On an abandoned farm on the outskirts of Vancouver B.C., we found paranormal detectives Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) investigating the curious case of a possible alien abductee (played by Annet Mahendru of The Americans) at the behest of a most curious ally, the host of a conservative talk show (Community’s Joel McHale). Of course, the last time we saw our heroes (the 2008 feature film The X-Files: I Want To Believe), Mulder and Scully were out of the bizarre-adventures business. He was living on the fringe, she was a doctor working at a Catholic hospital; they were sometimes lovers who just wanted the weird world to leave them alone. Much has changed for them since then.
“Mulder’s not in a great place,” says Duchovny, looking shabby in gray tee, shoes without shoelaces, and much stubble. “He’s wearing bad jeans, so you can just extrapolate from my wardrobe. He’s in a dark, dark place.”
Scully’s looking more put-together in a skirt suit and high heels. “I like where we find Mulder and Scully in their relationship,” says Anderson, adding that she’s equally engaged by the political resonance of the story Chris Carter has conceived for the revival. “I also like the area of zeitgeist that we step in to. It’s on point and raises some very interesting issues. And question marks.”
Carter — whose original series tapped into the anxious strains of 1990s culture — says the new series is inspired by new century concerns. “The X-Files ended right after 9/11,” says Carter. “A lot has happened since then. A lot of rollback of rights and liberties in the name of our protection. We’re being spied on now, we’re being lied to — all things that, for me, remind me of when I grew up, which was right around Watergate. I think we’re in similar and much more dire times right now.”
The new X-Files isn’t all scary political allegory. In addition to a hot take on the show’s conspiracy mythology, fans will get monster-of-the-week episodes from Carter and three other key writers from the original series, James Wong, Glen Morgan, and Darin Morgan, whose inspired, idiosyncratic scripts from back in the day (“Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”; “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’”) earned him a cult following. The title of his revival offering: “Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Man.” And sorry, internet, but you’re wrong: The second episode, entitled “Home Again,” won’t be a sequel to the infamously queasy horror opus “Home,” a lunatic love story about deformed, inbred children and the limbless mother they keep under their bed.
While you can expect to see some old faces (including Mitch Pileggi as FBI boss Skinner and William B. Davis as the nefarious Cigarette Smoking Man), don’t expect to see the same old monsters. “We’re not going to reboot any of the old favorites, although it was something we all thought about,” says Carter. “These are all brand new stories. We hope to scare you in brand new ways.”