The X-Files Stars Hilariously Attempt to Explain the Secret to Their Sizzling Chemistry at TCA

David Duchocvny, Gillian Anderson and more chatted with reporters about the Fox hit's revival at the 2016 Winter TCA Press Tour on Friday

By Chris Harnick Jan 15, 2016 5:55 PMTags
The X-Files, David Duchovny, Gillian AndersonFox

It's time to believe again. The X-Files' return to TV is upon us and to celebrate the long-awaited new adventures of Mulder and Scully, Fox brought the show to the 2016 TCA Winter Press Tour. David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Joel McHale and series creator Chris Carter were on hand to field questions and tease the reopening of The X-Files. Things started out just as you'd expect with Anderson simply asking "How's my sex scene?"

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The X-Files kicks off its six-episode return with a mythology-heavy episode, but things quickly change to monster of the week format with another mythology episode to close things out. "That was the signature of the show," Carter explained about the mix of episodes. "We became known for our range...we did that always in the run of the original series, but in this case, there are only 6 episodes, so we had to do it in a much shorter arc."

"In a short season like a six-episode season it might feel like more of an extreme," Duchovny added. "Think of it as a bento box of X-Files. You have to honor the fans as well as introducing people that don't know anything about it into it. There had to be a mythology episode to begin it."

The original plan was for eight episodes, but because of scheduling the count was reduced to six.

"I'm waiting for Fox to come back and say, ‘We want more of these,'" Carter said. He also noted there is no talk of any spinoffs at the moment.

But a return to TV wasn't always in the cards. Carter explained he had written a third movie before the revival happened. "I did have to sit down and come up with an idea, but there was talk of doing a third movie, and it was casual talk, so I actually wrote a third movie just because I was interested in where that might go, so when this television idea came out of the blue for me…I let my wife read the third movie and she said I think not for TV, and there was something else I had written, and she said I think more like that I'd call it a study, if you will."

The X-Files originally debuted in 1993 and wrapped its run in 2002, but it's taken the stars some time to come around to appreciate the impact the show has had on them and fans alike.

"I think it took me a long time to embrace it after we were done with the series. It took a good decade for me to suddenly start thinking of it as the gift that it was and to properly appreciate the opportunity that I had and how fortunate I was to play such a great iconic character in a show that was iconic in and of itself and for such a long time," Anderson said. "I was very lucky and it suddenly hit me some time later."

"It took a while to recognize it as the gift that it is and that's why we're able to come back now. I think, also, it acted to spur to me to go out and do more keep expanding myself as an was both a gift and a spur to not settle after it was done. On both levels, it's been a gift in that way," Duchovny added.

The two will always be known as Mulder and Scully, and for their chemistry, but it wasn't instantly known. The stars met while reading lines outside of their audition for the show.

"We didn't know they would have chemistry," Carter said. Anderson pressed her boss and asked him what it was like, if he remembers their audition and if they popped then.

"I had an inkling of that chemistry when we did a table reading. But it wasn't until the day they both appeared in Mulder's office, they both lit up, and it was the same ever since. It's one of those things you can't manufacture, and we got really lucky," Carter said.

Duchovny likened it to "an arranged marriage." "Some of those work, and some don't. It's your job as an actor to make that happen," he said.

"There is something extra, and I don't know what that is," Anderson said. "It seems like it's separate from us, almost like a third..."

"Can you feel it right now?" Duchovny asked. "If you don't have chemistry, you have to find out a way to make it happen. But if you have history...Gillian and I actually have history so we don't have to play it."

"I don't buy that. We had it from the very beginning," she said.

"Now we have chemistry and history, we're going to try to get biology," Duchovny quipped.

"We have a little bit of biology," Anderson joked.


The new season is set in present times. Smart phones and Snowden are part of the every day vernacular, conspiracy is mainstream. Carter said he "cherry-picked" ideas from conspiracy sites that frighten him, "if one of them comes true, it will be a bad thing for America and beyond," he said.

The X-Files returns with a two-night premiere starting on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 10 p.m. on Fox.

—Reporting by Tierney Bricker, Jean Bentley and Lauren Piester

Watch: Joel McHale Reminisces About Favorite "X-Files" Episodes