Twenty years, you guys! It's been 20 years since we learned that the truth was out there and to trust no one. On Thursday, TV Guide Magazine pulled together a massive panel of the people who made "X-Files" what it was at San Diego Comic-Con.
It started with a montage of all the TV Guide covers Mulder and Scully (plus creator Chris Carter and even the underrated Robert Patrick) have graced over the years (there were plenty) including issues dedicated to Best Cult Hits, Best Episodes, and Best 50 TV Shows Of All Time.
Panel moderator Michael Schneider brought out the panel of writer-producers, which included David Amann ("Castle," "Without a Trace"), Howard Gordon ("Homeland," "24"), Darin Morgan ("Tower Prep," "Millenium"), John Shiban ("Star Trek Enterprise"), Glen Morgan ("Final Destination 1" and "Final Destination 3"), Jim Wong ("The Other," "The Event," "American Horror Story"), Vince Gilligan ("Breaking Bad"), and, of course, Chris Carter.
Then, lights out, the opening credits roll, and, in the dark, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny come out with flashlights.
The two decades have been good to everyone on the stage. Anderson and Duchovny were both playful. When asked what they've learned over the years, Anderson said she didn't realize how cool Mulder was until later. "Damn, I should've got to him sooner," she said.
Someone asked whether there would ever be the Scully-Mulder sex scene that everyone wants: "We shot it!" says Anderson.
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Duchovny said he was all for a third movie. "I always thought the show had any possibility — we could do it forever," he said. "Whenever we can do it, we will. As much as we can." Anderson agreed, though the idea of doing a "24"-style miniseries didn't appeal to her. In fact, the time commitment and resulting exhaustion from the tough schedule kept her away from TV for years.
Carter was asked how the show would look different if it were shot today, and he said, "The show is very dark by design. I don't think it would look very different." It's one of the reasons the show endures.
Darin Morgan has fond memories of stepping into the role of actor instead of producer (when he put on the Flukeman suit) and of "interacting" with Duchovny in the pool.
Glen Morgan cited Charlie Chaplin's autobiography, the book "Dark Nature," and a documentary about the West Memphis Three as source material for the ultimate creep-out episode, "Home," tracing its origins to mundane materials rather than to some inherent awfulness of his own. "We're not all the sick creeps that you think," said Morgan. He later spoke of using the creature from "Humbug" as a candy bowl at Halloween so that the terrified children in his neighborhood might see it differently.
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Duchovny says one of his favorite Scully-Mulder moments was their dance from "Post-Modern Prometheus." Anderson mentioned the conversation on the rock from "Quagmire."
Watch the "Post-Mortem Prometheus" dance scene:
An audience member asked what Mulder and Scully would do if they were ever to go on a real-life date. Anderson's reply: "Have sex." Taken aback, Duchovny replied, "Then maybe dinner?"
"This crowd is out for some Mulder and Scully action," said Carter as the crowd hooted and cheered.
When asked if there was ever a monster "X-Files" wanted to do but couldn't, Vince Gilligan revealed that he wanted to bring on Drew Barrymore (they worked together on the film "Home Fries") as a character with "amazing, godlike power" similar to the Billy Mumy episode of "Twilight Zone," and he's still disappointed they could never get her (or maybe just her reps) to sign on.
Anderson demurred when questions surrounding the moment everyone realized Mulder and Scully were in love came up, but Carter piped in with, "I think it was when you first walked into his office." The warm fuzzies that went through the room when he said that could have powered San Diego for a week.
The long-lasting impact of a powerful, intelligent woman in a sci-fi show was discussed a couple of times. Carter said he wasn't out to break down any barriers, insisting simply that "Scully was my fantasy woman."
A female fan in the audience said she was so inspired by Anderson's character that she got her PhD in physics. Anderson mentioned reading about "the Scully Effect," which apparently drove a large number of women to get into science. Duchovny chimed in: "Men often come up to me and say they got into Scully because of Fox Mulder."
Carter credited the post-Cold War dynamic with the tone of the show and, though you couldn't do that same show in 2002, he said, "The suspicions and conspiracy theories are so much more rampant [now]" and the show could easily be done today.
He still refuses to commit to a third movie, though. At the end of the panel, Anderson offered to auction off a signed cardboard standup of Mulder and Scully. "This is our 'Kickstarter'" for the movie, she said, so maybe there's still hope.
Duchovny and Mulder signed and took photos earlier in the day; convention attendees were able to have their picture taken with both stars for $200. No pictures have surfaced online yet, but if you're jealous, feel free to Photoshop yourself into the above picture.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Gillian Anderson
- David Duchovny