Season 10 of The X-Files (and yes, take it from superfan Kumail Nanjiani: They’re calling it season 10) made its U.S. debut at New York Comic-Con on Saturday with an episode that was at once new and familiar. “We tried to pull things from the distant past and make them relevant to today,” said series creator Chris Carter. “We’re trying to be honest to the time we live in. When they talk about the new world order, it’s something with a lot of scope.”
Nanjiani, who appears in an episode of the new season, approves. “You always think, ‘How do you do horror and sci-fi in the world of Google and texting?’ Monster attacks — just call 911!” he said. “I thought they did a good job of not ignoring all of those problems but weaving them into the story.”
For star David Duchovny (Fox Mulder), the passage of time was more personal: Seven years after we last saw him, Mulder is “a slightly different person just by virtue of his age. And it’s the same with Scully for Gillian [Anderson], I would imagine,” says Duchovny. But although the Mulder we meet in the premiere is a little down and out, the actor promises that “things will change. He’ll pick up. Business will pick up.” And some things never change. “I always liked his willingness,” Duchovny says of his character. “He’s like Don Quixote. He was always going to keep on trying to win, trying to prove. And I like that — there’s something beautiful in that.”
The foundations of the series also remain the same. Carter says that Mulder and Scully’s relationship was the most important element to maintain, even though we find them at a new point in their story. “The romantic tension is always there, whether they’re together or whether they’re apart,” says the showrunner. “Tad O’Malley [Joel McHale] comes in and creates a bridge between two characters who are not living under the same roof… When Scully says that their relationship was ‘impossible,’ that’s tension, because now they’re thrown together again.”
In the end, says Carter, “the reason we’re doing this show is for the hardcore fans. They made us a hit and this show is for them. If we can attract a new audience at the same time, that would be fantastic, and … we give something to a new audience, but we don’t hit it over the head too hard. This is really for the people who have watched the show before, but it could also be for a new audience.”
Here’s what else the team behind the show had to say:
- Fans can expect to hear more about William, Mulder and Scully’s child, whom Scully gave up for adoption late in the series. “You’ll get more clues throughout the course of the episodes,” promises Carter. Says Duchovny, “Mulder wants to know, too.”
- What we learn about what’s transpired between Mulder and Scully won’t be unveiled through flashbacks. “It’s going to try to stay in the present,” Carter explains. “We’ll deal with the here and now and trust that people will understand where they’ve come from.”
- None of the new episodes will be sequels to old stories.
- Had the new season run for 10 to 12 episodes (it’s now booked for six), Duchovny says, “I was going to write one and direct one — maybe direct a couple of them, because I could be a little light in one or two. But when it became six, there’s just no fair way for me to be absent that much.”
- McHale’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner was part of what inspired Carter to cast him. “Little did I know he was an X-Files fan,” says the showrunner.
- Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner) theorized that his character “obviously has some connection to somebody with a lot of power,” given what he’s able to get done for Mulder and Scully.
- Nanjiani teased the third episode of the series, on which he guest stars: “It’s truly mind blowing,” he says of the episode, which is written and directed by one of his favorite writers, Darin Morgan. Nanjiani promises a comedic script that turns “profound” by the end. “It’s a really great episode for Mulder’s character — it comes at a very specific point in his journey with the X-Files. It’s really moving. It’s a take on a really old idea: someone turning into a monster and turning back. It’s a new version of that story that I’ve never seen before.”
- As for the future of the characters, Duchovny says, “It’s always open. Even if we died in an explosion, we could always come back.”