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The X-Files Magazine: The Next Files

The X-Files Magazine [US]
The Next Files
Ian Spelling

As the X-Files series finale hit US screens, Ian Spelling caught up with executive producer Frank Spotnitz to discuss the season and the series as a whole

“We’re done,” Frank Spotnitz says. “It’s over!”

After nine years and 200-plus episodes, The X-Files came to an end in May with The Truth, the two-hour series finale. Penned by series creator and executive producer Chris Carter, with an uncredited assist from longtime co-executive producer Spotnitz, The Truth made sense of a lot of the show’s legendary mythology. With Mulder on trial, living witnesses (including Marita Covarrubias) and helpful ghosts (among them X and the Lone Gunmen), all figures from Fox Mulder’s past, were on hand to testify and/or to guide Mulder in otherworldly ways. The truth-seeking F.B.I. agent faced death by lethal injection for purportedly murdering Knowle Rohrer, a SuperSoldier who, as fans know, couldn’t die by ordinary means.

“I was pleased with the finale,” says Spotnitz, who, because The Truth was days away from airing at the time of this conversation, promised to discuss the episode in more depth next issue. “The Truth is really a culmination of the show and looks back at the show. It brings all the characters, but especially the characters of Mulder and Scully, full circle. You get the sense that they’ve completed a journey and I think it’s touching and exciting. It was quite a challenge to figure out how to do it. We only had two hours, so there were limits to what we could do, but I think we cover a lot of ground. I think it’s very satisfying dramatically and emotionally.

“I’ve really been pleased with the whole ninth season,” says Spotnitz, reflecting on the past year. “There are always ups and downs in every season of a show, but I’ve been amazed at how good a time I’ve had these last two years on The X-Files. I have to be honest and say I went into Seasons Eight and Nine with some trepidation, but I’ve been very happy to be here and we’ve done good work.

“As I said,” Spotnitz continues, “I really like the finale and I also liked the episode before that, Sunshine Days. We knew the show was coming to an end and we knew that definitively. It was the first time we’d had that luxury. At the end of Season Eight, we thought it might be the end of the show, so I very self-consciously designed Alone, the show that I wrote and directed, to be a farewell to the stand-alone episodes. I knew that even if the show didn’t end it would be the end of the Mulder-Scully era, so I wanted the Leyla Harrison character to look back on all the Mulder-Scully cases. I wanted that affectionate look back. The show didn’t end after Season Eight. This time we knew it was ending and we thought, ‘What other way can we have a farewell to ourselves and to the nine years of the show?’ And (writer-producer) Vince Gilligan had this idea to do a Brady Bunch crossover. We realized that by making it about someone’s obsession with another old TV show we could comment on our own show in the process. So while Sunshine Days felt like a very strange penultimate episode, period, it kind of did what we wanted it to do, which was to talk about the power of the fantasy of a TV show and life beyond a TV show and leaving a show behind. I thought it worked very effectively on that level. It was very sweet and touching.

“The other thing Sunshine Days did was to dangle the carrot of Scully once and for all getting proof of the paranormal,” says Spotnitz. “Scully lost that proof, but she was left something greater, which is the power of love, not to get too corny. You also got that nice shot of Doggett and Reyes holding hands. Vince was the first one to write Mulder and Scully actually holding hands, and I guess he wanted to be the first one to write Doggett and Reyes holding hands.”

Speaking again of the finale, Spotnitz reports that he spent very little time on the set during production. Part of that had to do with the fact that he was busy handling post-production chores on other episodes and part of that involved far more personal reasons. “There was just too much crying and stuff going on,” Spotnitz says. “I didn’t really want to be around for that, to be honest. I wasn’t there for the last shot, either. It was done in the desert, about a two-hour drive from the studio. Half of me wanted to go. I was going to try to make it, but I actually couldn’t get away from the office. Chris was there for the entire last week. It’s been a very emotional time. We’ve had a number of goodbyes. We had our last story meeting, our last day of filming, our wrap party and the last music scoring session at Mark Snow’s house. After that last scoring session we all went into Mark’s living room. His wife had prepared this amazing spread and we drank incredible bottles of wine. It’s all been very touching and sad and sweet.” #

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One Response to “The X-Files Magazine: The Next Files”

  1. […] According to writer and director Frank Spotnitz, Alone was largely prepped before Fox greenlit a ninth season of the show. While the show had been successful enough in the ratings to make a ninth season possible – and maybe even probable – it was quite clear that the eighth season would still represent the end of a certain phase of the sh…: […]