David Duchovny Thinks This X-Files Character Needs Their Own Spin Off

Given the numerous, complicated mythology arcs introduced throughout its initial nine-season run, it's surprising that more shows didn't spin off of Chris Carter's 1993 hit show "The X-Files." For the uninitiated, "The X-Files" was about a pair of FBI agents named Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) who were assigned to the Bureau's most unusual cases, often filed under the letter X. The unusual cases often involved alien abductions, man-sized liver flukes, psychics, shape-shifters, psychic photography, and other such paranormal monkeyshines. Much of the show sprung from a sense of paranoia aimed at the United States government and its tendency to hush up the mind-blowing, supernatural truth about the world. Only a believer like Mulder and a skeptic like Scully would have the intelligence and the wherewithal to find the truth. 

"The X-Files" did have two spinoffs. The 1996 series "Millennium," about a forensic profiler (Lance Henricksen) investigating some quite immediate end-of-the-world lore, didn't seem like a spin-off at first, but it was eventually revealed the show took place in the same universe as "The X-Files" (and, indeed, saw a crossover). And the 2001 series "The Lone Gunmen" was a lighter, more comedic version of "The X-Files" starring a trio of amusing conspiracy-obsessed kooks (Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, and Dean Haglund) that Mulder frequently consulted. 

In 2016, "The X-Files" was revived for two additional seasons, addressing the ongoing saga of William, Scully's little-seen son, forced into hiding for his own protection. Mulder is likely the boy's father, although the sinister Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) also claims fatherhood via an eerie alien-related insemination plot. In a 2018 interview with SFX, Duchovny, now having effectively retired from "The X-Files," announced that he would like to have seen William's story continue.

William Scully III

At the conclusion of season seven of "The X-Files," Scully announced that she was pregnant, and audiences were introduced to baby William in season 8. This was a shock, as Scully has lost her ability to have children in a 1994 story arc. The question of William's parentage was always kept coyly from the audience, and his biological origins were always a matter of debate among the characters. One theory had him the result of a super-soldier program, grown inside Scully with the intent of "enhancing" him with alien Black Oil. As an alien/human hybrid, the child would always be in danger from any number of dark conspirators, and Scully ultimately gave him up to another couple to raise him in anonymity. 

Duchovny always felt that William's story was ripe for re-visitation, eager to see what the character grew up into, and how he could relate to the other characters on the show, most notably Jeffrey Spender, played by Canadian actor Chris Owens. Duchovny, who directed a notable William-centric episode in the show's ninth season, said: 

"Sometimes, I think William should have his own show, and that's how they should just continue it and go spin it off with this kid. I think a lot of that [success] had to do with Chris Owens being such a good actor. He's an important part of that episode. And now I think somehow, the future of the show is tied up in William."

William Scully III, living under the alias Jackson Van De Kamp, eventually grew up to have psychic powers and mysteries to solve. There is certainly plenty there to explore, even at this late date.  

The soap-ification of The X-Files

The later seasons of "The X-Files" are typically described in less-than-glowing terms by the show's fans. When Mulder and Scully stopped being the focus of the show, many viewers lost interest. While their replacements, Doggett and Reyes (Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish), were interesting characters played by more-than-capable actors, most fans had already checked out; find me the X-Phile who prefers season nine over season four.  

Baby William, for many, was a sign that the show had been going on too long. The 1990s were over, the governmental paranoia was stale, and the characters were growing up and moving past investigating monsters and aliens. The only way to continue to keep characters around for that length of time is to introduce soap opera-like interpersonal drama like having children, marrying, having romances. The will-they-or-won't-they romantic tension between Mulder and Scully could only be sustained for so long, and once that tension was broken — they had a kid?? — the show suddenly became less interesting. Mulder and Scully needed to move on. 

At least the season 10 episode "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster" effectively put a button on the show, leaving the characters reflective on their lives as monster hunters. For the time being, we will ignore season 11. 

Perhaps unmoored from the paranoia of the 1990s, and disconnected from Mulder and Scully, William could indeed capably traverse his own drama series. He could explore his powers, could find what 1990s conspiracy theories grew up into, could find a way to revisit mysteries that his mom and dad (?) laid out. Duchovny might be on to something. This could be a good show.