“We always wanted to keep it going,” Duchovny told Variety on Thursday at NBC’s Summer Press Day in Pasadena, Calif., where he was on site to promote his upcoming drama “Aquarius,” which premieres May 28. “We always envisioned a movie franchise when we stopped the TV show, and we did two — the second one did well, but I guess not well enough to do a third, and we were all kind of disappointed that didn’t happen that way.”
“The X-Files” reboot will return to Fox with original creator Chris Carter for six episodes, which Duchovny says was appealing to him. “Television started to change in that now there are limited runs.” He added: “I think it’s the way the networks have to survive in the future. I think you can attract the talent you want by having a shorter season and you can tell more interesting stories.”
“I would never have gone and done another 22 episodes of ‘X-Files,'” Duchovny admits, “but we’re going to do six — well, that’s like doing a movie. That’s like continuing the show in a way that we all can do at this point in our lives so that’s it all came about.”
However, don’t rule out the franchise continuing beyond the six-episode run.
“Six to me sounds very doable at any walk of my life. It’s not a great hardship in terms of time,” he said. “I would hope it will be successful, I would hope we could continue, but right now, I’m just looking at it, as these six, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Since the original series went off the air in 2002, television has also evolved in numerous ways, including with regard to depictions of violence. So will the revival push boundaries?
“I suppose so,” Duchovny responded to reporters. “I’m not a violence fan, and I don’t look at it so much so I don’t think about it. I’ve seen some images from ‘Hannibal,’ he said, giving a nod to his co-star Gillian Anderson’s gruesome NBC thriller. “I think that’s well within what we need. I can’t imagine us wanting to get any weirder and darker than that, so I feel like we’re fine.”
Speaking of Anderson, Scully is returning, of course, but who else can fans expect to see in the upcoming series?
Duchovny stopped by “The Late Show With David Letterman” earlier this week and revealed a few returning characters. “Mitch Pileggi will come back,” he said on the talk show, referring to the actor who played FBI assistant director Walter Skinner, plus “the Cigarette-Smoking Man — if this means anything to anyone — will be coming back,” he said.
But today, Duchovny coiled back a bit on the spoilers.
“I’m not even sure they’re signed up yet. I guess I spoke out of turn,” he fessed up. “But I assume they will. I assume we’ll have as many people as we can. The show is the show.”
How about “Breaking Bad’s” Vince Gilligan, who served as an exec producer and writer on the original “X-Files”?
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said, adding that he’s also not clear on the format, but assumes the limited event series will be a combination of standalone episodes, along with a recurring arc throughout.
The return of “The X-Files” marks just one of many TV revivals in the works. “Coach,” starring Craig T. Nelson, will return to NBC, “Twin Peaks” with Kyle McLachlan is coming back on Showtime and a “Full House” series is rumored to be in the pipeline at Netflix.
“I don’t know how I feel about this trend, but I feel that ‘The X-Files’ never really went away,” Duchovny told Variety. “It was always like people kept on talking about it.”
“I feel like so many shows have come out of ‘The X-Files,'” he adds. “So much of not only TV, but film, has taken a turn into science fiction and superheroes. ‘Twilight,’ to me, comes out of ‘The X-Files.’ So I figured, why not us?”