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Entertainment Tonight Online: Chat with Chris Carter

Entertainment Tonight Online
Chat with Chris Carter

EatTheCorn note: article is a selection of the Jul-20-2000 TCA conference

“I’ve had a lot of high school friends call me and thank me for making them dead people.” — Chris Carter

X-Philers who were left out in orbit by the alien abduction of Mulder and the news of Scully’s pregnancy can check in here for the second part of a chat with Chris Carter, who came down to earth long enough to give ET Online the 411 on Season Eight.

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT: Have you started writing the script for the next movie?


ET: I thought, from previous things you had said, that it was actually pretty far developed, at least in your mind.

CHRIS: 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’m not looking forward to doing another movie during the series, certainly with Mulder and Scully on the show. That was very hard to do, and sometimes I still can’t believe that we did it.

ET: Can you tell us more about the new character that will be played by Robert Patrick — Agent Doggett? Does Doggett now, by default, become the skeptic?

CHRIS: Unlike Scully, who really had science and an argument, Doggett comes at it as a kind of a 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.

ET: Then is Scully going to end up sounding like Mulder?

CHRIS: No. I’ve already written two episodes, and it feels right. And of course, this was a giant consideration. You don’t want all of a sudden to have characters that are untrue to themselves. 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 was a cop, and he believes, coming in, that everything can be solved if you just employ very good police technique.

ET: If Doggett and Scully will become partners, where does that leave Mulder when he’s back on the show?

CHRIS: 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 that will be the interesting dynamic. How does it work between them? I don’t know 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.

ET: 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?

CHRIS: 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 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.

CHRIS: 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. So she has been a character who has been torn both in her belief and in her personal approach to life.

ET: Chris, in the past, you’ve given us the inside story on how Mulder and Scully were named. How did you come up with the name “Doggett”?

CHRIS: The name Scully is actually an homage to (baseball announcer) Vin Scully. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to name this new character, and I had lots of interesting names. 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 names that I’d liked, and people that I’d admired and people I wondered where they were today.

CHRIS: And then all of the sudden it dawned on me that I was looking for a good, solid, working- class name, 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. Jerry Doggett was always Vin Scully’s co-host on the Dodgers. 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.

ET: Do you feel that in good conscience you owe it to people to wrap the series up?

CHRIS: There are certain things, like with Mulder’s sister, that I think need to be wrapped, and we did wrap up, although we can still investigate that, to an extent. We do, actually, next season. 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, 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.

ET: Are there any characters that you regretted killing off this year?

CHRIS: 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. If everybody lives, there is no threat to any character at any time.

ET: Is it your intention to have Scully deliver this season?

CHRIS: Let me see. I haven’t thought about it yet. So, maybe not.

ET: Can I ask a more fundamental question? This being “The X-Files,” can we really assume that Scully is pregnant? [laughter]

CHRIS: I would never assume anything on “The X-Files” and anything can happen. But I’ll tell you. I think it would be a big cheat if it was a false-positive or a phony pregnancy after all this time. It would be like bringing back a dead character.

ET: Will David Duchovny be writing or directing any episodes this season?

CHRIS: 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.

ET: There is only one alien presence, right?

CHRIS: 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.

ET: Chris, do you know what your arc is for this whole season and how you want what could be the very final episode to go? Or are you really going to wait and see what happens with contracts and everything else before you decide how to end this?

CHRIS: Unfortunately, I have to say, it’s the latter. I really have to be mindful of 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.

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