Gillian Anderson Wasn't Going To Let Her Character Be The X-Files' Female 'Sidekick'

"The X-Files" introduced audiences to liver-eating immortals, parasitic black oil, and a badass FBI agent named Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). The groundbreaking show and its deep lore changed the television landscape forever and created the foundation for popular shows like "Supernatural," "Stranger Things," and "American Horror Story."

The mysterious monsters and shadow-dwelling freaks contributed to the success of "The X-Files," but the electric chemistry between Anderson and David Duchovny kept the show fresh and interesting for a quarter of a century. Like aliens and probes, and shady governments and coverups, Mulder and Scully frequently intertwine, but Gillian Anderson recently revealed one huge thing that has separated her co-star David Duchovny.

"The X-Files" revolutionized the science fiction genre, and episodic television, but wasn't so quick to shake off traditional gender roles. During an interview with The Daily Beast, Anderson revealed that she often felt pressured to play the sidekick role and that she was offered less money than Duchovny.

Before Scully

In the '70s and '80s, popular cop and crime shows often featured male stars rescuing damsels in distress. Even "Twin Peaks" and "Kojak," two shows that directly influenced "The X-Files" followed this traditional setup, but Anderson's character didn't follow this trend. Instead, the series featured an empowered and intelligent woman who didn't follow traditional gender norms.

So much of Scully goes against accepted norms of the '70s and '80s. Her mother (Sheila Larken) describes young Scully as "a tomboy," who preferred to play with her brothers instead of her sister. As a young adult, she began her career in medicine before joining the FBI, both of which are male-dominated fields. Scully also breaks norms by being the skeptic in the partnership between herself and Mulder.

According to Psychology Today, females tend to be more open-minded about the paranormal than males, but Scully is very much a skeptic. Throughout the series, her doubts pay off countless times and she frequently rescues Mulder from himself. Throughout the series, Special Agent Scully saves her partner's life countless times and earns the respect of her male colleagues and superiors.

After a 14-year absence, "The X-Files" returned with a long-awaited 10th season in 2016, and everyone's favorite partners were back on the case. Fans were excited to see what new and interesting angles the rebellious series would explore, but Anderson revealed that the show wasn't always revolutionary off-screen.

'My intolerance and spunk'

In 2016, the actress told The Daily Beast that she was always expected to walk behind David Duchovny on-screen:

"I can only imagine that at the beginning, they wanted me to be the sidekick. Or that, somehow, maybe it was enough of a change just to see a woman having this kind of intellectual repartee with a man on camera, and surely the audience couldn't deal with actually seeing them walk side by side!"

Like her character, Anderson refused to be marginalized and fought for equal screen time:

"I don't know how long it lasted or if it changed because I eventually said, 'F**k no! No!' I don't remember somebody saying, 'OK, now you get to walk alongside him.' But I imagine it had more to do with my intolerance and spunk than it being an allowance that was made."

On top of that, Anderson fought for 3 years to earn the same salary as Duchovny, which she had to do again in 2016. The actress claims she was offered "half" of Duchovny's pay for the reboot, which she couldn't believe:

"It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past, to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it [...] And then it happened again! I don't even know what to say about it."

Once again, she didn't allow inequality to stand, and earned equal pay for the 10th and 11th seasons of the series. While Scully inspired countless women to join STEM fields, Anderson fought against the gender wage gap and sexist views about females. "The X-Files" changed television shows and the science fiction genre, but Dana Scully and Gillian Anderson may have changed the world.