For our next roundtable chat based on a key X-Files question… Could The X-Files survive without Mulder & Scully?
TONY: “Yes… and no. I think the premise absolutely can go beyond these two characters, no question. But the moment Chris Carter made us care about Mulder & Scully, the moment DD & GA made them iconic 90’s symbols of pop culture, they became The X-Files as much as the aliens or monsters. The premise could stand but the show wouldn’t last long without them. If they reboot it and start again one day with new characters… maybe. Not as the show is right now.”
SAM: “I am biased because I bloody love Gillian Anderson, but I think it could survive without Mulder, but not Scully. For me, she’s the better character and I always enjoyed the Scully heavy episodes the most. I think she’s the most identifiable character and the most enjoyable to watch on screen.”
SARAH: “I think FOX and Chris Carter stumbled on the magic formula with DD and GA. I don’t know that Mulder and Scully would have even been Mulder and Scully without them. In that sense, I think no, TXF wouldn’t be TXF without Mulder and Scully. Any two other actors on the planet might have informed it differently, and it could have been like Tony said; we would have had a great premise. Maybe it would have been more like a paranormal Law & Order with characters possibly fading in and out over the years. For me, personally, when DD left the show it stopped being The X-Files. I can’t even stand to watch those episodes. It feels like some other show that was on for awhile. So, yeah, The X-Files needs Mulder and Scully, but only because David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson made them indispensable.”
CARL: “I think The X-Files could survive without them, and that’s what I would like to see eventually. Don’t get me wrong – Duchovny & Anderson as Mulder & Scully are lightning in a bottle, and almost impossible to beat as a pairing. The central premise of a division of the FBI devoted to paranormal cases that reflect anxieties in the USA is incredibly strong, though. For a next-generation X-Files show to work there would have to be quite a clean break from the original series. Doggett & Reyes never really had a chance, due in no small part to the show’s reluctance to leave Mulder & Scully in the past. I do think, though, that an X-Files series with a new cast would have to come out of the blocks strongly. I don’t think TV shows now are given the same time to find their feet, and if a next-gen X-Files didn’t work straight away, it may be short-lived.”
SAM: “I agree, in part. I think if they rebooted it with a new cast, they would find it very hard to get the old fans on board. But, it would also be great to see a modern show for the current generation to latch on to.”
SARAH: “I think the Lore podcast that Amazon picked up to produce as a series is going to fit into that niche nicely. It won’t have the FBI connection, but it will have the paranormal angle that makes the X-Files creepy and fun. Would a clean break from the original show still really be The X-Files? I’m just not sure. I think a paranormal procedural show featuring the FBI would be fantastic. I’d totally watch it. But I don’t know if it would/should still be The X-Files.”
SAM: “I suppose if they’re going to have a totally clean break, then it should be called something else. Otherwise, it’s like they’re just hanging on the coat tails.”
TONY: “Spot on by Carl there IMO, I agree entirely. Let’s face it, we’ve had a modern X-Files show. It was called Fringe. Now I really liked Fringe, but it only hit its stride when it stopped trying to just be TXF & embraced all the parallel universe stuff, became a lot more serialized. That, too, became more about Olivia, Peter & Walter than the premise. For the TXF ‘premise’ to hold, and that’s what we’re talking about here, the show would need to reboot without Mulder & Scully as characters. And that’s a bit like rebooting Star Trek the original series and not having Kirk & Spock. It would be a hard sell.”
CARL: “Star Trek is an interesting comparison. If Star Trek can spin-off into various other shows, some of which I understand are very good, is there any reason The X-Files can’t?”
SAM: “I disagree. I think with Star Trek, so many characters were ‘main’ characters that spin offs and reboots were fine. But TXF IS Mulder & Scully.”
SARAH: “And I think there’s a difference between a spinoff and reboot.”
CARL: “A reboot would be much harder to do effectively, I think.”
SAM: “Also true. I don’t think the x files could stand either, to be honest, if it was sans M&S.”
SARAH: “I think a spinoff could work. I’d love for Skinner to have his own show. Even if he reopened TXF with newer agents. And technically there was that Lone Gunmen spinoff, but…. well…”
SAM: “I just can’t think of any existing x files characters that I would like to see in a spin off…”
SARAH: “Haha, I’ll always vote for seeing more of Skinner.”
CARL: “If 24: Legacy is a big success next year, it’s possible Fox might go for a Next-Generation X-Files at some point. Get ready for the Miller & Einstein show everyone!”
SARAH: “I think I’d rather be abducted by aliens.”
BAZ: “Definitely not Miller & Einstein! As to the question, I’m not sure it can. It almost got there with season nine. Doggett was a great character, given room to develop alongside Scully and then Mulder. He could have carried the show on and Reyes had potential. Mulder and Scully could have been let go at the end of season eight and The X Files could have continued without them, but the show held on to them and made it about Mulder’s absence and Scully and William rather than The X Files: The Next Generation, which it could have been.
I don’t think it can be done again though – the sheer chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the revival proved that. That is what fans wanted to see more than anything. Unless they can develop another character like Doggett (I don’t think Robert Patrick would come back full time and Annabeth Gish’s Reyes was ruined by that last episode), bringing them into the show effectivelly alongside Mulder and Scully, I don’t believe a show without them would ever work.
MICHAEL: “I think the “X-Files” will always be at the FBI & there will always be an agent or two interested in them, but as for the television series The X-Files, no. There’s a reason the series was cancelled after Season 9, and I believe that’s because Mulder was out and Scully was on her way after him. Watching “The Truth” feels like the show got back to its roots and felt so removed from Season 9 as a whole that it proved the need for Duchovny and Anderson. Mulder is the one who really began the X-Files, from episode 1, and without Scully to guide him, support him, and challenge him, his work would never really matter. It’s the same way with the TV series.
Without Mulder and Scully working together to solve the paranormal and the unexplained, The X-Files has no life. Sure, Miller and Einstein are essentially younger copies of Mulder and Scully, but they don’t share the same history as the characters nor chemistry as the actors who portray them. The X-Files is Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Even hardcore fans, and even those who just casually watch, who enjoy Doggett & Reyes/Miller & Einstein (and I’m one of them) will always see The X-Files as Mulder & Scully, and it’ll never change. Could FOX continue the series without DD & GA? Yeah, sure they could, but should they? No. I want to believe, but when it comes to this I can no longer be the believer, only the skeptic.”
PAIGE: “I think The X-Files could go on without Mulder and Scully, if it was done right. Bringing in young carbon copies Miller and Einstein does not get the job done and only alienates the existing base. I’m a big supporter of Doggett and Reyes, two very different drawn-out characters. But let’s face it, I don’t really want to go on without Mulder and Scully.”
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your choices in the comments below or on social media!