Chris Carter explains show's biggest twist ever, 18 years in the making

By James Hibberd
January 03, 2018 at 09:00 PM EST
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The X-Files just revealed the biggest and what’s likely the most controversial twist in the show’s 25-year history — and fans are already having very strong reactions online (read some of the tweets below).

Wednesday night’s season 11 premiere (major spoilers ahead) explained that Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) absent teenage son is not the product of their on-again, off-again romance (as had been assumed by the characters and fans even though the show has always been vague about when the child was conceived). Instead, the evil Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) abducted Scully long ago and impregnated her with alien-assisted science.

The move explains a cryptic and suggestive scene from 2000’s season 7 episode “En Ami” (French for “as a friend”). Scully took a road trip with CSM, who told her, “I confess I’ve always had a particular affection for you. I assure you my intentions are honorable … My affection for you is special…” After she falls asleep in the car, CSM is shown putting on black leather gloves. Later, Scully wakes up in a cabin in a silk gown. “You drugged me!” she accuses. “How the hell did I get out of my clothes and into bed? … I don’t know what you’re up to …” In the season 7 finale, Scully learns she’s pregnant.

The new season premiere concludes with CSM explaining to Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) that he impregnated Scully to create “the first superhuman child.” Skinner demands to know who William’s father is if not Mulder. CSM replies: “I am. William is my son.”

In other words: This is a revelation that’s been 18 years in the making. Fans online have some strong feelings, with some saying “I don’t want to believe” (hoping CSM was lying), some praising it as a great twist and many others slamming it (one dubbed it “perhaps the most infuriating and gross plot twist in 10.5 seasons”). A collection of responses are below the interview.

But first, creator Chris Carter spoke to EW about the twist and how it will serve the show’s storyline moving forward.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First, the premiere reveals what we saw in the finale was all a vision Scully was having. Did you know that two years ago?
CHRIS CARTER: Yes. If you look at how I staged the scene in Mulder’s office, the way I staged the scenes on the bridge with the spacecraft hovering above Scully, you can see that was part of a plan. The camera pushes right into her eye at both ends of the show, and it was all of a piece.

Are you concerned that fans will feel like they were denied real resolution on that scenario?
You know, it’s playing with the story, the characters and the history of the characters I hope in an interesting way that will be satisfying — not necessarily in the immediate future but it will make sense once we get to this season’s finale.

Likewise, back in season 7, did you know at the time what was really going on when CSM drugged Scully?

So William’s parentage reveal has been part of your plan for the show since 1999?
Yes. But, of course, if The X-Files never came back, we would have never gotten to explore it.

When CSM says he’s William’s father, is he literally his father, to some biological extent? Along with alien DNA?No. He’s the figurative father if he’s not the actual father. He didn’t rape Scully. He impregnated her with science.

I suspect fans are going to have some strong feelings about Mulder not being the father and Scully being impregnated by CSM while she was drugged. What led you to this move?
It adds to the characters in an interesting emotional way. And because the audience is now in on this truth, and Mulder and Scully are not, these revelations are huge for this show because they’re huge for the characters. Mulder and Scully’s life history, both professional and personal, are the heart of the show.

How does this impact the storyline moving forward?
It does impact it in a big way and you’ll see that in the arc of the series… This fact is hovering over them and everything they do and say to each other is kind of loaded as they’re walking in the dark. It makes for interesting storytelling to put the audience in a privileged point of view that could ultimately explode in the end.

Gillian Anderson has said this might be her last season. You’ve hinted it might end on a cliffhanger once again. Are you concerned about the show possibly ending with things still unresolved?
I always end it as if it were the last one. It’s become a thing you come to anticipate with this show with “The Erlenmeyer Flask” in season 1 — we closed The X-Files and killed off a beloved character [Deep Throat played by Jerry Hardin]. Things are often sacrificed in the finale. That’s the interesting thing for me. There’s a vertical corner in the final that I think will get people’s attention…

Now here are some of the fan reactions:

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