After nine seasons and two feature films spread out across a 15-year period, The X-Files was believed to be dead, leaving many a plot thread dangling from its roughly 206 hours of ever-more-convoluted mythology – no small matter, as the entire series was heading to an all-out alien invasion on December 22, 2012. (For a full explanation, see our complete and exhaustive primer.) Then, Fox rescued the show from its eight-year oblivion with a six-episode “event series” earlier in 2016, which X-Files creator and showrunner Chris Carter promised would take the narrative in entirely new directions while still paying homage to the past.
This retooled approach to the mythology seems to have been successful: season 10 broke ratings records for the cable channel and will more than likely result in yet another small round of episodes, probably sometime in late 2017 or early 2018. However, series star David Duchovny (Special Agent Fox Mulder) wants to tinker with the number of installments to find the perfect storytelling balance.
Talking with TV Insider, the actor first said that getting season 11 done will require bringing “the three principal people” - that’s him, co-star Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), and Carter - together “for a significant amount of time to shoot it.” Then he moved on to the crux of the matter:
And I think there were too few episodes. Twenty-two is far too many, but six is too few, so we’ve got to figure out something right in between.
This comment seems to be somewhat ironic, considering that it was Duchovny’s complaints of his workload being too great that first led him to gradually leave the original television run (throughout the final two seasons). Then it became a consideration for the event series’s small episode pickup - though he does still acknowledge his same sentiment that 22 episodes is "far too many" for a season. Plus, as TV Insider points out, Anderson has additionally stated that the smaller episode number was crucial to her signing on to the new season.
But it’s nonetheless an accurate reflection of the fact that Carter and company perhaps bit off a little more than they could chew in terms of the overarching throughline of season 10. Across this year’s scant six chapters, Mulder and Scully were brought back into the FBI fold (after having left it back in 2001 and 2002, respectively) and discovered that the impending alien colonization was merely an elaborate cover-up for a far greater government conspiracy. Plus, the series brought back the show’s signature villain (CGB Spender [William B. Davis], perhaps better known as the Cigarette-Smoking Man) and introduced even more far-reaching twists and turns – not to mention The X-Files’s biggest cliffhanger ending across its entire 23-year run.
Having a greater canvas to work with – season 10 consisted of just two mythology installments and four standalones – would allow more time to explore this new narrative status quo. But, then again, it might also allow Carter and his reassembled writing staff to raise even more questions than provide definitive, tangible answers, especially if Fox is interested in producing more X-Files mini-seasons every other year or so. Maybe there’s something to be said with sticking to the bare minimum, especially in keeping the standalone episodes as polished and classic as possible.
We’ll keep you updated on The X-Files’s season 11 as more information becomes available.
Source: TV Insider