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X-tra Innings For THE X-FILES

As THE X-FILES heads into its ninth season, executive producer Frank Spotnitz discusses what to expect from a Mulder-less world

By Melissa J. Perenson     November 09, 2001

THE X-FILES 9th season core cast: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick, and Annabeth Gish
© 2001 Fox Broadcasting
In what seems to be turning into a rite of spring, as The X-Files was winding down last season the show's production team still didn't know whether season eight's final episode would indeed be the last episode of the series, or merely the final episode of the season.

And if it were the latter, it wasn't just the final episode of the seasonit was the final episode of The X-Files as audiences knew and loved it, where Mulder and Scully were at the center of the action. Actor David Duchovny made it clear that after limited participation in season eight, he was finished with the series.

It wasn't until just before the touching, if confusing, season finale aired that it was clear it was just thata season finale. The Fox network wanted to press oneven though creator Chris Carter hadn't reupped for another year with the show. Recalls executive producer Frank Spotnitz, "It was very down to the wire, because Chris didn't make a deal. He suggested to [the network] that, while they were unsure [of doing so], they approach me and John [Shiban] and Vince [Gilligan]. I wasn't sure about whether to even consider going forward without him. But with his blessings, we ultimately decided to do that." Carter didn't rejoin the series until it had been in production for about a month; once he was aboard, the direction of season nine was finalized and tweaked yet again.

Spotnitz acknowledges that

Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Walter Skinner on THE X-FILES.

the conclusion of season eight marked the end of something special. "I do think that last season's finale was the end of  eight years of the show, because it was the end of the Mulder-Scully era," he concurs, echoing the sentiments of many long-time fans. "The show has changed in a big way, and now this season it really becomes a three-lead show, if you consider Scully, Doggett, and Reyes as the lead characters. And Skinner [remains] very important as well; last year, Skinner was in 16 out of 21 episodes." The stories will continue the pattern of stand-alone monster-of-the-week episodes, with mythology episodes strategically scattered throughout the season around the television sweeps months. Additionally, Spotnitz will be directing again, taking his second turn behind the camera on the third episode of the season.

Mulder won't physically be present in the seriesaccording to Spotnitz, "David has not made a deal to appear in any more episodes, so at the present time there are no plans to see Mulder this season. And I can't answer anything about [whether we'll see] his likeness or anything like that."

That said, Spotnitz is the first to recognize how critical Mulder is to the series. Doing the show without him, he says, "is a big gamble, and you don't know how the audience is going to respond with the new characters and the new dynamic and the new chemistry that you're creating. Mulder is obviously a very important person in Scully's life, and we don't intend to ignore that. So whether he is seen on the show or not, what he means to Scully will remain. That's about all I can say without spoiling it."

Spotnitz pauses, then adds: "Obviously, it's a big mystery that will be answered very early in the season. I think the answer we found is respectful of everything and true, creatively, to the series."

The other mystery that

Gillian Anderson as Agent Dana Scully on THE X-FILES.

will be dealt with this season surrounds Scully's baby. "Even if you say that Mulder and Scully have sex and that this baby was apparently born out of that union, how did she get pregnant? She was told she was barren. And why did all of those aliens, if that's what they were, surround her and Reyes in Georgia and then leaveand leave her with the baby? How do you explain all of that? Those are big, worrisome questions that will be explored through all of next season."

Spotnitz indicates that the truth about Scully's baby will surprise people in the same, eerie way that the film The Sixth Sense managed to scare people. "I think a lot of it is going to be quiet fears about what the truth is surrounding the baby. But I don't want to give it away," he adds enigmatically, as always.

While Spotnitz declines to go into detail about Scully's role in the ninth season, he does indicate she's taking time out to adjust. "We understand and believe that Scully's character has had a profound change in her life. Her relationship with Mulder is no longer platonic, and that's a fact that will be acknowledged by the world at large, because there is a child," he says. The series opener is set just 48 hours after the end of season eight, and Scully is home on maternity leave with her infant son.

Picking up the slack is Annabeth Gish's Agent Monica Reyes, who, together with Doggett, is now working on the X-Files team. "She's got a lot of humor and quirkiness and sex appeal and warmth," Spotnitz says of Reyes. "She's a very different type of person than we've had on the show before, so it's been very interesting developing her character and seeing how she interacts with Doggett and Scully and Skinner, and the other people who populate the X-Files world."

Reyes isn't the only character we'll be seeing more of. The first two episodes touch A.D. Kersh, too. "You'll learn more about him in the first two episodes, because he's under fire," reveals Spotnitz. "Where we left off last season, Doggett accused him of being in collusion with the aliens, and he is really at war with Kersh as we come up to the new season."

Meanwhile, Doggett will

Agent Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) and John Doggett (Robert Patrick) at the morgue in the 2-part ninth season premiere of THE X-FILES.

continue to evolve; the foundation for his character was set in place last season. "And now that Reyes is partnered with him on the X-Files unit, you'll learn that there is more to their backstory and their relationship than we got to see last year," promises Spotnitz. We'll also learn more about who Reyes is and where she comes from.

While these new-kids-on-the-block are certainly trying to fill the void left by the absence of the Mulder-Scully partnership, "they're not clear-cut replacements for Mulder and Scully," maintains Spotnitz. "They're different characters, and they function differently."

Speaking of different characters, the colorful cast of supporting players will be expanded by two this season. Lucy Lawless and Cary Elwes will both be joining the series. Elwes will be a recurring character, while Lawless is set to appear in the first two episodeswith more a possibility down the stretch.

"One of the first things we knew we wanted to do at the end of the season was create a new character at the FBI. He's Monica Reyes' ex-boyfriend, and will sometimes be an antagonist to Doggett and the X-Files; at other times, he'll be an ally. When Cary came in to read with Annabeth, we thought he was the best choice," says Spotnitz of the casting of Elwes (best known from The Princess Bride).

Of Lawless' role, he'll only say this: "It was written specifically for her in the hope that she would take it. She's playing a character who has a lot of twists and turns to her, and you're not sure if she's good or bad."

Hmmm, sounds a lot like other characters who've made an indelible mark on the series in years past. A winning formula? Perhaps. Perhaps the new blood will succeed in transforming and reinventing The X-Files yet again.


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