Television Critics Association, Pasadena, CA, conference
[typed by Mr Mike]
GAIL BERMAN (President, Fox Entertainment): Hi, we’re back. This introduction is an easy one since I’m sure everybody in this room knows Chris Carter and a little show called “The X-Files.” As you know, last season, the show kept a very low profile. It stayed out of the press and steered clear of any controversy. NOT!
When we last left them, Mulder boarded a spaceship and Scully revealed the news that she’s pregnant. Chris and the show’s writing staff left all of their fans on the edge of their seats this summer, setting the Internet ablaze with buzz. And I know that I cannot wait to see where this next season goes when there is a new man in Scully’s life.
First, let’s take a look at a clip from the season finale.
[CLIP SHOWN: “THE X-FILES” SEASON FINALE]
BERMAN: Wow. [gives housekeeping announcement about hotel heating] Now, please help me welcome the man who has all the answers: executive producer and creator Chris Carter. [applause]
If I may join the ranks of the press for one brief question, may I start?
BERMAN: Oh, come on, give me one. Hey, Chris?
CHRIS CARTER: Yes?
BERMAN: Who is the baby’s father?
CARTER: I am. [laughter]
BERMAN: Thank you.
CARTER: I’m his father and its mother. Thanks.
QUESTION: Hi, Chris.
QUESTION: So now that Skinner has seen the spaceship and he’s really got to believe, where are you going to take his character this year?
CARTER: It’s interesting. Everything is kind of changing. Agent Scully, who has always been the skeptic over seven years, of course, has seen enough that it has eroded her skepticism. And now that Agent Mulder has been abducted, as reported by Skinner, the only way to find him is to accept what Skinner is saying. So the two of them become believers, although reluctant believers. And that’s really the way we make room for this new character to come in, who is – his name is Special Agent John Doggett – two “Gs,” two “Ts.” And he comes in on the manhunt, the search for Agent Mulder.
QUESTION: No, but any relation to him?
CARTER: You said that, not me.
QUESTION: And one more question: how – what – the process that Robert Patrick won out over everybody? I know Bruce Campbell and a bunch of the other actors were up for it.
CARTER: Right. No, it’s hard. I mean, we saw terrific actors for the parts. We had written the part and conceived of a part that was very much an insider at the FBI. He’s part of the fraternity. Mulder had always been an outsider, the consummate outsider. We wanted somebody who was blue-collar, former cop, a man’s man. And Robert Patrick came in and blew us away.
I had known him – he had done so much good work, and then he had actually come in a couple years ago to read for something else, and he wasn’t quite right for that part, but I knew I wanted to work with him. So I told him last night when I called him, I said that this is fate because what I wanted to do then I’m getting to do now.
QUESTION: I’m wondering. Did I miss something? Scully has been having sex? [laughter] With whom? I mean – I mean, just the potential that she was having sex.
CARTER: Yes. [laughter] Yes, there is a potential she was having sex. [laughter] We’re going to play with that storyline this year actually and find out what exactly happened. We hinted at some sort of a relationship in the episode, “All Things,” which was actually Gillian’s written and directed episode. So there was a nod to a possibility. And we’re going to play with that some more.
QUESTION: Chris, there’s a perception that the decision to go on with the show is based more on business reasons than artistic reasons. Would you respond to that?
CARTER: FOX had asked me very late in the season last year to do the show, and I said to them, I really just do not want to do this just as a matter of commerce. I wanted it to be a good show. I wanted it to be special. I want this to be a great season of “The X-Files.” I want the event of Mulder’s disappearance to be an important event. I want the possibility that the show could go on. I wanted it to go on for all the right reasons.
And there were business considerations because there was a lawsuit. There were business considerations because there always are business considerations when people don’t have contracts. So the reason the show is still on the air is that there were people that wanted to do it and still felt they could make it good. And that’s really the reason.
QUESTION: Chris, has it been defined yet exactly how many Duchovny will be in? And secondarily, how is the relationship between the two of you as a result over the financial situation?
CARTER: We had lunch twice in the last week and a half, so I think that while we weren’t able to speak a lot last year because of the lawsuit, there has been, I think, a lot of repair of something that was damaged.
I think that – I’m not sure what else…
QUESTION: Well, how many will Duchovny be in this year? And when?
CARTER: I am told that he will be in 11 of 20 episodes. And as I understand it, he is going to be in – six of those will be complete episodes.
QUESTION: Chris, David’s denial last year that he definitely would not be back was even stronger than your denial that you wouldn’t be back.
QUESTION: What do you think it was that convinced him to change his mind? Did you know he’d be back when you wrote that odd season finale? And how does this affect the movies?
CARTER: It was interesting. I had to write the season finale, truly, honestly, not knowing whether or not we’d be back next year. So I had to write a sort of all-purpose season finale. And it was difficult, but it was a wonderful exercise, too. And it actually has set us up for a very interesting way to approach season eight. Then entry of a new character, new blood, a new dramatic balance, is actually going to be a really fim thing to play.
But I think the show probably could have ended there. And I still would like to do movies past the TV series.
QUESTION: Chris, how do you maintain, say, the willing suspension of disbelief in a situation like this, when everybody in the audience knows that the reason that these are being written as they are, is because David Duchovny wanted out? He’s only in a certain number of episodes, and that kind of thing. You know, they can see the wheels turning behind the stage, as it were.
CARTER: That’s not really the case. I have to deal with what I have to deal with. The truth is, I have to deal with Gillian – this year, she needs to be with her daughter a certain amount of time. So, as a producer, you’re always dealing with certain restrictions and disadvantages, and that’s really what this is.
It’s not that we’re constructing the show for David, and for David’s disappearance. I could have used him more and I could have used him less, to be honest. So, really, I’ve got to make it interesting for the audience and for myself, and then ultimately, make it interesting for the actors.
It’s really a creative exercise, in any event.
QUESTION: Chris, I was wondering – what’s the likelihood of continuing the series past this year – this season?
CARTER: Well, I don’t have a contract, so I’m right back where I started. I think that there’s a terrific opportunity to do it, particularly now that Robert Patrick is aboard. It’s really just figuring out how to tell the stories, and who to tell the stories with. Neither David nor Gillian have contracts past this year. It really becomes a contractual thing, and I wish it weren’t that way, but that’s the way the business works.
It really depends on us doing good shows this year, making that character interesting, introducing new characters, and whether it goes on with David and Gillian, Robert, or whomever, I really only want the show to go on if it’s going to be good.
QUESTION: And as a follow up, I was wondering how badly did your relationship with David deteriorate during the period when you weren’t speaking, and saying things about each other in the press, perhaps.
CARTER: Well, I only know what I read in the press, and that’s that he said it was – “our friendship was damaged.” I still am yet to understand, truly, what it is I was accused of doing, and have it articulated to me in any kind of understandable way.
So, it’s still – there’s still a little bit of a mystery to me, but lawsuits are mysterious, and I’m happy just to move on and try to do the good work that we’ve done together.
QUESTION: Chris, two questions. One – for a lot of people, the core of “The X-Files” has always been the relationship between Scully and Mulder. How do you keep it rolling along when one of those two people simply isn’t there for large chunks of time?
CARTER: It’s – well, I mean, you’re going to have to watch and see what we do, but I actually – I think that we’ve come up with a very good way – a good solution for that. And, you know, everyone’s afraid of change. Everyone says, “That’s what made the show work, and that’s what’s great about the show.”
That’s true. I think, really, Mulder and Scully are the reason – David and Gillian are the reason – for the show’s great success. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t threaten the paradigm, you can’t threaten the model, you can’t threaten the relationship.
In fact, I think, dramatically, you better do that every once in a while, or else you’re going to have a very stale show, particularly when you have two characters who, for seven years, have – you know, they kissed last New Year’s Eve – they kissed on the you know, a smooch at the strike of twelve. I think that’s pretty good for two characters who have had tremendous sexual chemistry and tension.
QUESTION: Chris, can you give me –
QUESTION: [overlapping] Chris, can I – I’m sorry. Can I get in one last question?
QUESTION: Have you started writing the script for the next movie?
CARTER: Yes. For the next movie?
QUESTION: Chris, could you tell me how different is the Lone Gunmen series going to be from “The X-Files.” And are the Lone Gunmen going to appear this season?
CARTER: Yeah. Hey, do you mind if we ask the Lone Gunmen questions after “The X-Files” questions?
QUESTION: Okay, I have a “X-Files” question.
CARTER: All right.
QUESTION: Is David going to appear in the season finale, and if not, can you give us some idea of when he will be making an appearance – how far into the season?
CARTER: He’ll be in the season opener – I can tell you that. And the season opener is a two-part episode, and beyond that, I’m not going to tell you, and I really can’t tell you because we’re still kind of figuring it out.
QUESTION: Can you tell us more about Agent Doggett? I mean, does Agent Doggett now, by default become the skeptic? Tell me more about him.
CARTER: Yeah, he is – he come at it [sic]. He’s really like – unlike Scully, who was a really had science and an argument – he comes at it as a kind of knee-jerk skeptic. He’s a person who is doubting by nature, and he really is one of these people who needs to see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, feel it, in order to believe it, and that’s going to be the character.
As simple as that sounds, hopefully we can make him a nice, complex character.
QUESTION: What’s some of his backstory?
CARTER: He was a former New York City police detective, and he was in the U.S. Marine Corps, and that’s where we’re working from.
QUESTION: Sense of humor?
CARTER: Everyone on “The X-Files” has to have a sense of humor.
QUESTION: Chris, will Gillian be in all 20 episodes this year, first of all, because you said there were some time constraints on her?
QUESTION: And second of all, is one of the real challenges you’ve set for yourself, even though you’ve said that Doggett’s a different kind of skeptic from Scully, that Scully’s going to end up sounding like Mulder, and Doggett’s going to end up sounding like Scully?
CARTER: No. I’ve already written two episodes, and it feels right. And of course, this was a giant consideration. You don’t want to, all of the sudden, make – have characters who are untrue to themselves, and who start sounding like, you know – if Scully starts sounding like Mulder, I think the show is going to be bad.
She’s a reluctant believer. She is a person who is a scientist first, and a believer second. This new character is a cop, and he believes, coming in, that everything can be solved if you just employ very good cop/police technique.
QUESTION: [unmiked/inaudible] Will Gillian be in all 20?
CARTER: Gillian will probably be in all 20, in varying degrees.
QUESTION: Chris, after the finale, we found out that Scully was pregnant. I got an avalanche of mail from “X-Files” fans, about half of whom think that there is some possibility that Mulder and Scully got together in that “All Things” episodes. And the other half who say, “No way. Chris wouldn’t cheat us that way. He wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t have them consummate the relationship off screen.” Would you cheat them that way? [laughter]
CARTER: It’s a primetime television show. [laughter] You can’t consummate –
QUESTION: But at least show that they’ve gotten together. Would you do that off screen?
CARTER: What happens is that it makes it a lot more […] to now go back and find out what really happened. And so, I think if anyone feels cheated, they will get their prurient interest satisfied. [laughter]
QUESTION: Chris, three quick questions. Just to clarify, you said you do not have a contract, or you do not have a contract beyond this year?
CARTER: My “X-Files” contract is through the eighth season. So – and I don’t want it to sound like I’m negotiating in the press, or I’m going to lay down any limits or restrictions or rules, but that’s the case. So, if I speak about a ninth year, it’s really about “The X-Files” and not about me.
QUESTION: Okay. And what’s the split – what split do you envision in this coming season, between mythology episodes and non-mythology episodes?
CARTER: It’s a good question, and I don’t have it really worked out yet, but I think that it will be a pretty typical “X-Files” ratio, which would be, I’d say, six or seven to twenty.
QUESTION: Okay. And finally, I’m a little surprised to hear what you’ve said about the next feature film because I thought, from previous things you had said, that it was actually pretty far developed, at least in your mind. If there wasn’t a script, that is what not going to be mythology, it was just going to be a real hardcore, spooky “X-Files” movie. And so I’m surprised to hear that it seems to be off the drawing board.
CARTER: Oh, it’s not at all. I mean, it’s really just a matter of time and timing. I really have to find the time to do it, and then find the right timing because we don’t know where the series is.
I would really – I’m not looking forward to doing another movie during the series, certainly with Mulder and Scully in the show. That was very hard to do, and sometimes I still can’t believe that we did it. It was – just the physical production and also continuing back with the TV series.
QUESTION: Chris, are you a big believer in, eventually, final resolutions, or are you more like David Lynch, where the whole idea of a final resolution is sort of anathema to the way he thinks? In your mind, will there, at long last, ever be a real end to “The X-Files,” where everything is wrapped up, whether it’s in a movie, or on the FOX series?
CARTER: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I’ve never thought about it in those terms because when the movie was a success, all of the sudden, it seemed like the television series could become a movie series.
And, you know, it really comes down to how long it’s good, and if it ever feels like it’s running out of steam, or people don’t want to see it, or no one wants to do it, I think that’s the time to pack it in. But it would be nice to come to some sort of conclusion, but my fear is, as with the show, is that when you have a show about the unexplained unexplainable, and the unknown – to actually try to explain any of that is kind of ridiculous.
QUESTION: Do you feel in any way you sort of owe it people – there are some people who still live and die by this series and every nuance.
CARTER: I’m knocking wood right now.
QUESTION: Chris –
QUESTION: I mean, is there any debt to them, in your mind, that you almost, in good conscience, have to have to wrap it up?
CARTER: There’s certain things, like with Mulder’s sister, that I think needed to be wrapped, and we did wrap up, although we can still investigate that, to an extent, and we do, actually, next season, to some degree.
So, I think that you need to reward audience expectation in that way. You can’t leave people hanging. I would never want to leave people irritated that, if they’ve taken the journey, that there wasn’t some satisfaction at the end.
But “The X-Files” always leaves as many questions as answers, so I think that’s probably what I would say we would end up with.
QUESTION: Chris, speaking of feeling cheated, if Scully has this baby, and the father is not Mulder, how is Mulder going to feel about that?
CARTER: Cheated. [laughter]
QUESTION: Yeah – how he’s going to react?
CARTER: Well, I mean, he’s got no claim to her, truly. I mean, you know, I don’t know. It’d be an interesting thing to explore.
QUESTION: We waited seven years for a kiss. [laughter]
QUESTION: Chris, in the past, you’ve given us these – inside story on how the two characters were named “Mulder” and “Scully.” How did you come up with the name “Doggett”?
CARTER: The name “Scully” is actually an homage to Vin Scully. And I thought long and hard about what I wanted to name this new character, and I had lots of interesting names, and I really go back to my childhood for a lot of my names. I’ve had a lot of high school friends call me and thank me for making them dead people on “The X-Files.” So, I actually went back and I thought about people I’d grown up with and ones that I’d liked, and people that I admired and people I wondered about where they are today.
And then all of the sudden it dawned on me that I was looking for a good, solid, working-class name, and one that fit, and the name “Doggett” came to me because every evening, for a great part of the year, I would listen to the Dodgers with my mom, and Jerry Doggett was always Vin Scully’s co-host on the Dodgers, and the name came to me, and at first, I thought it might be too cute and clever, but I liked the name. I think it fits, and now we have it.
QUESTION: Chris, since it was part of David Duchovny – or actually, it was largely fueled by David Duchovny, as I heard it, to bring the show back to Los Angeles, now that he’s kind of a – I hesitate to say part-time player – but, not figuring in as mightily as he did, where is your production going to be headquartered this coming season?
CARTER: We’re in Los Angeles this year as we have been the last two years. So this is our third year back in Los Angeles. David is a regular. He is just – even when he’s there, he’s going to be – not there, he’s going to be an absent presence and an absent center. And so, his involvement in the show, even though it is in an abbreviated fashion, is going to be very important.
QUESTION: Was there any consideration at all about going back to Vancouver?
CARTER: Never for me.
QUESTION: Chris, are there any characters that you regretted killing off this year? And is the cigarette-smoking man really dead?
CARTER: Well, of course, I’m not going to tell – like with Scully’s baby and the cigarette-smoking man – these are the things I want to play with next year, so I’m going to keep them a secret. You know, I always regret having to kill characters off because it makes for a very uncomfortable phone call for me to the actors. But, no. It’s part of a series. You have to have characters. If everybody lives, there is no threat to any character at any time.
QUESTION: Chris, would you talk a little bit more about Robert Patrick? What made him right for the role? What did you see in him that you thought he could pull in this? And, also, are we going to see more of Skinner this year? Even in the press thing, it notes “Also starting” which makes it sound like an expanded role.
CARTER: Yeah. I hope to have more Skinner on the show. I plan to. I intend to. Robert Patrick just embodied this character. He has got a great – everything from the timbre of his voice to his presence to his intensity. I just saw him as – because he’s going to be on screen with Scully a lot, I saw them as worthy adversaries and worthy partners.
He was not going to be a person that would shrink because she’s a very powerful person and actor – shrink from her. He would be able to stand up to her both as an actor and as a character. And I just thought he really filled the bill for me in that way.
QUESTION: And did Gillian have any say? Did she audition with him and that was part of it?
CARTER: No, but I kept her in the loop every step of the way. We talked a number of times about people that she wanted to work with, people that she would work with, the character, how it was going to work. I was very considerate, I think, of giving her the best possible co-player.
QUESTION: Chris, is it your intention to have Scully deliver this season, probably in a sweeps period? [laughter] I mean, can we expect she’ll have the baby this season or do you know yet?
CARTER: Let me see. I haven’t thought about it yet.
CARTER: [overlapping] So, maybe not.
QUESTION: Chris, actually, can I ask a more fundamental question? This being “The X-Files,” can we really assume that Scully is pregnant? [laughter]
CARTER: Wait. I would never assume anything on “The X-Files” and anything can happen. But I’ll tell you. I think that would be a big cheat if it was a false-positive or a phony pregnancy, certainly after all this time. It would be like bringing back a dead character.
QUESTION: Chris, a couple of basic things. What’s Doggett’s first name and how do you spell Doggett?
CARTER: Doggett is D-O-G-G-E-T-T. First name John with an “h.”
QUESTION: Okay. And those of us who aren’t familiar with Robert Patrick’s work at all – give us an example of a movie he did or that was really good – something that impressed you.
CARTER: He’s been in so many things. He actually just did a little arc in “The Sopranos” which was completely unlike the character he’s playing for us, which showed me a tremendous amount of range on his part. He was best known, I think – or first known – his face – in “T2.” He was the Terminator. He had a great part on “Copland.” This is where I really saw another side of him that was very exciting to me when I saw that movie.
He played one of the bad cops. There have just been a number of things that he’s done that I thought showed his ability. There’s a coincidence here too. His brother, being the lead singer of the band, Filter, has actually done two songs for “The X-Files” for two different soundtracks. So there’s a familial connection as well, which is interesting.
QUESTION: Hey Chris, just a quick question. So are we to understand that Doggett like got fired or is like sick of New York or something? And then he comes to work on the X-files?
CARTER: He is an FBI agent and he was a cop and that’s actually not atypical for FBI agents. He is not assigned to the X-files to begin with. He is not Scully’s partner to begin with. There is a gradual, hopefully, realistic integration of the character into this series.
QUESTION: So Scully is still going to be working within the whole boundaries and…
CARTER: [overlapping] Within the structure of the FBI, yes.
QUESTION: And he’s not going to take Mulder’s office is he?
CARTER: No, he’s not taking Mulder’s office.
QUESTION: Chris, I wondered, were you satisfied with this past season? How do you think it stacked up to previous seasons?
CARTER: I thought it had some real highlights and bright spots. There are some episodes that I think weren’t as good as some of the others. I think the standard was kept pretty high. I think we tried some new things. The “COPS” – “X-COPS” was a really inventive, I think, episode. FOX loved it because it cost them a million dollars less than every other episode that we did. [laughter] I think, as a season, it stacked up to the other seasons, to be honest.
QUESTION: Chris, a lot of sci-fi shows are coming up, particularly on FOX. Do you get the sense that people are kind of lining up to be the next “X-Files” and how do you react to that?
CARTER: What shows in particular?
QUESTION: Well, just about every new drama on FOX. [laughter]
CARTER: You mean in popularity?
QUESTION: Well, in terms of giving the shot. I think there might be a sense that there’s room for more sci-fi and, if “The X-Files” – this is the last season. Hey, we want to be the next “X-Files.”
CARTER: You know, with reality programming, there’s hardly room for anything on TV. I don’t know. I mean, “The X-Files” is such a miracle that everything worked. There’s just a million ways to fail in television. And when you have something like this that hits, I know how lucky I am that I had the Gods in my favor.
Everybody can be lined up. But you’d better make really good choices and hire really good people every step of the way or else there’s a good chance that you’ll fail. So it’s really hard to comment on that. A lot of people would like to be popular and successful. But it’s mostly hard work, but it’s a lot of luck too.
QUESTION: Chris, you did say that you anticipate six or seven anthology episodes this season…
QUESTION: Mythology. I’m sorry. Of course. So if Duchovny’s in 11, there are going to be some that he’s in unrelated to mythology.
CARTER: Yes, but you’ll see how that works. Hopefully, you’ll think it’s very clever of us.
QUESTION: Okay. And can we expect to see Krycek and Covarrubias?
CARTER: I would expect to see them.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Chris, do your story needs or your time considerations allow you to take the show on any distant locations away from Los Angeles this year?
CARTER: Actually, our first location is away from Los Angeles. It isn’t too far away. We’re going into the desert. There are a lot of resources here, right in this area, that I think we can use and do another season. But, you know, as you run into season eight, you do start looking for other things to shoot – other places to base an episode. I know we have scouted this year something we’ve never scouted before but talked about. We scouted an offshore oil iig and talked about building an episode around that. It’s really just a matter of cost and logistical reality.
QUESTION: Is that the one by Santa Barbara?
CARTER: Yeah, right off the Coast of Summerland there.
QUESTION: Chris, do think that Frank Black will resurface?
QUESTION: [overlapping] What desert are you going to?
CARTER: I’m sorry. One second.
QUESTION: What desert are you going to?
CARTER: Right now, I believe we’re going to the Anza Borrego Desert.
QUESTION: Chris, do you think Frank Black will resurface in another episode? And were you pleased with the way he worked into the one that he did?
CARTER: Yeah, well of course, I love Lance and I love the character Frank Black, and I would love to figure out a way to work with him again as that character. I don’t know if he’ll come back this year but it’s something that I would like to explore. I mean, actually, “Millennium,” which was not as beloved as “X-Files,” would make a great movie.
QUESTION: Chris, to play devil’s advocate, I was just wondering – given all that Scully’s been through, wouldn’t it make a certain kind of sense for her to really believe in a lot of this? And does it seem kind of weird that she’s still resisting believing, given all that she’s been through and all that she’s seen?
CARTER: Yeah, that was always the trick. But, as I say, she’s a scientist. In her heart, she’s a scientist and she has to come at things scientifically as any smart person would do in this case. Even Mulder was, at least, considerate – or considered science when making his giant leaps. So I see what you’re saying, but I think that it makes the character interesting. She’s torn. And she’s always been torn.
The great thing about Scully was that she wears a cross around her neck. She has a religious bent. She has beliefs and those beliefs were always in conflict with her science anyway. So she has been a character who has been tom both in her belief and in her personal approach in life.
QUESTION: Chris, speaking of that “Millennium” episode, when you had to wrap up the show in just an hour of “X-Files,” did that force you to change your original plans? Or was the Millennium group’s big scheme always involving a guy in a basement with a bunch of zombies? [laughter]
CARTER: That story came about as a result of wanting to put Lance and Frank Black on the show. But I still think there are places to go with that idea. You know, whether or not I’ll ever get to do it is another story.
QUESTION: Will David be writing or directing any episodes this season?
CARTER: He’s actually – he ran a couple of story ideas past me, but he hasn’t figured out how to do one without Mulder in it yet. So I think when he comes to me with a story like that, I wouldn’t rule out anything.
QUESTION: Are there any new marketing plans for – it seems like, at one time, the market was just flooded, especially when the movie came out, with “X-Files” merchandise. And I know you’re very protective of what’s done there. Has there been any discussion of any new markets or any new products that anybody’s approached you about lately?
CARTER: No. I mean, it’s always a matter of just what’s – just putting the stuff out there and making sure that it’s very good quality. And I think, with the movie, the gates were opened and a lot of stuff got out there that I had never anticipated putting out there. I still think that less is more and that smaller is better.
And, luckily, that way you don’t see stuff in the bargain basement bins and stuff. That would be my biggest disappointment is if I ever saw stuff out there that no one really wanted. So I think that if we do anything, that will be certainly a consideration of ours.
QUESTION: Chris, could you talk a little bit about the actors who have become kind of accidental stars? Was Mitch Pileggi originally thought to be just going to be in for a second and the guys, who were the Lone Gunmen – they were like guys you just cast in Vancouver for small roles? Just talk about them for a minute.
CARTER: It’s all a happy accident. You know, you find these actors and you like to write for them and you find them interesting to watch and, all of a sudden, everyone else does too. I mean, it’s wonderful. And with Mitch and with the Lone Gunmen, I think there could be a spin-off series with Mitch Pileggi if you wanted to do that. These have just become very important characters to the series and who have grown into their own. They’ve developed their own fan clubs. That’s always a good thing on a show.
QUESTION: Chris, is it okay for us to ask “Lone Gunmen” questions now?
CARTER: Yeah. [laughter]
QUESTION: What can you tell us about the spin-off?
CARTER: It’s going to be a mid-season replacement as I understand it. I’m told that it’s going to take “The X-Files” time slot in the spring. I’m very excited about that. We’ll take a little “X-Files” hiatus and it’s going to be a show that’s more comedic than it is dramatic. These guys are wonderful together. These three sort of nerds – techies. It’s kind of like “Mission Impossible” on laughing gas. It is a light touch and approach and I think that we’re doing some things we would never have done on “The X-Files” and that’s an exciting thing.
QUESTION: Now Chris, are the Lone Gunmen going to be on “The X-Files”? And are any of “The X-Files” actors going to appear on “The Lone Gunmen”?
CARTER: I hope that there’s going to be a crossover? And the Lone Gunmen are definitely going to be back on “The X-Files” because they’re going to be in the first episode, which I have just written. And they’re in the second episode as well. So they will be still a part of “The X-Files.” I don’t know yet what the crossover possibilities are into “The Lone Gunmen.” It’ll all be contractual and our abilities are going to be hampered or helped by people’s willingness to go to Vancouver which is where that show will be shot. Actually, the three actors are Canadian.
QUESTION: How many episodes have been filmed – are they planning to film in the beginning? Thirteen?
CARTER: There’s one episode filmed – the pilot. And then, we’re going to do 12 past that.
QUESTION: To go back to “The X-Files” quickly, Doggett and Scully will become partners. And where does that leave Mulder when he’s back on the show?
CARTER: They are not partners. He is being integrated into the show in a way that he is, in fact, not partnered with her. So when Mulder comes back to the show, it will be – that will be the interesting dynamic. How does it work? How does it work between them? I don’t know necessarily that it’ll be competitive. In fact, it might be a symbiotic relationship. These are things we have to explore and, certainly, we look forward to exploring Scully and Doggett through the first half of the season.
QUESTION: What do you think the ramifications from last season – the controversy with David and the lack of Emmy nods means for this season? I mean, are you approaching it with a little bit of, you know, fear or-
CARTER: No, I have no fear. All it makes me want to do is work harder. You know, I’m very competitive. I think one of the reasons this show has been as good as its been for seven years is that there’s a competitive environment on the show. We want to win, we want to impress people, we want to keep the show good, we want to prove to ourselves that we are not resting – we don’t want to rest on our laurels — we want to prove to ourselves that we can still, after 161 episodes, we can continue to be imaginative. It’s a real challenge. But I think that’s the challenge past the challenge and we’re continuing to take it.
QUESTION: Yeah, I think a lot of fans are worried that the show is going to kind of go out with a whimper, you know?
CARTER: I don’t want that to happen. I would not have come back this year if I felt that was going to happen. And I thought long and hard about how the character dynamic would be, what would be a nice addition to the show, how we could in fact reenergize the show in a way that made it interesting for everyone, including the audience. And I think Robert Patrick is going to be a hit. I think he is going to strike a chord. And I certainly think the relationship that these two characters are going to have is going to be – make the Mulder and Scully relationship even more interesting.
QUESTION: Chris, can we clarify something here, because everything we have received from the network in terms of a schedule has “The Lone Gunman” as a mid-season series on Thursday nights. You seem to be saying something different.
CARTER: I don’t know exactly what night it’ll be on, but I hope that there is a change that it will be in that “X-Files” timeslot, certainly for its premiere.
QUESTION: And what would the timing of that be? Because at one time there was every indication it was going to be January or –
CARTER: My impression, and this is far in the future, is that it will be late February, early March.
QUESTION: Chris, can you tell me is smoking man finally dead? [laughter]
CARTER: You know, I’m going to not tell you because I want to give the audience something later on this year.
QUESTION: So we will see William B. Davis again?
CARTER: Dead or alive.
QUESTION: Just one question right here. Am I getting this right, there is only one alien presence, right? That is the same ship that was in the movie?
CARTER: The ship that you just saw in the-
QUESTION: Yeah, I mean there’s only one – there’s not like tons of aliens that’s coming up sucking up people.
CARTER: Well, it’s not a one-horse town, I mean, they do have other ships. [laughter]
QUESTION: One alien town.
QUESTION: But I mean, it just seems weird that like – oh there’s one tribe. Is that what it is?
CARTER: Well you know, in the literature, if you will, there are different races of aliens, and so this is something we’re going to play with this year.
QUESTION: So then – because when the movie happened, it was like, okay, why would he get – okay, he rescued Scully, right? And it’s like, ooh, they’re bad, they’re trying to ruin us, whatever. And then – then you go – and then he gets sucked up and you’re in the season finale, like okay, now what the hell? I mean-
CARTER: This is the sports car and the other one was the Lincoln Continental.
QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
QUESTION: Chris, I’m a little curious about the timing of “The Lone Gunmen.” With the – a series where you have the characters, you have the concept, you have the people playing them, why is it coming on so late, especially given the holes that FOX has in its schedule?
CARTER: Because I felt that it would be too difficult for us to do “The X-Files” the way we’re doing it and launch another show for the fall. It was just too much work. I’ve done that. And it’s a tremendous amount of work and everything and everybody suffers. And I just wanted to do “The X-Files” right and I wanted to do “The Lone Gunmen” night.
QUESTION: Chris, I think the idea of “The Lone Gunmen” is a great one, but I’m wondering, just in terms of the mass audience, because who is the audience going to be for that show beyond “X-Files” fans? And how much of that do you have to take into account in creating this kind of a series?
CARTER: I mean, you’ve got to be very mindful of that because the idea is to get enough people to watch it to keep it on the air. So I think that there’s going to be something for everyone, not by design, but I think it’s going to be funny, I think it’s going to be smart, it’ll be touching, it’ll be winning in every way.
And it’s not just the Lone Gunmen, there are other characters as well. There’s a character named Yves Adele Harlow [sp], the woman you see in the pilot, who is going to play a big role in the show. There’s going to be a character you’ll see in the second episode who is a very masculine presence in their midst, and a sort of – a kind of Sam Malone sort of character.
There’s going to be – it is going to end up being a kind of ensemble cast but with these three characters at the very core and center of it.
QUESTION: In your mind is it a companion piece to “The X-Files”? Or is it like a “Harsh Realm” or a “Millennium,” its own animal?
CARTER: I think it’s a companion piece but it, tonally, is going to be more like the lighter-hearted “X-Files”?
QUESTION: Chris, since we’ve only seen the Lone Gunmen in their little lab with all their computers, are you going to maybe expand more into the personal lives of them outside of the bolted-door place?
CARTER: Yeah, in fact, in the pilot you actually learn a lot more about the Lone Gunmen than you’ve ever, ever known before. So – that’s the answer. I see people creeping on stage.
QUESTION: Chris, going back to your comments on limiting the merchandising. How has your theory on that limited the number of home video episodes of “The X-Files” being available to the public?
CARTER: I don’t think it’s limited it at all. I mean, the video – the choice to put the videos out is FOX’S, and FOX’s alone. And they put them out when they feel that it is right – the right time to put them out.
QUESTION: What consultation do they have with you as far as which of the episodes from each season that you would like to see on home video?
CARTER: I think we all sort of agree on – and I have – there’s actually a person who works with me here — Mary Astadourian, she’s here today – who is very much involved in that process, and they choose the best episodes to put out in any event, what are considered to be the best episodes.
QUESTION: So how many will come out this coming year?
CARTER: I actually don’t know the answer to that.
QUESTION: Chris, do you know how – do you know sort of what your arc is for this whole season and how you want that final – what could be the very final episode to go? Or are you really going to have to wait and see what happens with contracts and everything else before you decide how to end this?
CARTER: Unfortunately, I have to say, it’s the latter. I really have to be mindful of what I have – what resources I have available to me. And as the TV series leads to hopefully another movie, I want to be mindful of that too. I want those things to work together. So as the season progresses, I’ll have a better idea of where we stand. But it really won’t affect the storytelling all that much, it just may affect the tone or degree of something.
KOUNELIAS: One more question please.
QUESTION: [unmiked] Chris, the female lead in “Lone Gunmen” is she cast yet?
QUESTION: Who is that?
CARTER: Her name is Zuleika Robinson [sp]. And she’s a newcomer, you’ve never seen her before. She’s wonderful.
QUESTION: And you said the first name of the character is Yves Adele?
CARTER: Yves — [spells] Y-V-E-S — Adele Harlow. It’s an anagram.
QUESTION: I get it.
KOUNELIAS: We’d like to thank you all for coming today.