‘X Files’ Creator Chris Carter Reflects on the Show’s Legacy and Conspiracies

‘X Files’ Creator Chris Carter Reflects on the Show’s Legacy and Conspiracies

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The X-Files creator Chris Carter is reflecting on the long-lasting conspiracies theories that have plagued the hit sci-fi drama series since it launched in September 1993 on Fox. The executive producer delved into the franchise’s legacy during a recent interview with Inverse.

Carter isn’t involved in the mystery thriller series’ upcoming reboot, which is being shepherded by Oscar-nominated Black Panther filmmaker, Ryan Coogler. But during the interview, Carter said he has no reservations about allowing Coogler to put his own spin on the beloved horror franchise.

“It’s interesting, people say, ‘Aren’t you possessive of it?’ And I say, ‘No, I’m looking forward to seeing what somebody else does with it,'” Carter said. The Emmy-nominated filmmaker added that he had a “really nice conversation” with Coogler when the latter first pitched his idea for an X-Files reboot to Fox.

“I just asked him what his ideas were, and he told me, and I said, ‘Those sound like good ideas,'” Carter said. “No matter what, he’s got a hard job.”

The show’s original creator noted that the Creed writer-director must also contend with the conspiracy theories that frequently surround the X-Files series, especially on social media. On Carter’s version of The X-Files, actor David Duchovny’s character of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder was a criminal profiler and a conspiracy theorist who believed in the supernatural. Actress Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully was a medical doctor and a conspiracy skeptic. Fans have long speculated on the protagonists’ story arcs.

Carter also noted that fan conspiracies will hamper the characters’ development on the reboot in a way that didn’t plague him, since the original show aired during the rise of the internet. He said: “Everything’s a conspiracy. No one knows what the truth is. It’s completely subjective and relative now.”

There hasn’t been any reports yet over whether or not Duchovny and Anderson will be featured on Coogler’s adaptation of The X-Files. But the drama’s original creator remembered Fox executives didn’t fully embrace his casting choices when he pitched the two actors in the early 1990s. The studio wanted an actress with more sex appeal, like Pamela Anderson, to play Scully.

“Where’s the sex appeal?” Carter remembered studio executives asking him. “Even though Gillian’s beautiful, she wasn’t their idea of sexy. First, because they didn’t understand what I was trying to do with the show. And she was an unknown, so that never helps.”

The drama’s creator also noted that “Casting is a hard job.” The franchise’s original creator added that “Mounting it is a hard job. All the problems that I dealt with are going to be (Coogler’s) problems.”

Despite the conflicts Carters faced on the series during its initial nine-season run in the ’90s and early ’00s, The X-Files still won multiple awards, including Emmys and Golden Globes. As a result, he wrote and produced the first feature film that was based on the show, 1998’s The X-Files, which was directed by Rob Bowman.

The movie garnered such positive reviews from critics, and was big enough of a box office success, that its studio, 20th Century Fox, greenlist a sequel. However, that follow-up, 2008’s The X-Files: I Want to Believe, which Carter helmed, co-penned and produced, didn’t receive as much fanfare or critical acclaim.

Instead of making a second theatrical sequel, Fox renewed the television show for a 10th and 11th season, which aired between 2016-2018. While the latter received generally positive reviews, the show was cancelled yet again after the 11th season aired just 10 episodes.

Despite its critical acclaim, long-term fans didn’t respond well to the franchise’s first televised reboot, however. While Fox was still prepared to greenlight the series for another season, despite its decline in ratings, Carter demanded that the network not move forward with a 12th season. “I needed some time off. I wanted to go surfing,” he revealed.

Besides being an avid surfer, Carter is also a multimedia artist. He has created pottery, prints and photo collages. He recently exhibited his work at Legacy West Media in Los Angeles, including a piece called My Crowning Achievement.

“Every piece in here is personal,” Carter said about the collection. “Showing them to people, it’s exposing yourself a little bit.”

Like the filmmaker’s artwork, the overall X-Files franchise is still enjoyed by his audience, as it also bears a piece of his soul. For over 30 years he’s shared it with the world, and its legacy has followed him throughout his career. But with passing his seminal show to Coogler, Carter has shown that he has truly moved on from The X-Files.

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