First look: ‘X-Files’ returns to theaters, minus alien mythology
By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES – The sequel is out there.
The conspiracy theories will not be.
Ten years after the first film and six years after the show went off the air, The X-Files returns to theaters with Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and a lot riding on the bet that fans want more of the FBI’s paranormal-investigating agents.
The film, which remains without a formal title, will dump the long-running “mythology” plotline that aliens live among us and are part of a colonizing effort that made it one of the most popular television shows in the late 1990s but ultimately drove away some viewers who found it too complex and ambiguous.
“We spent a lot of time on (the mythology) and wrapped up a lot of threads” when the show went off the air in 2002, says Chris Carter, creator of the series and director of the new movie. “We want a stand-alone movie, not a mythology conspiracy one.”
That will come as welcome news to fans of the show’s stand-alone episodes, which included cults, ghosts, psychics and ancient curses.
Carter refuses to divulge any plot points of the movie, but says he wanted to make the film immediately after the show ended. A contractual dispute with 20th Century Fox kept it on the shelf until the case was settled out of court.
He says the delay may turn out to be a blessing.
“There’s a whole audience I want to introduce X-Files to,” Carter says. “There were kids who couldn’t watch it on TV because it was too scary. Now they’re in college. I wanted a movie that everyone could go to.”
Whether they will could be a test of the show’s legacy, says Blair Butler of the G4TV network, which caters to video-game enthusiasts and science-fiction fans.
“At its strongest, it had really creepy stand-alone episodes,” she says. “They turned it into a great franchise. But a lot of years have passed. We’ll see if it’s fallen off the radar.”
She says the film could benefit from an ironic twist: the Writers Guild strike.
“I think it could be a sort comfort food for the people who loved how original the show was and aren’t seeing original TV now,” she says.
But Carter believes they’ll be drawn by something else: the show’s stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
“For me, The X-Files has always been a romance,” he says. “They had an intellectual romance that’s very rare and restrained compared to so many relationships on TV. I think that’s what appealed most to the fans. And they’re back.”