6 reasons the X-Files revival shouldn't mess with Mulder and Scully
Fox’s X-Files revival doesn’t start filming until this summer, but the team behind the series is already talking. Creator Chris Carter spoke with the Canadian Press on Monday, teasing the show’s return to its old Vancouver stomping ground and igniting speculation as to the state of affairs between Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson). “As we saw in the second movie,” said Carter, “they were together, not married. Living together. But when we come back we will find that relationship is not where we left it.”
That’s too vague to be cause for alarm, especially because Carter also commented that the main duo’s relationship has “matured and evolved.” But it’s also vague enough to get our wheels turning. What changes, exactly, have the past seven years wrought for Mulder and Scully? After one of the lengthiest will-they-won’t-they waits on TV, we’re pulling for the revival to keep the partners stable and together. We don’t need any shake-ups (even of the marriage variety). Here’s why:
1. Look at I Want to Believe. The franchise’s second movie has a long list of flaws—Scully preps for surgery by Googling stem cell therapy—but its confusing attempt to stir up conflict between the main characters has to be near the top. Scully tells Mulder to take a case; when he does, she tells him that she’s not coming home. They’ve literally had more important arguments about The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The absurdity of the longtime partners’ debate only proved that by that point, there was nothing left to logically come between them.
2. It’s been 22 years. If anything could break up Mulder and Scully (cancer, abduction, shooting each other, Mulder being less than sympathetic when her dog died), they would have encountered it by now. If anything could make them marry (cancer, abduction, dance sequences, rescuing each other from mutants on the regular), they probably would have encountered that, too. Sure, cell phones are smaller, conspiracies are more relevant than ever, and according to the series finale, Something Big happened in 2012—but even alien colonization is basically old news to Mulder and Scully.
3. Marriage isn’t really their style. Remember when these two went undercover as a suburban married couple? Not their scene. Mulder and Scully’s relationship defies labels so effectively that people are still arguing about when they first had sex—because if you can check out someone’s lower back by candlelight in an old motel room and not at least make out, all bets are off.
4. We’ve only got six episodes. That’s six more than anyone could expect a few months ago, and we’re ready to make the most of all of them. But a six-episode arc doesn’t leave a lot of room to effectively mess with the classics—capturing the essence of The X-Files’ nine-season run should keep the revival busy enough as is. Skinner and the Smoking Man are already set to return, with more fan favorites probably on the way. And Mulder and Scully have an alien conspiracy to address—to say nothing of a few monsters on the side. There won’t be enough time to do justice to anything serious enough to cause a rift between them, meaning that whatever does happen risks feeling rushed. That’s not a taste you want to leave in the mouths of your loyal viewers—right, Chris Carter?
5. There wasn’t actually a lot of drama between Mulder and Scully on the original series. For all of their disagreements, the partners never voluntarily left each other. Scully only stopped twice to seriously question what she was doing with her life (season 4’s “Never Again”; season 7’s “all things”), and even as she spiraled into drunken tattoos and one-night stands with murderers, she still found time to investigate some X-Files for Mulder on the side. The X-Files finds all the tension it needs in the characters’ debate between aliens and science, which works because they have each other’s backs regardless of what they each believe (or how annoying their exes are).
6. Give the people what they want. When Mulder and Scully are at odds or separated, the story falters. (See again: I Want to Believe. See also: season 9.) The revival’s best chance is to stick with what made The X-Files work in the first place—the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. It doesn’t take much. Just let Mulder and Scully drive through small towns and banter about directions. And if former staff writer/ Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan wants to come back and consult? That’s just fine by us.