Gillian Anderson has given a lot of thought to why she feels she is done with creating new episodes of “The X-Files,” and it boils down to the fact that when she embarked upon the revival of Chris Carter’s hit genre series back in 2015, it was never pitched to her as a full-fledged return to create a whole new, ongoing version of the series.
“I thought that the previous six was going to be it,” Anderson admitted during a panel for the second chapter of “The X-Files” revival at the Television Critics Assn’s winter press tour on Wednesday. “The minute they mentioned that they might be interested in doing another, I thought, do you know what? That didn’t feel like the right way to end it. It didn’t feel like I would necessarily have been happy if those six were how we said good‑bye, and [I] thought the way that the writers were talking about doing another season sounded more like a good ending to me. And so when I was asked to do another season, I agreed to do another season. It never occurred to me, nor was it discussed or suggested, that it was now a new series — that we were starting a new series. So I said, ‘Yes, I will do this.’ But in my mind, it had always been that it would just be one season.”
Anderson also said, though, that the first six episodes of the revival felt like they were just “dipping our toe back in it again and just meeting up again and making the most of it and getting to play these wonderful characters again.” While that season felt like “learning how to walk again,” now Anderson called the second chapter more like they’re “running.”
“This is the season I agreed to do,” she continued. “There’s lots of things that I want to do in my life and in my career, and it’s been an extraordinary opportunity and an extraordinary character, and I am hugely grateful. But there’s lots of other stuff I want to do, and I don’t really want to be tied down to months and months of doing any particular one thing that I feel like I’ve done.”
Anderson was looking to diversify her career and challenge herself as an actress after “The X-Files” ended the first time, but she ultimately came back to the franchise because there was time and distance and a great hunger to see where these characters would be, so many more years mature into their lives and careers. However, this time around, she was adamant that “this is it” for her.
“I’m really serious. I have so much respect for these guys, and I have respect for Scully, and I have respect for David, and it’s really sad. But I’m finished, and that’s the end of that,” Anderson said.
While Carter has stated that he would not return for more “X-Files” without Anderson, series star David Duchovny did point out that he personally feels that the importance of the show is the framework behind “the three actors in it that people have become attached to.”
“I do believe it’s completely legitimate in any form. So whether it can go on, who knows,” he said. “[But] I’m good either way. I’m good with this being the end; I’m good with it not being the end. I can’t see the future. I don’t know. Whatever comes across my desk, I take a look at if it’s written.”
Of course, given that it’s Carter’s show, it’s hard to imagine it continuing without him, so reflecting on this season of “The X-Files” as the definitive end, Anderson pointed out the importance of some “really, really beautiful” scenes between Mulder and Scully.
“[There are some] beautifully written scenes and really intimate scenes between them. Nothing intimate in a sexual way, but certainly in their connection with each other and how unique and almost old‑fashioned it was,” Anderson said. “I’m so grateful. Some actors get stuck with characters that they could take or leave or they’re not that crazy about, and to have the opportunity to play somebody as extraordinary a character — as iconic a character — as Scully and to be in this duo is a very special thing, indeed.”
“The X-Files” airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on Fox.