“We’ve traditionally ended on a cliffhanger,” X-Files creator Chris Carter tells EW, “and this is as big a cliffhanger as we’ve ever done.” And how: The hit revival of Carter’s paranoia-chic supernatural saga ended with an apparent epidemic threatening to kill most of the human race, including Agent Mulder (David Duchovny) — and that was before a mysterious UFO appeared, with a spotlight pointed directly at Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson). We talked to Carter about what this could mean for The X-Files‘ future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The episode explained how William B. Davis’ Smoking Man survived the explosive 2002 series finale. How did you decide on bringing him back that way?
CHRIS CARTER: I liked the idea that he was burned almost to death, yet survived somehow. Like the Devil himself, he can’t be burned by his own fire. It was a surprising, but not incredible, way to bring him back.
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The Smoking Man seems to answer lots of questions regarding the conspiracy. How much of what he said can we trust?
I think there’s still nothing you can take out of this that is necessarily definitive. He’s a liar. So to believe him, ever, is at your own peril. What I think we’ve seen here, in these six episodes, is a recasting of the conspiracy, a recasting of the Cigarette Smoking Man’s role it, and an escalation of the Conspiracy’s timetable.
Does the Smoking Man care about Mulder? And if so, why?
I think he truly loves Mulder. It is kind of paternal. I think he respects Mulder. I think he believes Mulder is a great enemy.
The events of the finale radically change the world around Mulder and Scully. Do you see The X-Files ever returning to a point where they are back to investigating individual cases for the FBI?
This is a situation that doesn’t preclude telling future X-Files stories, if they can find their way out of this. So, while I see this as a situation that’s grave — and possibly doomed! — I would say, wait and see.
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Agents Miller and Einstein returned for the finale. Do you see them as a part of the series going forward?
I don’t know. I can tell you right now that [Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell] are two terrific actors.
People spent years looking forward to seeing Mulder and Scully together again. Clearly you’re a sociopath, since you kept them apart for almost the entirety of this finale.
[Laughs] I feel like there was a nod to people who want them to be together again in episode 5. And I think that they are forever connected, whether romantically or not.
Have you had a conversation about continuing the series, either on television or in feature-film form?
In a conversation I had today, actually, it was suggested that there’s an appetite for more. When that will be, I have no idea. I wasn’t trying to set up a movie [with this finale], just an ongoing story. But I would like to do a big tentpole summer release movie, if we were to do another movie.
There was a lot of talk about Mulder and Scully’s son, William, throughout the revival right up until the closing minutes. In the next phase of this story, will they find him?
That search is primary for them, along with solving the bigger mysteries. I think it defines their lives.