The band is back together again. "X-Files" creator Chris Carter was joined by series stars David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi at New York Comic-con as the actors met with fans and discussed the show's enduring appeal nearly 25 years after it first premiered.
Why has the show had such an enduring appeal?
CC: I think it really has to do with Mulder and Scully. Those characters and their relationships and the respect they give one another. It’s also the kind of stories we tell and the way we tell them. It’s the tonal shifts. The show is not one thing all the time. We can do comedy episodes, thriller episodes and what people call 'monster of the week' episodes. I think the X-Files has always been a variety of things, and that’s been one of its big virtues.
What's been the biggest surprise returning after a long hiatus?
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CC: Just how good everyone looks. It’s incredible. You look at David and Gillian and they just look amazing.
David you have a sturdy foundation with Mulder after all these years. Coming back to the show for this new season was there anything you new or nuanced you wanted to throw into the mix?
DD: That may be in the back of my mind, but that’s not really fair. I can’t say all of the sudden 'Hey guys I want purple hair.' Mulder is who he is. The show is what it is. My job, as the guy who plays him, is to just make sure its as believable or funny or scary or as real as it can be and not cater to my own whims as an actor who wants to be seen one way or the other who wants to suddenly show up with a French accent.
Did you envision in 1993 you'd still be playing the character almost 25 years later?
DD: (Laughs) Well the way you put it sounds like a nightmare. So probably yeah. But, no I never thought... I remember agreeing to do the pilot and thinking I don’t really want to do television. So your life and career happens while you’re making other plans. Having said that I have no regrets and at this point nothing but gratitude. Not only is the work itself on this show gratifying, but its enabled me to have a career that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. I remember talking with my manager at the time and saying it's a show about aliens. I like the pilot so lets do it and then I won’t worry about having to do TV because nobody is going to want to watch this. It’ll be a good pilot, but it'll never catch on. That’s why I’m an actor and not in marketing.
Gillian your character is a trailblazer of sorts in bringing strong women to the science fiction genre on television.
GA: Before the X-files it was "Baywatch" pretty much. So seeing a professional, intelligent, equal female on TV very much started with her. So the fact that that was the beginning of the conversation and has spread and been emulated ad nauseam is gratifying.
Was it difficult for you jumping back into character?
GA: One of the biggest questions for me as an actor... coming back to something after so much time... is the fact that I don’t look a lot like the young Scully. My face is much more angular. Obviously I’ve aged a few decades. So if that's the case and I'm emulating someone who exists in celluloid so much younger, what are the elements of her that are still evident and which elements are appropriate and which elements are inappropriate because they are a matter of ones age. So that’s been an ongoing conundrum in trying to do right by her.
Mitch, has the nature of fandom changed since the show's original run?
MP: They have a lot more access to us. I have a really good relationships with the fans. I do a lot of conventions, so I meet a lot of people and I become friends with a lot of them. So now it’s a little worrisome in that now they know me. So when they watch me and they watch Skinner, they’re like 'No it doesn’t ring true.' And being active on social media I worry about that too because you worry about them becoming too familiar with who I am, so when they watch the role that I play it doesn’t sit right.
You ever talk with Chris about a Skinner spin-off?
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MP: You know when they spun "The Lone Gunmen" off I went to Chris and said 'What the hell is going on? You’re spinning them off? What about Skinner?' And he looks and me and he goes 'Well, what would it be about?' I was like I have no idea. But there there is a Skinner-centric episode coming up in this new batch that I’m very excited about.
The 10-episode 11th season of "The X-Files" returns in January 2018.