Why David Duchovny Will Never Shut The Door On Reprising His X-Files Role

In the early '90s, TV audiences were entranced by the wonderful weirdness of "The X-Files" and the two FBI agents that investigated them. Building on a foundation laid decades earlier by "The Twilight Zone" and "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," the Fox series featured aliens, cryptids, vampires, shapeshifters, and all the other freaks and weirdos that hang out in the deepest, darkest shadows of fear and imagination.

Along with unique supernatural baddies, the series featured intelligent writing, relatable characters, and an enthralling world that held fans' interests for 25 years, which is nothing short of miraculous in the world of television. Critics largely panned the last two seasons of the show, which aired in 2016 and 2018, but fans of the series were ecstatic to see Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) on screen again. Today, there are constant whispers around the internet that the beloved show might return for a 12th season, but would Anderson and Duchovny come back for more?

Like their popular on-screen personas, Duchovny and Anderson have often held two very different opinions about returning to the series.

Mulder and Scully

Throughout the series, Mulder's head remains firmly in the clouds, his eyes darting around for any signs of UFOs or little gray men, while Scully's feet are always cemented to the ground, searching for verifiable evidence that doesn't involve anything otherworldly. Separately, they tend to stumble into confirmation bias and develop a nasty case of tunnel vision, but together, they find the perfect balance. Anyone who doubts that this relationship is what makes the whole show tick should take a gander at season 8 and 9 without Duchovny. Even die-hard fans generally regard those two seasons as the worst of the show, and they're right. 

On the surface, "The X-Files" is all about things that go bump in the night, and some of the best episodes revolve around monsters of the week, but that's just window dressing for the true heart of the series. The dynamic between Mulder and Scully is the real strength of the series and the aspect of the show that continues to keep fans wanting.

Even after the 2016 reboot, fans refuse to believe the long running series is truly over. Even today, anytime Duchovny or Anderson are interviewed, the possibility of another "X-Files” reboot always comes up, and it appears the actors are just as addicted to the show as the fans.

'What have you got?'

David Duchovny's film career has been very hit and miss since he left the basement office of Fox Mulder. He experienced some success in 2007 with the series "Californication," which ran for seven seasons, before appearing in the one-season dud "Aquarius" in 2015. In an interview with The Guardian, Duchovny admits that he abandoned Hollywood and spent 2017 through 2020 writing books and playing music after experiencing a few disappointments in the acting world. "I was trying to develop a couple of shows in that time that got far but not far enough; I hitched my wagon to a couple of non-starters. I didn't line up with the marketplace for those three years."

In a 2022 interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Duchovny was asked about returning to "The X-Files," and despite his early exit from the original run of the series, he seems open to the possibility:

"I thought the first seven years were enough! But I'm always up for more, clearly ... I think it's a little bit in the weeds to worry about characters' fates, when you realize that Chris somehow made a show in 1993, and again in 2016, that predicted what 2022 would be like. If he wanted to do more, I'd certainly listen to him. I'd say, 'What have you got?'

In recent years, Duchovny has remained open to returning to the popular series, while Anderson insisted she was done with "The X-Files," but it's well established that the series only works if both stars are present and accounted for. The actress' reluctance to return to her titular role left many fans believing that the series had officially come to an end. However, as any die-hard X-Phile knows, nothing in the world of Mulder and Scully is ever that simple.

Passing the baton

To this day, anytime Duchovny or Anderson are interviewed, the possibility of another "X-Files” reboot always comes up. After the 11th season wrapped in 2018, Anderson broke the hearts of many loyalists when she told IndieWire:

"This is it for me, I'm really serious ... I like to be challenged as an actor and I like to do many many characters. It's time for me to hang up Scully's hat, it just is ... There's lots of things I want to do in my life and my career. I don't want to be tied down to months and months of any particular one thing."

After leaving "The X-Files," Anderson performed in off-Broadway productions of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "All About Eve" before returning to TV in 2020, where she gave an Emmy Award winning performance as Margaret Thatcher in "The Crown." For a while, it seemed that the actress had left Scully in the past and had her eyes firmly locked on the future, but old habits die hard. Back in April of 2022, in an interview with Variety, Anderson hinted that she might be open to discussing a return to the series:

"It just feels like such an old idea. I've done it, I did it for so many years, and it also ended on such an unfortunate note ... In order to even begin to have that conversation [about another season] there would need to be a whole new set of writers and the baton would need to be handed on for it to feel like it was new and progressive."

For now, it appears that Anderson and Duchovny are both open to returning to "The X-Files." So if any young writers have a fresh take on the iconic show, now is your time to shine.