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The X-Files Magazine: Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood

The X-Files Magazine [US]
Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, Bruce Harwood

It’s the last night on the set for actors Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund, and Bruce Harwood. There is an air of impending sadness, because this could be their last night of shooting on any episode of The X-Files. So far, however, the mood is light. The actors and crew stand in clusters, chatting and laughing, as they wait to begin filming another scene. Several crew members ask for pictures with the cast of The Lone Gunmen. But later, the tone of the set will switch, as the cast and crew shoot close-ups for the trio’s final scene, which just happens to be the characters’ death scene. The script reads: Jimmy slowly lays his hand on the glass. The Gunmen do the same… three hands side-by-side opposite Jimmy’s, whose eyes now well with tears. This is goodbye. Reactions are mixed among the three actors. They all agree that the deaths of Frohike, Byers, and Langly while sad are fitting. “I’d already mourned the fact that the show was ending,” says Bruce Harwood, who plays John Fitzgerald Byers. “The fact that we were being killed, I don’t think made too much of a difference to me. It doesn’t surprise me that we go out this way.”

“Isn’t that how we all want to go?” remarks Dean Haglund, who plays Langly. “Well, maybe not so painfully,” he laughs.

Tom Braidwood, who plays Melvin Frohike, was not enthusiastic about the ending at first. “I guess I was a little disappointed,” he admits. “I don’t quite see why it had to happen.” Braidwood, who worked on the Vancouver set of the series as an assistant director for Seasons One through Five, is able to see the producers’ need to wrap up The X-Files characters once and for all. “In the end, it’s right for them,” he surmises.

Choosing to have the Lone Gunmen die at the end of “Jump the Shark,” did not come easy to co-writers of the episode, executive producers Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban. “It was actually a really hard decision to make,” explains Spotnitz. He exposes his fondness for the Gunmen, saying, “It’s funny, because they’re fictitious characters, and the show is coming to an end, but we really have a lot of affection for them.”

Spotnitz says that he, Gilligan and Shiban wanted to give the Gunmen a special ending, one that could only be achieved with such a dramatic climax. “It felt like the right thing to do,” he says. “We could really make them into big heroes and give them their moment to shine.”

Although they did not, at first, know how they wanted the Gunmen to meet their fate, the writers had definite ideas about how it should play out. “We just knew that we wanted it to be unequivocally heroic,” Spotnitz wholeheartedly.

Chris Carter’s announcement that this season of The X-Files would be the last came just as the writers were plotting out this one storyline. That was when they knew what they had to do. “It gave us the impetus to do this kind of ending,” Shiban says. Although a bit traumatic to comprehend at first, Shiban found himself excited at the story prospect. “If it is done well, there is no more heroic thing to do a character,” he says. “It seems just like the perfect end for the unsung heroes of the world.”

The producers did consider the effect on loyal Gunmen enthusiasts. “The ending is going to be challenging for fans of the Lone Gunmen,” guesses Gilligan. “It makes part of me sad, but it’s hopefully a noble end.”

Shiban has his own rationalization. “They die to save the world, and that to me is a fitting end.”

The guest actors in this episode are also well-versed in the Gunmen mythology, appearing in both The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen series with the conspiracy-debunking cabal. Stephen Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson make a reappearance (see ‘Shooting Co-Stars’ box-out), while Jim Fyfe also returns, having played Jimmy the Geek in The X-Files episode “Three of a Kind” and also dead Jimmy’s twin brother, Kimmy the Geek in The Lone Gunmen. Fyfe recalls his fondness for the three actors, as well as their on-screen counterparts. “I love them,” he says. “As guys they’re great, and as characters they’re great.”

When Fox canceled The Lone Gunmen in 2001, executive producers Gilligan, Shiban and Spotnitz were sure that they still had a story to round out. “It was such a big cliffhanger sitting out there,” Gilligan explains. “And we knew we wanted to resolve it.”

The ninth season of The X-Files was the obvious place to tie up those loose ends. “Within the X-Files context, we sort of vowed to ourselves to make this work,” states Shiban.

The return of this plot meant that they had to wait a whole year from the last episode of The Lone Gunmen to write the resolution. Gilligan admits to having some trouble when he actually had to sit down at the computer. “I spent a lot of time building it up in my head,” he says. “The whole time saying, ‘This has to be the greatest episode ever. This has to serve two masters – The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen series – and marry them together perfectly. It has to be beautiful.'”

While crediting Spotnitz with making sure that the episode would get done at all, Gilligan still toiled with developing the plot. “It’s taken me the longest of about any episode to work my way through,” he says. “It’s been a tricky one.”

The writers agreed that they could not simply make this show a continuation of The Lone Gunmen finale episode, “All About Yves.” “I was thinking along those lines,” Gilligan acknowledges, “but Frank rightly said we can’t exactly do that because this is a whole different television series – one that we’re using as a platform to finish this story.”

The writers also had to bear in mind that many X-Files fans may not have tuned in to the Lone Gunmen’s series. “It would have thrown The X-Files audience too much,” says Spotnitz.

The three put their heads together to figure out just where exactly the audience would find the Gunmen and their cohorts after a whole year. The story they came up with reunites the Gunmen, Jimmy, and Yves with arch nemesis Morris Fletcher (played comically and astutely by Michael McKean) was pivotal to The Lone Gunmen finale. Fans of The X-Files will also remember the character from the “Dreamland” two-parter and “Three of a Kind,” both in Season Six. In “All About Yves,” Fletcher orchestrated a dramatic con job, kidnapping Yves and leaving the Gunmen in a secure, underground bunker. Naturally, the Gunmen are none too thrilled to encounter Fletcher again.

In “Jump the Shark,” Fletcher first draws Agents Doggett and Reyes into Yves’ case by teasing them with the claim that she is a Super Soldier. The agents then bring in the Gunmen. The episode moves quickly out of the realm of Super Soldiers and into that of international terrorism, biological agents, and shark cartilage. Yes, shark cartilage. Sharks were incorporated into the story after the title of the episode was chosen. “Jump the Shark” is an entertainment web site launched in 1997, named for the famous Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps over a tank full of sharks on his motorcycle. The creator of the website, Jon Hein, christened the term to portray the moment in a television series’ run when its originality has begun to go downhill. Spotnitz calls the title, “a funny joke at our own expense.”

Gilligan agrees. “I kind of like it when a show ribs itself, and the idea of jumping the shark is sort of fun.”

The producers arranged for Hein to have a walk-on role in the episode, but unfortunately, his schedule did not allow for the appearance. Hein, however, was delighted to hear of his creation’s use as the episode’s title. “I thought it was great,” he declares enthusiastically. “The X-Files has always ‘got the web’ and actively incorporated it into the show with a great sense of humour and cleverness.” The X-Files is the site’s second most popular vote-getter. Most of Jump the Shark’s voters feel that the show has never, in fact, “jumped the shark.”

After the writers secured their title, they looked for ways to incorporate sharks into the episode. Gilligan recalls that the writers liked the image of the shark in the first shot of the show. They came up with the teaser that features Fletcher on a boat in the Bahamas.

“We threw out the teaser for a long time because it felt, at first, that it got us off to the wrong start,” says Shiban. After several sessions of working out more traditional X-Files teasers, they came back to the original, more comedic one.

“We wanted to start it off and truly tease the audience in the classic sense of a teaser, to get them intrigued,” Gilligan opines. “Michael McKean does that.”

McKean is a favourite of the show’s producers. “When an actor exceeds your expectations, it’s great,” says Spotnitz. “He is a surefooted actor, period. Be he’s also a great comedic actor, with great comedic timing and instincts.”

“He’s just a delight. He so embodies this character that it’s scary,” Shiban gloats about his guest star. “One of the reasons he’s such a good fit with both The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen, is because, as comic as he is, he carries himself with such a sense of reality.”

Also praising McKean, Gilligan says simply, “He so gets it.”

The Lone Gunmen themselves are also exciting about reuniting with McKean. “We’ve been talking Spinal Tap, and I switch from fellow actor to annoying groupie,” jokes Haglund.

“Micheal’s great,” agrees Braidwood. “He’s a character and a very funny man. He’s a lot of fun to work with.”

Gilligan likens the character of Morris Fletcher to Louie DePalma from the television series Taxi. “He’s the guy you love to hate,” Gilligan laughs. “But you don’t really hate him. Deep down you sort of love him.”

After Fletcher’s humorous entrance, the story gradually becomes more serious, culminating in the Gunmen’s touching final scene with Yves and Jimmy. Balancing humour is something The X-Files writers have done numerous times throughout the series’ nine seasons, especially when the Lone Gunmen are on hand. In this episode, however, it was especially challenging.

“In the writing, we did a number of revisions around that very issue,” Shiban states.

“The world in which [these characters] live is not funny,” Spotnitz elaborates. “We had to make it more real.”

Over the course of writing The Lone Gunmen series last year, the producers, according to Gilligan, found the show “worked best when there was actually a little more drama rather than a little less.” He thinks they achieved this tone best in the series finale. “That episode struck a nice balance between comedy and sort of high stakes seriousness,” he recalls wistfully. “We tried to strike that same tone in this one.”

Admittedly, this episode hits both ends of the spectrum. “It is a balancing act, and we’re watching dailies every day and walking that tightrope,” Shiban confesses.

Another challenge was the actual melding of the two shows. Once they got into the writing of it, it became very difficult to merge the two series together. Spotnitz refers to the combination of the two shows, something they have done before with the Millennium series crossover in the seventh season X-Files episode, “Millennium,” as a “massive headache.”

Shiban remarks that it was difficult to communicate the complicated back-story that would have become The Lone Gunmen mythology had the series continued. “We kept running up to these moments where the three of us would be working on the script,” he recounts, “when we asked ‘Does The X-Files audience need to know this? Is the back story too complicated?’ You have a whole world for a series, but this is just one episode.”

The writers were now faced with the daunting task of communicating this world to a viewing audience that may not be familiar with The Lone Gunmen series. Calling it a “necessary evil,” Gilligan explains that they tried to keep exposition to a minimum.

Another challenge to writing this episode was, as Spotnitz puts it, “striking a balance in screentime between the Lone Gunmen and Doggett and Reyes.” Add Morris Fletcher, Jimmy Bond, Yves Adele Harlow, and Kimmy the Geek to the mix, and you’ve got a full plate for any writer.

“It’s an exercise in trunk packing,” says Gilligan. “You have to use every little bit of available space.”

Shiban, while discussing the difficulty of working Agents Doggett and Reyes into the initial story, says that he found it just as problematic as having to incorporate the characters into the X-file into any script. “The X-Files is a hard form to master,” he muses, “which is partly what I think makes it so good when it clicks. But we struggle every week.”

“We realized very early that our Act IV would mostly be the Gunmen, because we’re doing a story about how the Gunmen are unsung heroes,” Shiban says. “We want them to be heroic in the climax. Therefore, we knew that [Doggett and Reyes’] role would be diminished at some point, and that made it easier in some ways.”

The producers are happy with the final script as a tribute to the Gunmen, but they understand fan reaction will undoubtedly be mixed. “Some will hate us for it,” predicts Shiban. “But I bet the ones who say they hate the idea will cry when they see it.”

“At the end of the day, if the fans of The Lone Gunmen series are the ones pleased, that’d be enough for me,” sighs Gilligan. Although he hopes that all X-philes will enjoy it, Gilligan offers up some morsel of completion for the fans of the canceled series. “They stuck with us through thick and thin, and I wanted to see something resolved for them.”

As the late night on the set draws to a close, the actors reflect on the end of the Lone Gunmen, bringing up feelings about the end of The X-Files series as a whole.

“I’m really sad to see it go,” says Fyfe of The X-Files. “I think all successful shows become a part of the culture in a way. I’ll miss it.”

The cast and crew once again laugh together between takes. Although the sentiment of the episode is bittersweet, everyone on set is having fun with the one last go around.

“What I’ll miss are the people, because they’re all great to work with,” Braidwood reflects. “It’s been a wonderful experience, and that’s what I’ll miss the most.”

Cinescape: Shiban talks final X-FILES stretch

Shiban talks final X-FILES stretch
Christopher Allan Smith

In an exclusive interview with CINESCAPE Editor in Chief Anthony C. Ferrante, X-FILES co-executive producer and scribe John Shiban discussed the recent announcement that creator Chris Carter had decided to make this season the show’s last.

“Ultimately, it was Chris [Carter’s] decision,” Shiban said. “I think all the producers were feeling we wanted to go out in the right way and in a classy way. We wanted to give the series its due, to know the end is coming and plan for it. We also wanted to tie up the story lines we want to tie up and leave the storylines we wanted left open for the movies. We were all bittersweet it is to end. I think we all agreed this was the right thing to do and glad it happened this way, rather than waiting until the end of the season [to make that decision].”

Shiban also confirmed that discussions regarding the end of the show had been going on for quite some time.

“In each year at the beginning of the last few years, it’s been the question on everyone’s mind. ‘Is this going to be the last year?’ The timing of it, was all Chris.”

Shiban also said that despite Carter’s announced plan to use the time remaining to tie up loose ends, many of the episodes left will not deal with the elaborate mythology that originally made FILES famous. The crew is currently working on episode 14 of this season’s 20.

“Fourteen is going to be a standalone,” he said. “So will 15 and 16. We haven’t really changed our plan. We have episode 15, which features the Lone Gunmen. Although it’s an X-file, it’s a cool one. It features them prominently and its our way of tying up some of the loose ends from THE LONE GUNMEN series. Sixteen will also be a standalone – 17 and 18 are going to be standalones. [Episodes] 19 and 20 are a two-parter we planned for the end of the season which is a mythology show.

“To be honest, as we’re breaking each show, in the back of our minds [we’re thinking] this is the end. There’s more to do with the show than to tie up loose ends. We want the movies to go on and for the franchise to go on. There are emotional endings to be had that are not just plot endings. Even in the stand alones, I think there will be moments where we’re all aware this will be the last time we will be visiting some of these characters. That’s a nice thing. As far as changing our plans for the rest of the season, we’re still going to be doing the same number of mythology episodes.”

tv-now.com: The "X-Files" (John Shiban)

The “X-Files” (John Shiban)
Maelee McBee

“The single hardest thing for us to do after all these years is to find great writers who understand Star Trek. It’s always been a problem.” “Enterprise” Executive producer Rick Berman on the hiring of John Shiban.

The X-Files Co-Executive Producer John Shiban was working as a computer programmer to pay the bills when he landed his writing gig on The X-Files in season three. “I went to film school at AFI. There I met Frank Spotnitz, we became friends and after school I continued writing features. I had no thought of writing for television at the time. I was still writing features and taking meetings and not having much success. Frank got the job on The X-Files and I was going to go pitch to him. He said ‘listen, why don’t you send a feature over. I know Chris is interested in hiring somebody with no TV experience.’ So I showed them one of my specs and I waited and waited. I got a call the last day before they went on hiatus to come down and meet Chris. I met him, we had a great meeting and the next day they hired me on staff. Overnight. Well, it felt like overnight even though it had been years of trying. It was beautiful.”

Shiban went on to give us such memorable episodes as Pine Bluff Variant, SR819,Underneath, which he also directed, and Dreamland I and II, Monday, and Field Trip, which he co-wrote with Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz. One of the episodes he is most proud of is Underneath. The episode was Shiban’s directing debut, and proved to be “one of the hardest things I had to do on The X-Files. The first day of directing was hard but once I got through that, I had a blast. It’s like a giant toy store. You do all kinds of amazing things and you have a talented crew who follow your every whim. It’s a ball.”

Something that wasn’t a ball for Shiban was his last day as Executive Producer on The X-Files. “We had a little get together yesterday at Mark Snow’s house to listen to the music for the finale. We all got a little misty eyed. It’s not just seven years of great TV, it’s seven years of great people. It becomes a family. You can’t help that. They are great people that I worked with. Vince was there, Chris and Frank, David Amann, and Paul Rabwin and others. The way we had done it for years was that we’d all go to Mark’s house for music play back, and that was always the most pleasurable part of my job, because Mark Snow is so great at what he does. It was a nice thing for Mark to suggest we all get together for this one. We had a group hug kind of thing.”

Shiban gives away very little about the finale but does answer some questions about baby William, who we last saw being given up for adoption in the episode William. “We all discussed it and knew we wanted to bring some closure to that story as we were trying to do with everything on the series. There was some debate about what to do and what the best thing to do was. That idea (giving William up for adoption) was from Chris and Frank. It’s a safe place for the baby. I don’t think anybody wanted to continue playing jeopardy for the baby any longer. It started to become for all of us painful. The great thing about this solution is that it was a way to cure the baby in a very satisfying manner because it was a part of this revenge plot of Spender’s. It leaves Mulder and Scully with a huge emotional burden. You see in the finale that they do carry that with them. It’s not just ignored by any means. This is a family issue that must be dealt with. It’s a very, very emotional scene, a touching scene. I think you’ll be happy with the result.” Let’s hope so.

Looking back at the life of the series, Shiban says his two favorite episodes are Leonard Betts, which he co-wrote with Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz, and Existence. “The teaser for Leonard Betts was so outlandish that even the director and writers said ‘how the hell are we going to get out of this? You can’t just cut a man’s head off in the teaser and let him live throughout the episode.’ It was so much fun for me and I think we worked it out pretty well. The science almost made sense. It was really exciting and it made me feel like we had a cool franchise here that Chris has created that can push the envelope like this and yet still be grounded in reality. That’s always stuck in my mind that hey, we can do anything on this show.”

Shiban’s other favorite, Existence, is purely personal. “That was my son’s acting debut. He was Scully’s first baby. So that will always stick in my mind as a high point.”

Shiban has moved on to Enterprise, the next installment in the “Star Trek” franchise. He will serve as Co-Executive Producer on the series, and hopes to eventually do some directing in addition to his writing duties. When asked if he was a Trekkie growing up, Shiban says he was a “fan of the original series, and I’ve seen my share of “Next Generation” and some of the “Voyager”. I haven’t seen much of “Deep Space Nine”, but I’m trying to catch up. I’m doing my homework.” That includes knowing the lingo of the Trek universe. “I’m a fan but I don’t know if I’m a Trekker or Trekkie. I know there’s a difference. I’m learning.”

In case he ever starts to feel homesick for The X-Files, he need only look to the cast of Enterprise. John Billingsley who plays Doctor Phlox, was in an “X-Files” episode Shiban co-wrote with Vince Gilligan titled “Three of a Kind.” By the time Shiban arrived at Enterprise, the cast had already gone on hiatus, but he is “looking forward to working with him.”

Shiban feels that just like The X-Files, the “Star Trek” franchise has been so successful because “the basic paradigm is so brilliant, that you can keep telling stories for years. It’s an honor to be a part of something like this.”

“There was no significance to the white buffalo on the flag or the mobile. It was to set the stage and tell us where we were. People should not read anything symbolic into that. To give credit where credit is due, as I understand it, that was a creative choice by David Duchovny who felt ‘I don’t want to do a legend here. Let’s do something a little more interesting’.” John Shiban to fans on the relevance of the white buffalo in the episode William.

Cinescape: Fall TV Preview: The X-Files

Fall TV Preview: The X-Files

[typed by Megan]

High Concept: FBI agents searching for intelligent life in the universe also find conspiracies, monsters and big ratings.

Major Players: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish.

Why Should You Watch: With Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Anderson) finally consummating their relationship (with a kiss) at the end of last season, the originator of the “X-Files” will be suspiciously absent, leaving Scully to contend with her new baby (and its secrets) all by herself. How producers handle Mulder’s absence will be an amazing sleight of hand trick, but seeing if new partners Doggett and Reyes click will be what most X-Fans will be watching.

Reasons To Be Concerned: It’s season nine – and no Mulder. The show’s mythology was tired in season five and there are very few adversaries left from the monster gene pool to exploit. Doggett revitalized the show last season while we waited for Mulder to return, but will Gish do the same?

Buzz-O-Meter: 5 (out of 10)

It was sealed with a kiss and now he’s gone…again. At the end of The X-Files’ eighth season, Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) and Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson) admitted to each other the “truth” that was out there all along – their love for each other. And with that, X-fans finally got what they wanted – confirmation that indeed Mulder and Scully did have something going on.

If the series ended on that note, it would have been a fitting conclusion to one of the TV’s most challenging and interesting genre television shows. Yet, FOX wanted another season. They got their wish, but not without a price – sans Duchovny. Now, the show is going to have to find a suitable way of resolving that kiss without making Mulder’s absence seem like he’s a deadbeat sperm-donating dad.

“I care how they resolve Mulder kissing and running [away],” Duchovny admitted to Cinescape, while promoting his summer feature Evolution.

Of course, the writing staff is well aware of this dilemma, but executive producer John Shiban feels they’ve come up with an adequate solution.

“I think we all share David’s feeling about the character,” says Shiban. “We have come up with a way for Mulder to still be at the heart of the show and be absent. If he does the movies, it works. If he comes back for a cameo, it works, though right now the latter is not going to happen, but you never know. We came up with a beautiful way that fits with the mythology that has already been established to still have Mulder be in Scully’s heart, be the father of her child and not be present. He will still be the center of The X-Files.”

Whereas last year, the subtext of the show focused on “the search for Mulder,” this year the major subplot will be “what’s up with Scully’s baby,” explains Shiban.

“We intend to use Scully in ever episode in some very interesting ways,” says Shiban. “She has been left with a big question: ‘What is with my baby? Why did the aliens want it and then let it go?’ Her relationship with Mulder is still central to the show – if not there in person, he’ll be there in spirit. Still, this new world for Scully – motherhood – is very important.”

The season ender also paired up Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick) with recurring character Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) the new “head” of the X-Files. Predictably, Gish joins this season as a full-fledged cast member.

“Agent Reyes is very important next year, and so is Agent Doggett,” says Shiban. “We will get into Doggett’s past with his son and what happened with that.”

Making an appearance in a key arc next season will be Xena star Lucy Lawless, whose character has yet to be revealed, and Shiban says you should never count out the Cigarette Smoking Man for making an appearance despite being dead.

Airlock Alpha: Reyes loves Scully?

Reyes loves Scully?
Airlock Alpha
Michael Hinman

[Original article here]

It could’ve been an X-Files matching made in heaven

Move over Xena and Gabrielle.

It was a single line that erupted in a summer long of debate among fans of “The X-Files.”

In the season finale, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is giving birth to her child when Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) comments how “amazingly beautiful” Scully was during the birthing process.

So the question is now whether or not Agent Reyes is going to be a lesbian on the show.

“We talked about it,” executive producer John Shiban told TV Guide Online in a recent interview. “But we (ultimately decided) that it’s the kind of baggage that we (creator Chris Carter and producer Frank Spotnitz) that we didn’t want to deal with with this kind of character right now. We had other ideas that we were more excited about.”

Shiban says that while Reyes has “an affection for Scully that is deep and real,” there might be more implied from the season finale line than there should be.

“Most women look beautiful when they’re giving birth,” Gish said. “And it was a very authentic birth experience, so I think it was very harmless.”

Will there ever be a gay relationship on the show?

“On The X-Files, anything can happen,” Shiban said. “So I don’t want to discount anything. Life is complicated.”

The X-Files Official Site: Chat with Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban

The X-Files Official Site
Chat with Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban

Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban all serve as executive producers on The X-Files, as well as on The Lone Gunmen.

Mutato1121: Is writing and planning the story lines for The Lone Gunmen any different than from when you do The X-Files scripts?

Vince: It’s different in that it’s a comedy. But we find the plotting to be just as intricate as when we do an episode of The X-Files.

John: In some ways it’s more difficult than The X-Files because you not only have to have a great story but it has to be funny too.

Frank: Let me put it this way, most weeks when we turn in the scripts the crew in Vancouver wants to know what we were smoking. So I’d say in many ways the scripts are even more out there than The X-Files.

JNewton: I loved the episodes “Unusual Suspects” and “Three of a Kind” on The X-Files. Is that basically what LG episodes are going to be like?

Frank: Absolutely! If you like those shows, you’ll love these.

Vince: Plus, with the new shows, we have two great new characters…Yves Adele Harlow, who is a wonderful femme fatale, and Jimmy Bond, who in some ways will become the fourth Lone Gunman.

SamanthaJ3: Will TLG be strictly comedy? Or will it have drama, too?

John: You’ll laugh and you’ll cry! We consider this show Mission Impossible with geeks…so you’ll have adventure, thrills, but also some pretty wild humor because our three leads, the Lone Gunmen, their world is upside down from The X-Files.

Frank: Hopefully you’ll know when to laugh and when to cry.

Vince: It’s definitely a comedy but we have a couple episodes coming up that have some nice emotion to them. Actually they all have a certain amount of emotion to them…and we feel it balances nicely with the comedy.

Oliver: Isn’t it ironic to launch a spin-off comedy during this gloomy season of TXF where desperation, adversity, boredom, and ultimately (so far) tragedy prevail?

Frank: Good point. Uh-oh!

John: You mean to say alien babies aren’t funny?

XPhreak: Alright, spill it: WHO’S THE FATHER OF SCULLY’S BABY?

Frank: We’ll learn in The Lone Gunmen that Frohike is the father of Scully’s baby. Stay tuned!

jaybfox: Do you have a particular character you like to write more than another? For instance, do you have a preference amongst the Lone Gunmen?

Frank: We love them all!

Vince: The more we like them, the more we realize how unique each of their voices is. Byers is the voice of reason, the moral center of the show. Frohike is a curmudgeonly man of action. Langly is kind of a smart aleck. And Jimmy is a big goofy guy with a lot of heart. Yves, on the other hand, is a bit of a mystery at first. But we learn that underneath her hard shell there’s something else going on.

Frank: John relates best to Frohike. Because he knows what it’s like to be a sex symbol against your will.

John: Yay!

Sarah: What about Harlow, then? What voice is she?

Vince: Yves has many layers. She comes across as tough and sarcastic and because of that she’s fun to write. Sarcasm is always fun to write. As the series progresses, we’ll see whole new sides to her, which I don’t want to elaborate on too much here. It would spoil the fun.

Frank: It involves dancing.

LauraCap: Byers got a crack at Suzanne Modeski. Will Langly and Frohike ever get lucky in love?

Jewlz: Will there be any love interests for the gunmen?

John: Langly has a very interesting moment early in the season with a cow.

Vince: Actually a bull.

Frank: That story is autobiographical.

Vince: But it didn’t go on my permanent record. I was under 18 at the time.

xfmegan: Are there any plans to correlate the X-Files mythology into the Lone Gunmen?

Frank: The brain surgery required boggles the mind. However, there will be crossovers in terms of characters and some storylines that involved the Lone Gunmen when they were on The X-Files. So you’ll see some comic characters from The X-Files crossing over, as well as some serious ones getting a chance to show how funny they can be.

jaybfox: Can you tell us anything about the LGM episode that Skinner appears in?

Vince: Case in point. Mitch Pileggi, our own favorite assistant director of the FBI, Walter Skinner. He’ll be joining The Lone Gunmen in an upcoming case.

Frank: It’s top secret. But you get to see Skinner like you’ve never seen him before.

Vince: That’s for sure!

jaybfox: Are we going to get to find out more about the backgrounds of each Lone Gunmen? Like…is Langly’s name Richard and Ringo’s a nickname and why…that kind of thing?

John: We get glimpses of their past. Early on you get to see them as children.

Frank: You also see their characters fleshed out in greater detail than ever before.

John: You’ll even get to see where they sleep at night.

Vince: By the way, Langly’s first name, Ringo, doesn’t come from Ringo of the Beatles.

Frank: What??!

Vince: In my mind, he’s named after the John Wayne character in Stagecoach whose first name of course was Ringo.

John: Naturally, when you see Langly, you think John Wayne.

Vince: Either John Wayne or Fabio.

Erynn: So do they sleep in the same room?

Frank: You’ll have to watch to see. Picture the three little bears.

Vince: We promise a scene in which at least two of the characters spoon. Ratings will immediately drop afterward.

albinopigeon: Do we get to see frohike in his jammies??

Vince: We definitely get to see him in his Hugh Hefner bathrobe.

John: You get to see him in Leiderhosen.

Frank: You actually get to see him in the pink, taking a bath. With a woman scrubbing his back. If that doesn’t draw viewers…

Vince: Survivor, look out!

lizascorner: What are TLGM’s cases gonna be like? Will they be x-files weird or something more everyday-like?

Frank: They are definitely not “every day.”

John: But they are not quite the cases Mulder investigates.

Vince: So far they are not paranormal. Instead they are real-world cases involving big business and foreign espionage and evil scientists….

Frank: And midget wrestlers and tango dancers and super-intelligent chimpanzees.

Vince: Like I said, “real world.”

maddict: Where do they get the money to pay for all the techo gear? Do they have other jobs?

Frank: They trade for sexual favors.

Vince: Just kidding.

moonpunkie: What type of gadgets will the LGM be playing with?

Vince: In one episode, they’ve built themselves a pretty nifty MRI machine out of spare TV parts.

Frank: Just about every week they’ve got cutting-edge technology that’s either where the real world is right now or where we will be soon.

Vince: And Yves has some gadgets that make the Lone Gunmen pretty jealous. She’s got a few tricks up her sleeve that they don’t have.

Mutato1121: Now that we have seen Chris Carter and Mark Snow in front of the camera, are any of you guys planning on taking a little role in The Lone Gunmen?

Frank: We are waiting for the right moment to spring ourselves on the American public.

Courtney_fanofVinceG: Hey Vince, are you going to direct any episodes of TLG? I love “Je Souhaite” and it would be a shame for your talent to go to waste.

Vince: Thank you very much! I would love to. I think the three of us in the future will all be directing Lone Gunmen episodes. At least I hope so, but right now we are all busy with just the writing of the show and the post-production, etc. But hopefully next season. Provided there is a next season.

Tshe: Will all the LGM be stand-alone episodes? Or will you have a continuing storyline?

Frank: Eventually we will have continuing storylines and mythology separate to The Lone Gunmen. But having said that, I think there’s a great deal of continuity in The Lone Gunmen series, and you get to see how the relationships, particularly with the new characters, develop over time.

amyh: Is the plan for the Lone Gunmen series to be an alternate universe type situation from TXF, where nothing from either show dovetails, or are there some crossovers? If so, where should we be looking?

Vince: I wouldn’t call it an “alternate universe” — these are the same 3 guys who help Mulder and Scully. But in this show we see what they do the other 99% of the time.

John: We like to think of The Lone Gunmen series as their day jobs — what they do when they are not helping Mulder, Scully or Doggett.

Vince: As you will see, they get by pretty well on their own, which is why you won’t see a lot of Mulder and Scully, because the Lone Gunmen are heroes in their own right and they solve their own problems themselves.

Frank: Plus, we can’t afford Mulder and Scully.

Vince: That’s the real reason!

sdana: Will we see John Gilnitz or will we hear about him…? We’d love to put a face to the name!!

Frank: Oh, yes! He’s an (expletive deleted)!

eire_scully: How much input (if any) has Chris Carter had?

Frank: Chris Carter loves the show and has been as involved as he can be while doing two TV series at once. He wrote the fourth episode, “Three Men and a Smoking Diaper,” which should go a long way toward destroying his reputation for quality television.

Charybdis: Hi guys. I’m really looking forward to the show, but I worry about TXF losing 3 of its best writers! Will you all still write eps for TXF if it continues?

Frank: We don’t know about next year, if there is a next year. But this past year we’ve all been killing ourselves trying to make both shows as good as possible.

Vince: All three of us love both shows. But it’s been awful hard to do both simultaneously. But we really want this new series to get a shot on the air. It’s very close to our hearts.

ChiA_PeT_20o1: Wow, this is the coolest! When did the idea first hit you to do a show on the TLG?

John: After the two X-Files episodes “Unusual Suspects” and “Three of a Kind” that starred the LG, we all immediately saw — especially after “Three,” which is a model for the series. When we saw how the characters carried the show, all three of us thought they could be stars and that this show would work.

mully23: Will there be an “antagonist” like the Cigarette-Smoking Man on LGM?

Frank: You’ll have to wait and see. As we said before, the mythology of this series rolls out slowly.

bliss2001: Will the LGM travel around the US? (like Mulder and Scully)

Vince: Yes, they will travel, but only as far as their 1972 VW Microbus allows them.

John: Gone are the days of Mulder and Scully’s expense accounts.

Vince: These guys have it tougher because they don’t have guns. They don’t have power of arrest, and they run out of gas occasionally.

Frank: But they do have sex appeal to spare!

Vince: At least Frohike does.

Delmo456: Looking at the titles of the Lone Gunmen episodes, it seems like you guys are doing parodies of a lot of movies (which will be great). Is that a correct assumption?

Vince: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. One funny title we have, which is “Like Water for Octane,” is an episode about a water-powered car. One of our staff writers came up with the name and we loved it when we heard it, although it has nothing to do with the Mexican magic realism or the plot of the movie Like Water for Chocolate.

Frank: Do expect to see a parody of a very popular one-hour drama on the FOX network.

albinopigeon: Are you going to parody the x files?

Frank: Refer to the previous answer!

Dilby: Speaking of the 1972 VW microbus, just how many…enhancements…are in that thing?

Vince: Well, I’ve been lobbying for nitrous oxide, a tank that would boost its maximum speed to 160 mph, but so far Frank and John won’t let me put that in.

John: Let’s just say their van is their home away from home. Imagine the Lone Gunmen office on wheels.

Vince: So far, one thing we know about it is that it’s got a pretty cool periscope camera in the roof.

KATEDVM: A mattress in the back maybe? LOL

Frank: Ha ha ha. Season 2!

deedee77: Will there be time-stamps, and will time play an important role, as it does in The X-Files?

Frank: Yes. We at Ten Thirteen don’t know how to tell stories without them.

Vince: We call them “legends.”

Frank: In our own minds! Chiller: How are the boys adjusting to having their own series?

Vince: There’s an awful lot of squabbling over who has the biggest trailer. Just kidding!

Frank: Actually, we’ve beaten up the most on Frohike, who is not surprisingly called upon to do the most stunts. But I think they are all having a good time and it’s quickly become an ensemble of five actors who enjoy working together.

Vince: All five are a pleasure to write for and to work with.

ak47deadly: Are they going to get to the bottom of the Florida election crisis?

florence: Will the LG ever go back in time and try to uncover the killer of JFK?

Frank: Very dead-on questions.

Vince: We do have a character named Chad. Does that count?

Jewlz: How many episodes will be in the seasons?

Frank: Only 13.

Vince: Lucky 13, we hope.

JTR555: Could we possibly see Frank Black appear? THAT interaction would be a riot!!!

Vince: That would be great because, of course, Frank Black is a hilarious character. Actually he would be a pretty good straight man, come to think of it.

KATEDVM: When will you know if you get picked up for next season?

Frank: Probably not until May, officially. Although, if the show is a massive hit, that’s a foregone conclusion.

Mutato1121: Would you guys like to spill any juicy tid bits about The X-Files to us Philes while we wait a month?

Frank: To all those online people who are furious at Ten Thirteen for killing Mulder, please remember that David Duchovny is contracted to appear in the rest of the episodes this season.

Vince: It’s going to be a lot like Weekend at Bernie’s. Mulder will be dragged from investigation to investigation. Occasionally, Scully will tie him to the roof of her van.

Frank: I’ve been touched by the love and support of those fans who complained about us killing Mulder.

Madison: Is the X-File finale written yet?

Frank: We are in the process of writing them now.

John: We already told you that Frohike is the father.

mully23: Do you guys put personal notes into the story lines like Chris Carter does with 11:21?

Frank: We often put the names of friends and loved ones into our scripts.

Vince: I try to put some reference to my girlfriend Holly into every episode I write. I do this because it makes everyone say “Awww!” when they hear it. And also because it helps me get chicks. Just kidding, Holly!

Jewlz: Like in XF, with episodes “Post-Modern Prometheus” and “X-Cops,” these were shown in a unique camera-style etc. Will there be any in the LG show?

Frank: No. This show is pretty much hack work. Just kidding…we have a superior DP (director of photography) and crew, almost all of whom we have worked with before, on either X-Files, Millennium or Harsh Realm. As with each of those shows, we are always trying to do the best work possible and I think, visually, we are extremely ambitious for what is primarily a comedy series.

Sarah: Any chance that Braidwood will get a chance to direct?

Frank: Did Braidwood ask that question?

John: Is that Tom Braidwood logging in?

Frank: We would love for him to direct one. We just don’t know when we can afford to lose him as an actor to make that happen.

KATEDVM: Does that mean that the Gunmen won’t be in an X files movie if there is one?

Frank: No way! We would love to have the Gunmen in the next X-Files movie and they will continue to be in The X-Files TV series.

Oliver: Frank – you said in an interview that The X-Files’ mythology will be wrapped up by the end of the season. Can you confirm that? Where does that leave you creatively – and us as fans – in the event of a Season 9?

Frank: What was I thinking? Whatever I said, what I mean to say is that 8 years of the series will come to a close this May, regardless of whether there is an X-Files next season. I actually believe most of the important questions about the mythology have already been answered, believe it or not, and you will see some new ones asked in upcoming shows.

StarlightM42: Can you talk about the scene where Doggett first meets the LGM? It was a classic!

Frank: I wrote that scene and it was very long and I felt sure that we’d end up having to cut it, but Doggett proved a great straight man to the Gunmen. We ended up using almost every line.

Vince: Doggett would be a fun guy to get on The Lone Gunmen show. Hopefully that will happen at some point.

Mutato1121: Are any of you working on anything other than The X-Files or Lone Gunmen series?

albinopigeon: How many hours do you work a week??

John: How many hours are there?

Frank: I figure each of us works at least 70-80 hours a week, which leaves very little time for doing anything else.

Max42: Will we be getting any closure for Byers and Susanne Modeski in the new series?

XPhreak: Will Susanne Modeski make an appearance?

Vince: I’d like to see Susanne Modeski come back at some point. She’s a fun character and Byers’ unrequited love for her would be interesting to address. Look for it in an upcoming episode. Provided we go past this first season.

Adamrs: Will Morris Fletcher be on “The Lone Gunmen”?

Frank: I wouldn’t be surprised!

Vince: I wouldn’t be surprised either too!

John: I wouldn’t be surprised either too!

Erynn: What’s the most evil thing you’ve done to the gunmen so far?

Frank: There are so many….

Vince: But it’s done with love.

John: Each week we try to top ourselves.

Vince: But not to give anyone the wrong idea. We don’t want to torture them. It’s just that we find ourselves putting them into increasingly bizarre situations in the hopes of it being funny.

Frank: One thing you will realize about the Lone Gunmen in their own series is that as smart as they may be behind a computer, they are extremely inept at many other things in life.

Vince: Just like the three of us are.

John: Speak for yourself!

Vince: This is the first real power any of us have had in our lives, and we’re using it, baby!

Erynn: What has been your favorite episode so far to write?

Frank: I have truly loved every episode we’ve done. They’ve all been funny and sweet and exciting. I particularly like two we did recently, one involving death row and the other involving the tango.

Vince: I have to agree. Every episode that we’ve worked on becomes more and more fun. One thing I should say, too, is that this show is really sweet at its core, meaning that we love and respect the characters even though we get them into some odd situations. But in our minds, at least, it’s never mean-spirited.

John: Each episode is different in so many ways that it’s impossible for me to pick a favorite. They are all great for different reasons.

Scully7: How long does it take you guys to come up with a kick ass script?

CRSJ: Does it take the same number of days to create a LGM episode as an XFiles episode? I heard you work very long hours to make an XFiles episode.

John: In TV production, you write as long as you can before shooting, so as the season goes on, you have less time to make as good a script. It’s not how long it takes, it’s how long we have.

Vince: That’s why as the season progresses, the episodes get crappier.

John: Vince is very tired. It’s time for his medication.

florence: Did you ever write something that the actor refused to do?

Frank: No, but I’m still trying.

florence: How did you come up with each Lone Gunmen’s name?

Vince: Glen Morgan and Jim Wong initially created the characters and gave them the last names Frohike, Byers and Langly. For “Unusual Suspects,” we gave them first names. John Fitzgerald Byers is named for JFK, of course. That was part of the plot for that episode. He was born the day after JFK was assassinated, hence the name. And the names Ringo and Melvin we just kind of pulled out of a hat.

Courtney_fanofVinceG: I skipped my calculus homework just to spend the evening with you three. What do you think of how devoted we x-philes are?

Vince: God bless you! Now, DO your homework… No, seriously, we love all the fans because we wouldn’t be sitting here doing this chat without them. We wouldn’t be employed! I’d be spraying Windex on the sneeze-plate at the salad bar at Wendy’s. Frank would be selling shotguns at Walmart, and John….

John: I’d go back to male modeling.

Vince: Yes, the underwear section of the Sears catalog. Your work is quite good.

Max42: How’d you guys come up with the idea to make the show so “interactive,” with the e-com-con site and what not?

Frank: We have a brilliant Internet producer named Robin Benty. She comes up with all these great ideas and then we pretend like they are ours.

Chiller: Do you ever have trouble keeping all the pieces of the conspiracy together in your heads (and scripts)?

John: It’s easy because it’s all true!

Frank: Yes, are you kidding? Who doesn’t? I am amazed and confounded that people have been willing to follow The X-Files conspiracy for 8 years now, not only willing, but still very interested. I can’t believe such a large audience is interested in such a complicated, even convoluted, storyline. It’s been so rewarding.

FOXcom_Host: Thanks to Vince, John and Frank! Say goodbye to them!

John: Tune in Sunday night!

Vince: Watch our show! We don’t want it to die a horrible death like Harsh Realm did.

Frank: It’s been wonderful chatting with you. We love this show and we hope you do, too!