events would you mine to turn into an X-file?
Actually, with the AMC project, I think that I am treading on some of this interesting ground that Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange have uncovered for us.

You said once that you created the show to tap into people’s vulnerabilities and what keeps them up at night. Twenty years later, is anything keeping you up at night?
Um … yeah. [Laughs.] I have to say, I’ve become very interested in the spectrum of political discourse as seen on the cable news channels that are conveniently right in a row on my cable provider’s dial. I can flip from Fox to CNN to HLN to MSNBC, and I find myself at night flipping it back and forth through them and it’s something of an addiction. Not necessarily for the content, but for the context. [Pause.] And I’m writing about it.

And so your AMC show might touch on that as well, à la Newsroom?
There will be some of that.

You said you’re rewriting a draft now. Is this something that might be happening in the next year, two years, season?
I don’t know. It’s up to the Fates. I will be done with a draft shortly, so I will know more shortly.

…and that’s essentially all the information there is!

This is still a project very much in its initial brainstorming phases, much less mature than The After, which is developed enough to go on production. This show first has to go through many draft phases and discussions between AMC and Carter before AMC decides to go through with it (or not) and order a pilot to be shot — and then it might not necessarily go through all the way to series. So this is potentially something that might not reach your TV/laptop/device before late 2014 at best, 2015 more likely.

As reported previously, around the San Diego Comic Con in July 2013, Carter mentioned he was working on cable projects. The following quotes might refer to The After, or they might refer to this other project:

On story ideas they never got to do on the X-Files: “I’m actually saving those for something else I’m working on right now”

On what’s next: “I’m working on something new, and with any luck it could be announced soon.”

And: “Right now I’m close to coming back to television but it’s to cable television. The scripts I’ve written for it, you could not do on network television.”

In terms of subject, this is a much more reality-based project than The After —  it’s even the most down-to-earth project Carter has been involved with! The obvious association with his past work is the governmental conspiracy angle, although much closer to the conventional, agencies secrets and information manipulation, aspects rather than the New World Order conspiracies that are more allegorical storytelling devices than things he might genuinely believe in. We are also reminded of The World On Fire, the 2000 project with JM Straczynski (Babylon 5) that would have started from a very real political situation before deviating into war after an attack on New York City — and so failed to become a series because September 11 2001 happened.

The Thinker, "your friendly neighborhood anarchist" (from 2X25: Anasazi)

Richard Stallman and Julian Assange, holding a photo of Edward Snowden

Richard Stallman and Julian Assange, holding a photo of Edward Snowden

So: Wikileaks. NSA surveillance of civilians. Cover-ups of unethical military-sanctioned acts. Mass media. News outlets servicing one or other side of an argument. Hacktivism.

These are highly topical (XF Season 10 writer Joe Harris also mentioned them as sources of inspiration), and hotly debated issues. Things can get very political very quickly. It will be interesting to see what kind of approach Carter will take. Regardless, this kind of pitch is not something we would expect from a network channel, it is much more adapted to cable or independent productions.

Indeed, in recent interviews, Carter has mentioned how much more interesting he finds the development of scripted drama for cable in recent years compared to what has been going on in network television (a revelation that has dawned on him since he had time to catch up with shows other than his own since the X-Files stopped?). For example, in this 2012 interview:

What’s changed in the industry and writing/production process since you launched “The X-Files”?

There are more and different places to pitch and to develop, and I think you’re looking at the obvious eclipse of broadcast television by cable in terms of content. Things that you can’t do on broadcast now that you can do on cable, which is making it feel like a superior product.

It’s not more popular, but you’re watching viewership go up on cable so that now cable is actually starting to give broadcast a run for its money. […] You’re looking at a change, and that’s an exciting thing, but what it says to me is there are also opportunities to do inventive things on broadcast television and still get a large audience.

Was that what inspired you to write a cable show?

I love the idea — as do a lot of people who have done broadcast shows, where you’re doing 22 episodes a season — of doing six, eight, or 10-13 [episodes]. That is very appealing to me, and it actually allows you to attract a different kind of actor because they aren’t doing it 10 months a year, they’re doing it three months a year. That’s a benefit, too.

And more recently:

As The X-Files was nearing its end, a lot of shows were digging into darker story lines and profiling antiheroes. One example is obviously The Sopranos. Did you anticipate this shift?
It’s funny, I was a big fan of The Sopranos. It became kind of a threat to The X-Files in a way because they could play with language, character, and story in ways that we never could because of the limitations of network television. Not to say we would ever deal with [those topics], they were two different kinds of shows, but it was a freedom that they had that I think made us, certainly made me feel [30-second pause] … it made me feel … [30-second pause] … it made me jealous.

This shows that he is much more interested today to write for cable than for a network, and in a format more compact than the tiring and plethoric schedule imposed by a network TV schedule: around 10-13 episodes per year instead of 20-25, around 4 months of shooting instead of around 9.

The choice (was it Carter’s choice?) of AMC is also interesting. AMC started doing original dramas only relatively recently, and made a name of itself with two huge successes: Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The first is wrapping up in 2014-2015 (one season split in two), the second just finished (and gloriously at that!). AMC might be looking for replacement shows, and might see in Carter’s project a more heady, critical acclaim-oriented show as a counterpoint to its popular success of The Walking Dead. Also, obviously XF alumni Vince Gilligan was involved with AMC with Breaking Bad, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything as far as Carter is concerned.

Let’s hope this germ of a show develops and that we’ll hear more of it in the future!