It's been six years since The X-Files ended, answering some, but not all, of the many supernatural questions and conspiracy theories it dreamt up over its nine-year run. Series creator Chris Carter had closed for good the office doors of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. So how did he end up directing a new movie, this summer's The X-Files: I Want to Believe?
“I looked at it in one way as going backwards rather than forwards,” Carter says. “I never like to go backwards in life. But I was convinced that there was still tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the show and the characters. David Duchovny, who had tired of the show at some point, realized that he wasn't tired of it anymore and was very excited about doing another movie. His enthusiasm was infectious. Gillian Anderson was very enthusiastic, and Frank Spotnitz, my co-writer and a producer on the movie, sat and talked to me about all the good work there was to be done.”
The original series ran from 1993 to 2002, and its serialized storylines and paranormal happenings paved the way for shows like Lost and Prison Break. The first X-Files movie came out a decade ago, and Carter says the experience of making a sequel, even 10 years later, was actually better than making the first, because he and the cast and crew weren't busy with the television program. “The fact that we weren't doing a TV show made all the difference,” he says. “It was a much more focused experience. We didn't have all the pressures of doing the show. We weren't doing continuous script prep. Network, ratings, all those things. We worked under the radar, and that had a very beneficial effect on the work.”
So, what's the new movie about?
The series ended with Mulder and Scully on the run and the X-Files closed. Carter has been tight-lipped about plot details but says I Want to Believe picks up where things left off. “It is a direct connection to the end of the show,” he says. “But it is not a mythology episode, per se. It's not an alien story, and it doesn't involve a government conspiracy. But it's true to the characters and the end of the show.”
Hardcore X-Files fans have dragged Carter over the Internet's virtual coals for not coming up with more plot details—mum's the word isn't a popular concept in the current era of superhighway spoilers and on-the-set video blogs, which were all just ramping up in the X-Files heyday. But Carter, who has actually worked to plant disinformation among the masses, says the fans will be happier because the truth isn't out there.
“They're just being overanxious,” he says. “They really don't want to know. They just think they want to know. My wife hasn't seen the movie or read the script—the fans should appreciate that even my wife doesn't know what's coming.”
It's one mystery he's hoping that, at least until July 25 when The X-Files: I Want to Believe comes out, remains unsolved.