A part time Mulder. A pregnant Scully. What does it all mean for The X-Files? by Dan Snierson
[large color photo of Mulder]
Jesus finally had his Second Coming. Chandler at long last popped the question. Yes, the TV season had officially drawn to a close, meaning everyone can toss their remotes and bask in the frivolous joys of summer. Well, everyone except those poor fans of The X Files, who are blinking blankly in front of their 27 inch Trinitrons, still reeling from a recent rash of paranormal activity.
On May 16, after a frenzy of speculation, Fox announced it would bring back the spooky seven year old drama for another season with or without holdout David Duchovny (Mulder). Then, less than two days later, on the eve of the network's fall schedule announcement, Duchovny agreed to return for 11 episodes - about half of a full season - for a reported $20 million. ("The last two weeks have been quite a roller coaster," understates exec producer Frank Spotnitz. "Every day I thought it could fall apart at any minute.")
Finally came Sunday's surprise-packed season finale (Mulder abducted! Scully pregnant!), leaving viewers, in typical Files fashion, with more queries than a U.S. Census long form. This time, however, we graciously did the work for you, providing answers to your burning questions.
How will The X Files deal with Duchovny's part time schedule?
A likely scenario, according to X-Files sources, will have the Duchovny episodes sprinkled throughout the year, though that's still being decided. To fill the Mulder void, they're looking to cast a new buddy for Scully (Gillian Anderson), a character that definitely won't be in the mold of the conspiracy-obsessed Mulder. Says X-Files creator Chris Carter: "Certainly Scully's character has evolved to this point now where she is a believer of sorts... I think that the partner would probably be a skeptic. And more likely than not it will be a man." (See below). The producers will also bulk up the roles of supporting characters like Skinner and Krycek (but not the Lone Gunmen, who will be starring in their own series). "We've got a lot of great players on the bench," says Spotnitz. "It makes sense to use those assets more heavily than we have in the past." Will we, perhaps, see more high-profile guest stars? "We've always hesitated to do that because we've felt it would take away from the show," says Carter. "But this may be an opportunity to do that."
Is next season the final one?
Don't bet the crop-circled farm on it. Carter hints the franchise could continue - even if both Duchovny and Anderson call it quits. "If we plan carefully, there could be [more seasons], but I'm not telling you that there will be," he says elusively. Which is why, he adds, choosing a new partner for Scully is "very important for not just this year but perhaps the future.... I still think there are a lot of stories to tell. If the characters worked, and we liked to write for them, I could say yes to another season."
[color photo of M&S in Requiem]
If Scully is really with child, who's the father?
This being the X Files, don't rule out aliens - or the possibility of Papa Mulder. "There was a [recent] episode written and directed by Gillian that began and ended in Mulder's bedroom," Carter teases. "That would certainly bring up some questions for me."
Did the producers shoot an alternative ending, as reported?
That's just crazy talk, insists Carter: "I would have played it the same way whether [Duchovny] came back or not." In fact, Carter says he's been planning Mulder's abduction and Scully's pregnancy since the start of the season. "I thought it was a finale that would work for any eventuality. And because we had planned to do movies, I thought that would be a place to pick up with those things." Perhaps the alternative-ending rumors stem from the producers' clandestine high jinks: Because they wanted to keep the prenatal plot under wraps, the pregnancy scene wasn't revealed to the crew until the night it was shot. "The last page of the script was never published," says Spotnitz. "That was a secret we were trying to hold as long as possible."
What the heck was Krycek doing in an African jail?
As usual, all roads lead to you-know-who. "Cigarette-Smoking Man put him in that prison as a result of [Krycek's] stealing information from him," says Carter. That explanation never made it into the final cut, he adds. And what are we to make of the return of U.N. babe Marita Covarrubias, miraculously cured of the alien cancer? "She actually got it from a test," says Carter. "But she was not dying, she was just weakened from the tests." Uh-huh. Guess it was one of those 24-hour alien bugs.
Didn't the aliens cure CSM of lung cancer a couple of seasons ago? Why was he dying of it again?
Says Carter: "Remember that he had an operation, which was the same operation that Mulder had where there was a transfer of genetic material. [Not really, but okay.] The operation didn't work. This is the result of that." Answer us this, then: Did Krycek's pushing CSM down the stairs finally kill that black-lunged bastard? "Wait 'til next season," Carter says. Now, *there's* a shocker!
(Additional reporting by Tricia Johnson)
Men in Black
Who will fill Mulder's flat-footed shoes? Exec producer Chris Carter will only say he wants a "very, very good actor," famous or not. Carter chuckled at our first suggestion - Martial Law's Sammo Hung. Here, some other deputy Duchovnys to ponder:
[there's a small color photo of each "contender"]
ERIC CLOSE UPSIDE The foxy star of the now-canceled Now and Again has the brawny charm to lighten Scully up. DOWNSIDE We might not care if Mulder ever came back.
NICHOLAS LEA UPSIDE The man behind Krycek- Cancer Man's former henchman - is a fan favorite to replace Duchovny. DOWNSIDE He's *much* more fun as a villain.
RALPH FIENNES UPSIDE Britain's smoldering Shakespearean is certainly a "very very good actor." DOWNSIDE Probably doesn't need the work.
KYLE MACLACHLAN UPSIDE Carter says he's actually talked to the Twin Peaks G-man over the years and would "like to find a way to work him in." DOWNSIDE Remember Showgirls?
GARRY SHANDLING UPSIDE He already played Mulder in a Duchovny-penned episode. DOWNSIDE Teamwork isn't his thing (see Hank Kingsley from The Larry Sanders Show).
UPSIDE The foul-mouthed South Park tot has experience with alien anal probes.
DOWNSIDE Way too animated for The X-Files.
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