''The X-Files''' 2000-2001 Season -- With Mulder only appearing for half the show and Scully pregnant, fans of the sci-fi hit are in for an odd season

By Dan Snierson
June 02, 2000 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Jesus finally had his Second Coming. Chandler at long last popped the question. Yes, the TV season has officially drawn to a close, meaning everyone can toss their remotes and bask in the frivolous joys of summer. Well, everyone except those poor fans of The X-Files, who are blinking blankly in front of their 27-inch Trinitrons, still reeling from a recent rash of paranormal activity.

On May 16, after a frenzy of speculation, Fox announced it would bring back the spooky seven-year-old drama for another season with or without holdout David Duchovny (Mulder). Then, less than two days later, on the eve of the network’s fall-schedule announcement, Duchovny agreed to return for 11 episodes — about half of a full season — for a reported $20 million. (”The last two weeks have been quite a roller coaster,” understates exec producer Frank Spotnitz. ”Every day I thought it could fall apart at any minute.”)

Finally came Sunday’s surprise-packed season finale (Mulder abducted! Scully pregnant!), leaving viewers, in typical Files fashion, with more queries than a U.S. Census long form. This time, however, we graciously did the work for you, providing answers to your burning questions.

How will The X-Files deal with Duchovny’s part-time schedule?

A likely scenario, according to X-Files sources, will have the Duchovny episodes sprinkled throughout the year, though that’s still being decided. To fill the Mulder void, they’re looking to cast a new buddy for Scully (Gillian Anderson), a character that definitely won’t be in the mold of the conspiracy-obsessed Mulder. Says X-Files creator Chris Carter: ”Certainly Scully’s character has evolved to this point now where she is a believer of sorts…. I think that the partner would probably be a skeptic. And more likely than not it will be a man.” The producers will also bulk up the roles of supporting characters like Skinner and Krycek (but not the Lone Gunmen, who will be starring in their own series). ”We’ve got a lot of great players on the bench,” says Spotnitz. ”It makes sense to use those assets more heavily than we have in the past.” Will we, perhaps, see more high-profile guest stars? ”We’ve always hesitated to do that because we’ve felt it would take away from the show,” says Carter. ”But this may be an opportunity to do that.”

Is next season the final one?

Don’t bet the crop-circled farm on it. Carter hints the franchise could continue — even if both Duchovny and Anderson call it quits. ”If we plan it carefully, there could be [more seasons], but I’m not telling you that there will be,” he says elusively. Which is why, he adds, choosing a new partner for Scully is ”very important for not just this year but perhaps the future…. I still think there are a lot of stories to tell. If the characters worked, and we liked to write for them, I could say yes to another season.”

If Scully is really with child, who’s the father?

This being The X-Files, don’t rule out aliens — or the possibility of Papa Mulder. ”There was a [recent] episode written and directed by Gillian that began and ended in Mulder’s bedroom,” Carter teases. ”That would certainly bring up some questions for me.”

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