A decade after “The X-Files: Fight the Future” grossed $84 million in theaters, proving that Chris Carter’s fantastical tales of alien abductions and elaborate government conspiracies were more than just a small-screen sensation, Mulder and Scully are back on the FBI’s clock in “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” opening this week.
The only question is where their latest investigation will lead.
Well, the truth may be out there, but neither Carter nor his stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, are talking. Much.
“I want to tell the truth,” Duchovny says with a bemused grin. “There are different genres of ‘X-Files’ shows — there’s horror, thrillers, comedies and alien-oriented episodes. This is more a classic return to the horror-thriller genre, which is what the show started out at as.”
While dedicated X-Filers have kept Carter’s vision alive through complex works of fan fiction and exhaustive deconstructions of the series, which concluded in 2002 after nine seasons, those hoping for a movie to pick up where the show left off may be disappointed.
Rather than revisiting six-year-old story arcs, Carter decided his latest stab at mythmaking should stand alone.
“It struck me, talking to college-age kids, that many of them really don’t know the show,” he says. “A 20-year-old today would have been too young when the show debuted, so there’s a whole new audience for ‘The X-Files.’ This film was made to satisfy them, as well as our longtime fans.”
Despite Mulder and Scully’s decade long absence from theaters, Carter insists the “X-Files” saga was never far from his mind, and that “I Want to Believe” isno nostalgic indulgence. For him, it simply came down to finding the right story and re-immersing himself in the strange universe inhabited by his two lead characters.
For Duchovny and Anderson, returning to those characters and re-establishing their unique dynamic was only briefly a challenge.
Though Anderson admits that finding Scully’s voice again was difficult at first — “since the show ended, I’ve been doing everything in my power to take roles that were very different from Scully,” she explains — both she and Duchovny were thrilled to resume their quest to explain the paranormal.
“It was always my hope that we would get to do one of these every five or six years,” says Duchovny. “When I was getting off the television show I was never like, ‘Screw the show, screw this character, screw you.’ I love the show, I love working with Gillian, I love Chris. So if we can pull that off, that would be great. If not, I’m perfectly happy with the amount of work we’ve done as Mulder and Scully.”