The adventures of Agents Mulder and Scully don’t resume on Fox until Jan. 26, 2016, but a few hundred devotees who want to believe got a sneak peak at the U.S. premiere of the new season of The X-Files at New York Comic Con on Saturday.
The line for the main stage stretched well into the parking lot at the Jacob Javits Center on New York’s west side, loaded with X-Files enthusiasts clad in Mulder and Scully cosplay (with a healthy dose of Lone Gunmen outfits for good measure). They rapturously welcomed panel moderator Kumail Nanjiani, though they were most excited for the main event: the debut episode of the show’s six-part return.
Thirteen years have elapsed since The X-Files went off the air, and it’s been seven years since we last saw Mulder and Scully on screen in the theatrical release The X-Files: I Want To Believe, but as far as the new series is concerned, it’s all old-school all the time: the opening credits are exactly the same as they were in 1993, Mulder remains aggressively paranoid, Scully’s humanism still shines through, and Skinner continues to be a gruff but game father figure. The episode opens with a voiceover by Mulder that catches up any newbies on what’s going on, but then it dives right into the action. Mulder and Scully are somewhat estranged, but a call from FBI Assistant Director Skinner brings them back together to explore the claims of a paranoid cable news host (played with intensity by Joel McHale). That leads them to a woman named Sveta (Annet Mahendru from The Americans) who claims she has been abducted by aliens multiple times. The classic narrative pushes Mulder, Scully, and Skinner down a familiar road, unsure of who to believe and where the truth really lies.
In a conversation with EW before the panel, series creator Chris Carter noted that this is a good time for The X-Files to return, as American society is at peak paranoia. The first episode takes advantage of all of the fear in the air, as it incorporates a lot of post-9/11 conspiracy theories and does a great job of linking the Roswell-era cover-ups to the current state of NSA spying. It’s a brilliant way of bridging the gap between past and future for a show that has to do the same with its narrative. As Nanjiani observed during the panel, the first episode of the new season of The X-Files acts as both a stirring new narrative and a healthy bit of fan service. For hardcore X-Files fans worried about whether or not the spark was still there, they can feel comfortable about believing.
See Nanjiani, Carter, Duchovny, and Mitch Pileggi discuss the return of The X-Files with EW below.