'Stay tuned for episode 6'
Credit: Ed Araquel/Fox

Could The X-Files be adding new fuel to the fire of a popular fan theory?

Asked about the idea that Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully is immortal, creator Chris Carter told The Huffington Post, “It’s certainly been suggested, but I can tell you this: Stay tuned for episode 6.”

In other words, do the opposite of what a certain crime scene photographer would suggest: Don’t close your eyes.

The theory has its roots in an episode from The X-Files’ third season, “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” in which Peter Boyle — who would go on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor — plays a man capable of discerning how people will die. When Scully asks how she’ll meet her end, Bruckman replies, “You don’t.”

Writer Darin Morgan, who also won an Emmy for the landmark hour, told The Hollywood Reporter in a retrospective that he never intended fans to take the line seriously, but the series went on to back it up: In season 6’s “Tithonus,” penned by Vince Gilligan, Scully meets a crime scene photographer who has apparently been unable to die since he looked away from Death in a moment of illness. When Scully is shot, he instructs her to do the same and dies in her place.

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Four episodes later, in an episode co-written by Gilligan, Scully and Mulder (David Duchovny) are caught in a time loop, repeating the same day on end until they can prevent a bank explosion that kills them both; some fans have suggested that the day keeps resetting because Scully cannot die. There’s also the matter of Scully’s ouroboros tattoo, an ancient symbol of, in Carter’s words, “eternal return” — and the fact that Anderson is all but aging in reverse.

As for whether the revival address the issue directly or just drop new hints, only time will tell. But Scully may have a lot of that.

The X-Files returns Jan. 24 on Fox.

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