X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

XF at SDCC 2013, Part 1: XF3, BluRay, Carter projects

More than any other event earlier this year, and I expect more than any even for the remainder of 2013, The X-Files‘ 20th anniversary was celebrated at San Diego Comic Con International 2013. The size of the event and the media coverage it got is the reason why this was a key event. The big panel was hosted by TV Guide, the second panel by Season 10 comics publisher IDW, and then there were of course signings and pricey photo shoots.

X-Files’ 20th anniversary


This was the biggest cast & crew reunion since the Paley Festival in 2008. From right to left: host Michael Schneider; Chris Carter; David Duchovny; Gillian Anderson; James Wong; Glen Morgan; John Shiban; Darin Morgan; Howard Gordon; Vince Gilligan; and out of frame, David Amann (photo from syzzlyn). From the writing team, you could say that all the people who shaped the show were there, apart from Frank Spotnitz (in Europe, busy with other projects) and Gordon’s writing partner Alex Gansa. As would be expected in such media-intensive events, the focus was much more on Anderson and Duchovny instead of the rest of the creative team — given how short the panel was, some of them only spoke once!

Video of nearly the full panel

Video of the full panel

Host Michael Schneider posted a kind of “making of” of the whole event, which is a very entertaining read but is also revealing. The panel was organized by TV Guide, and within TV Guide, Schneider played an essential role: in inviting people and handling the organization of the event on the day. The involvement of FOX is nowhere to be seen apart from their mere approval. Still, we guess that they were watching, gauging interest in the X-Files to see if it has a future. The fans were certainly there!

More after the jump.

Overall, this was a nice retrospective of the show, although short given the number of people there and the trivia potential over 202 episodes. The talent on stage and the projects they are involved with (Breaking Bad, Homeland, The Fall, just to name a few) are a testament to the quality and challenging work done on the X-Files so many years ago.

This was an anniversary panel and so anybody who had high expectations on announcements of any sort on the future was misguided. However, even with that in mind, and like most of the X-Files, the panel did leave a taste of unfinished business, and it was not because of the host nor because of the majority of the panelists who did what they were expected to do — reminisce on the past, be funny (Anderson was particularly relaxed and dropped some juicy memorable lines!). Chris Carter seemed particularly uncomfortable throughout the whole panel, spoke only when addressed to with short phrases to-the-point phrases, a much different attitude to public events compared to those during the promotion of I Want To Believe in 2008. However, to be fair, he was much, much more relaxed and smiling during the IDW panel, which was a much smaller panel in terms of media attention and public attendance, and gave some very interesting interviews one-on-one with journalists. This shows how difficult the public relations aspect has all become for him, how perhaps stigmatized he has been by the negative feedback of IWTB.


(No) XF3?

The “elephant in the room” was of course the hope by many fans to announce a third X-Files film. While I never expected a definitive ‘yes’ during such a public panel, one would have expected Carter to have prepared a complete answer, a vision of the future, a motivational speech, a promise to do what he can, a plan B in case you want to be creative, a confession that the odds are thin, something. All we got was “I have to say just being here today and seeing all these people – you need a reason to get excited about going on and doing it again… This is very inspirational.” — before the panel died a slow death with Anderson auctioning off memorabilia. Elsewhere he said: “there’s certainly still a possibility for a third movie“. Other artists who hold their creations close at heart are able to show a passion that is contagious, knowing that the studio is watching too; this is definitely not what we saw here. Take a look at how different the 10-year anniversary panel for Firefly was!

Howard Gordon’s 24, 3 years after it ended and after years of a feature film stuck in development hell, as was recently announced, will be coming back as a 12-episode mini-series ‘event’ in 2014. For the X-Files, as I have written before, this alternative route to a big-budget feature film would be one that might be more acceptable to FOX given the lower budget this might represent, and more attractive as a story-telling medium as there is more you could tell in several hours’ worth of runtime instead of maximum 2 hours of a feature. However, alas, when this was mentioned in the panel, Anderson hastily said “No!“, echoed by Carter: “Good answer.” Anderson and Duchovny re-affirmed their will to do more feature films: “No, but a film would be great.”

The X-Files TV Guide panel was widely covered in the media:

Liveblogs: Digital Spy | HitFix | ScreenFad | GiveMeMyRemote | SportsMole

Articles: Huffington Post | TV Guide | Rolling Stone | The Hollywood Reporter | Mercury News | USA Today | Movie Hole | Hero Complex (LA Times) | Geek News (MTV) | The Verge | ABC News | CTV News | Dread Central | Washington Post | The Sun | Indiewire | Vulture | Spinoff (Comic Book Resources)

TV Guide featurette with Anderson & Duchovny

Reactions in the media varied from a generalized nostalgia for a big hit from the past to the expeditive verdict “The truth is out there: Don’t expect a third “X-Files” film” (Washington Post). Perhaps people should not only look at FOX when they wonder why no XF3 has been made yet.

Interviews & Trivia highlights

Carter gave two interviews (with the same interviewer? not more?), both very interesting, relaxed, and, ironically, in many ways more in-depth than the panel itself!


Dread Central. Extracts:

On the ‘Chris Carter’ brand: First of all, I’m flattered; the thing I really tried to do with all the different series I created was to do something different. Something that was original, something that didn’t feel formulaic- I just always wanted to be working on something imaginative. Sometimes we succeeded like we did with “The X-Files” and sometimes we didn’t like in the case of “Harsh Realm.”

On favorite supporting characters: Of course the “Cigarette Smoking Man”- and what he became and how he became it. Even though he was my character, Morgan and Wong came in and developed him in a very interesting way. Everyone got to write him and sort of add a little something to that character and that’s really what a successful TV show is all about; it’s about an amalgamation of everyone’s input and everyone adds something to it. That’s really what “The X-Files” was- it started as one thing and it became much more.

On the relationship between Mulder and Scully: You know, we spent so much time and energy keeping them apart; I think that constantly fluctuating dynamic was something the fans really responded to. But then it felt dishonest after all those years that if they were going to still be together that they wouldn’t be together romantically. That’s why we ended up putting them together. And even though we’ve seen them together in bed on the big screen, we really haven’t seen that relationship explored or developed yet so I think there’s room to do that. I do think that we were rewarding expectation by putting Mulder and Scully together though; it would have been ridiculous to keep them apart.

Some additional interesting info from both panels (excluding Season 10 info, to be covered separately):

  • On December 22, 2012, the planned date for the alien invasion: Carter: “They came, and they’re just delaying their entrance.”
  • Baby William played by John Shiban’s son has grown up to look exactly like what you would expect from a red-haired über-Scully
  • Vince Gilligan on deciding to kill the Lone Gunmen: “We had a big argument about that as I recall“, and you can tell he regrets it still!
  • What would Mulder and Scully do if they ever went on a real date? Anderson: “Have sex!” Duchovny: “And then maybe dinner?
  • The post-Cold War era setting of the X-Files and how it influenced it, how the show would have been different today? (my favourite question!): Carter: “The suspicions and the conspiracy theories are so much more rampant today, and so I would think that definitely if the X-Files were to come back now it would actually have the same sort of… you could do the show now, is what I’m saying. Where you couldn’t do the show in 2002 because everyone trusted the government or wanted to trust the government, so it was a completely different world. So we went through a period there where I think the X-Files was not relevant.
  • When did Mulder & Scully first realized they were in love? Carter: “I think it was when you first walked into his office in the basement“, i.e. the pilot! And then, just a day later, on Dean Haglund being a noromo: Carter: “Like the Gunmen, no romance lives forever.” Ambiguous, much?
  • On Fencewalker (the film Carter wrote and shot in circa 2008 but never got released): Carter: “I put it away.” That’s a radical answer and it’s really a shame.
  • Carter: “If there are aliens, they owe me a visit because I’ve been their biggest promoter for the last 20 years.”

X-Files on BluRay

Out of all the possible announcements that could be made on this panel, the most obvious and straightforward would have been that the show would be released on BluRay. We have heard of several rumors since mid-2012 that this has been in the works, and it would have made sense to announce it now with a release of Season 1 for example on the day of the 20th anniversary, September 10. Despite that, FOX chose not to announce it. The announcement FOX had to make, the one that host Michael Schneider was trying to find in his notes at the end of the panel, was that the X-Files is being released on X-Box. Anderson and Duchovny did a promotional video for that, and a few days later the show appeared on the X-Box site with a special “20th anniversary” banner. A digital release in Standard Definition (SD), on one platform, available only in the USA (when, incidentally, it is already available on other more popular platforms such as Netflix): that’s not much weight on behalf of FOX.


Nevertheless, Carter was asked directly on the BluRay in the IDW panel and said: “They [FOX] are pushing for that BluRay release, but it hasn’t been formalized and it’s not official, so stay tuned. But they are releasing it in HD.

A ‘release’ in HD as opposed to a release in BluRay would mean that the show would be broadcast on TV in HD and FOX would be able to sell it as HD to international broadcasters, but one would not be able to buy it on BluRay. Surely the release in BluRay would follow closely a broadcast in HD. Additionally, the always reliable Digital Bits posted this after the SDCC (essentially recycling pre-existing info):

File this next bit in the Rumor Mill ‘follow-up’ category, but numerous sources I spoke with while down at the con (including studio, post facility and retail) confirmed unofficially our Rumor Mill posts from a few months ago (see here and here) that Fox is working to bring The X-Files TV series to Blu-ray as part of the celebration for the show’s 20th Anniversary this year.  No announcements were made at the Con (despite a 20th Anniversary panel on Thursday featuring creator Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson), but we believe at least the first season could be announced (in the coming weeks) for release by the end of the year.  Remastering work has been underway at HTV/Illuminate in Hollywood – visual effects and some stock footage shots (of the Hoover building, etc) have required upconversion but otherwise original negative is being scanned in full HD.

My feeling is that September 10 will see the broadcast of the pilot in HD and the announcement of the release of Season 1 in BluRay for Halloween or Christmas 2013.

Future Carter projects

Finally, Carter did hint during the IDW panel that he has a project in the works for the future, but he was very tight-lipped. 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“; and on what’s next: “I’m working on something new, and with any luck it could be announced soon.” On Dread Central he said: “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.

This is, quite likely, the TV series project “The After“, described as a science-fiction/suspense/action/paranoia/apocalyptic thriller, that we first heard about last October and heard of the last time in May. Perhaps it is at a stage where a final deal is close and a pilot might be shot (as is the usual procedure), or an entire 13-episode first season might be ordered (some cable channels tend to do that directly).

Regardless of the fact that if Carter is more active this is also beneficial for a potential XF3 drawing more studio attention, I’m very glad that we might get to see more of Carter, in any form! Liberated of the weight of the past that comes with anything X-Files or Millennium, I hope he will find his voice again as a unique storyteller.

More soon on everything Season 10 related!

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