ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: How heavily should Chris Carter be involved in S11 (and beyond)?

For our next roundtable chat based on a key X-Files question…

How heavily should Chris Carter be involved in S11 and beyond?

Chris Carter

TONY: “This one is simple for me: completely. I’ve compared Chris Carter before to Gene Roddenberry, the only difference being Carter can actually on his day tell compelling stories with real dramatic stakes, which Roddenberry struggled with. Both however understood the zeitgeist, the current, and Carter in particular has a learned concept of myth in terms of character and narrative. Much as I think he’s best served with strong creative forces around him, I can’t conscience an X-Files without him at the helm. It simply wouldn’t be the show we grew to love. If we do get a Season 11 (still hopeful!), I hope he’s once again the main driving force, because people underestimate his skill as a storyteller.”

CHARNETTE: “I would love to see him involved but not as heavily as he had been in season 10. I like his ideas but sometimes, he really has no idea about the characters he’s created… like breaking up Mulder and Scully in season 10 because Scully diagnosed him as depressed? the fact that after so long, they’re not even married… well that’s actually a matter of opinion but I honestly feel the depression thing was badly done.”

SAM: “I think Chris Carter should be involved but not at the expense of the show- it’s his baby but he’s written some stinkers in the past! I think getting some current writers on board would be ace- like when Stephen King was involved in ‘Chinga’.”

CHARNETTE: “Scully is a forensic pathologist. She isn’t qualified to make that sort of diagnosis. I also feel like it was a terrible reason for them to break up and I hate even more it was never discussed in the show and they kept acting like they were sort of together.”

SAM: “I don’t know about Stephen King; he really has a problem writing women, and Scully is a character I feel that needs consistent writing, unlike what’s she’s had past season 5. That’s just how I feel though; I am not a fan of the later seasons. As someone who enjoys the work, I love it, but as a writer, I cannot excuse the writing that took place after a while because it was incredibly inconsistent and for a show that started off so strong, it was a shame to watch the characters become a former shadow of themselves at times. I don’t think they were ever married, were they? Don’t think Mulder would be into marriage.”:

CHARNETTE: “Although they could have been common law spouses. Which is fine, but then it’s like okay so they’re together for more than a decade now and Scully leaves because Mulder is depressed? I personally was very bothered by that because I suffer from depression and one of the things that people that have it worry about is that people will get tired and leave them. And I felt that was so out of character for Scully.”

SAM: “Hmmm… I think it would be aScullyy thing to do. She’s done it because she knows that sticking together is probably not the best for either of them.”

ALLY: “I am torn because I don’t feel Chris Carter really understands that a huge part of the success of the show is down to the Mulder/Scully dynamic but at the same time, without him the show would never have come to be. Would the show be better without him? Maybe. But to not have him at the helm would make it feel like a huge betrayal and as a fan, that would hit me pretty hard. To go out on a limb, if season 11 were to happen with the original cast then CC should be there with them but if a ‘franchise’ were to happen with a new cast he should surrender the reins to someone else.”

SAM: “Mulder would stick with her forever, Scully has to be the adult. A friend of mine had recently got divorced from her husband for the same reasons- he needs his own space and needs to think about himself. But also, it was affecting her life in many negative ways. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to be apart.”

CHARNETTE: “I agree with you 100% and in the end, I reconciled that in my head canon as what happened to cause them to part, however my point is that nothing was touched or elaborated on. I really feel it should have been discussed. It was a really important part of the show, regardless of how much he thought it mattered or not, the fact of the matter is a lot of people care about it, so I feel not addressing it was a faux pas.”

SARAH: “I’d like to absolutely see CC in a producer/director role again. I think that’s where his talents are strongest. I love his writing, and think he definitely has great ideas, but also needs someone to rein him in and keep him focused. When dealing with such a short season, I’d love to see something that pulls everything together. Season 10 was enjoyable, but felt very random and unplanned overall.”

ALLY: “You guys bring up really good points and I definitely agree, someone should rein him in. I don’t think they really knew which direction to take things in Sarah and certainly had no concept that feelings still ran so strong within the fandom. I think though, that the approach to season 11 would be very much more measured.”

SARAH: “I’d love to be a fly on the wall of a writer’s room with Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, David Duchovny, and Darin Morgan. Just writing that scenario down gave me happy heart palpitations.”

SAM: “Yes, I think everything was too rushed in S11 and that’s why it was all kind of ropey. Part of me wishes that they’d left the mythology alone because they didn’t do it justice; but at the same time, it wouldn’t have been The X-Files without it.”

MICHAEL: “Personally I think Carter has to be involved in the series going forward to the degree of overseeing the mythology. The X-Files is his story, he started all of it and him not being around to finish it would be a real shame. As for the monster-of-the-week episodes, I don’t think he needs to be involved there unless there’s a specific story that he wants to tell. Keep Carter involved in the mythology and with Mulder and Scully as characters, they’re his and he should still have say in what they do and who they become.”

CHARNETTE: “He needs a designated driver in terms of writing, I feel. I mean, is this not the same person who has variously said, “Mulder and Scully are platonic friends,” “They are not in love”, “they are each other’s human credential”, made a claim that they were married, and then said they weren’t, and on top of all that, gave them a baby?? I know a lot of fans joke about it but that really doesn’t sound platonic to me.”

BAZ: “I think CC never wanted them together but given how long the show went on and in bowing to peer pressure, he finally committed to it. After all, the chemistry between these two characters (and Duchovny / Anderson) is amazing. But when we finally saw them as a couple in the second movie, it was all a little dull. Same thing with William – I don’t think he ever got as far as thinking what to do with Scully’s child after he was born, hence abandoning him later in season nine. As for Chris Carter’s involvement? He should be involved. It is his baby. But his three episodes were definitely the weakest of s10 and that needs to be addressed as s11 goes into development. I think he should be showrunner but needs someone like Vince Gilligan or Frank Spotniz to temper him. He has great ideas, but doesn’t always win on the execution. Also, he needs to treat s11 like the end, even if it isn’t. And that might help him work towards a conclusion rather than loosely making it up (which is what s10 felt like).”

CARL: “I’m more pro-Carter than most here, it seems. He’s an excellent showrunner and I want him at the helm of any follow-up to the revival. He lets terrific writers do what they want within very reasonable parameters, which plays a large part in making The X-Files what it is. He has a tendency to take on a lot of work – I think a reasonable balance would see him writing about a third of any new episodes (which is about in line with what used to be happen during the original series). On the issue of Mulder & Scully’s pre-revival breakup, it always struck me as very plausible that their relationship would have suffered in the intervening years.”

TONY: “Yeah I really can’t imagine they would ever have gotten married. Much as Carter plays with it in I Want to Believe, Mulder & Scully just do not fit the 2.4 children traditional paradigm. Their relationship is too complex and mythic almost. It’s about a lot more than sex or companionship. Mulder is also way way too self-obsessed to be a decent husband to anyone!”

PAIGE: “I believe Chris Carter should be involved, yeah, he can play a little fast and loose with the show — but it’s his show. As long as DD and GA are around, CC should be around. It might not be perfect, but it’ll be his show. And occasionally he gets inspired to great heights.”

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your choices in the comments below or on social media!

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