After weeks of intense intrigue and even fading hopes, Fox finally announced that "The X-Files" will return for an eighth season in the fall. And so, too, will series creator Chris Carter and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. However, Duchovny signed on for only 11 episodes, or half a season.
"I know "The X-Files' is a show that still has plenty of mileage left on it," Carter says by telephone from his production office in Los Angeles. "There are lots of stories to tell.
"What you don't want to do is go forward with people who are uninterested in doing the work. I wanted to make sure that, if we went forward, everybody was excited about continuing to do good work, that it wasn't just a payday and a trip to the bank.''
Carter and company were prepared, albeit reluctantly, to carry on without Duchovny. The actor's compromise deal - which also settles his acrimonious lawsuit with Fox over syndication revenues - creates both challenges and opportunities.
"I think it will certainly throw an emphasis on Scully," Carter says, referring to Anderson's character. "I think we'll get to explore the paranormal in a way we haven't before. I think you got a hint of that in Gillian's episode, "All Things' (which she wrote and directed).
"I think we're going to look at mythological and perhaps fantasy and magic realism in ways we hadn't really explored before. There are other areas I think the show can expand into beautifully.''
Even as he was fighting for the future of "The X-Files," Carter was looking to its past - literally. Carter spent a great deal of time readying all 24 first-season episodes of "The X-Files" for release on DVD.
Just now in stores from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, "The X-Files" Season One DVD Gift Pack sells for $149.98 and features seven disks that serve up the series pilot and all subsequent freshman year episodes, as well as Carter interviews, episode teasers, "Behind the Truth" segments, deleted footage and an 11-minute documentary dubbed "The Truth About Season One.''
"We've been such sticklers for quality and the thing I'm happy about is that the effort and the attention to detail are now rewarded because we've got a format that lets us really showcase all that hard work," Carter says. "Our philosophy was, "We're making a little movie each week.'''
Carter describes screening the old episodes again as a "walk down Memory Lane." As for the best stops along the way, he picks "Beyond the Sea," ""Deep Throat," ""The Erlenmeyer Flask," ""Squeeze," ""Darkness Falls" and "Miracle Man.''
Two other top-notch episodes from the first season are "Tooms," a classic creepfest that introduced Skinner (Mitch Pileggi), and "E.B.E.," a conspiracy episode that marked the arrival of that intrepid trio of paranoids, the Lone Gunmen (Tom Braidwood, Bruce Hardwood and Dean Haglund). Come the fall, Carter and Fox will unleash the boys in their very own spin-off series entitled - what else? - "The Lone Gunmen," with the pilot directed by "X-Files" veteran Rob Bowman.
"We had done episodes devoted to them and they were all successful," Carter says. "They were fun to do. This was a chance to take our enthusiasm and turn it into another storytelling vehicle.
"I think it's going to be very different from "The X-Files.' It will be kooky and fun. It's a chance to develop (the characters of) three completely unlikely heroes who are kind of postmodern nerds. Something I think people are very familiar with now, in this age of technology.''
Carter intends to be "super-involved" in the day-to-day
production of "The Lone Gunmen," which will film in
Vancouver, British Columbia, while also overseeing "The
X-Files" in Los Angeles and prepping the script for "The
World of Ted Serios," a film he'll direct.
Sometimes, admits Carter - who also pulled double and triple
duty in recent years by guiding "The X-Files" feature and the
quickly axed series "Harsh Realm" - he wishes there were two
"I tease people that I'm like a chicken," he says,
laughing. "There's no part of me they don't use.''
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