If the X-Files gets rebooted, it has to move on from the series’ convoluted mythology mess

As the editor/publisher of “Apple World Today,” this is my (mostly) weekly column in which I discuss anything that’s on my mind. Which may or may not include Apple or even technology. This week I’m weighing in on the rumor that the “The X-Files” is being rebooted.

From Deadline: There’s a new version of The X-Files on the horizon from Ryan Coogler, series X-Files Chris Carter claims. Coogler is best known for writing and directing the two “Black Panther” films for Marvel as well as for his work on the three “Creed” films with Michael B. Jordan. Coogler also wrote and directed the critically-acclaimed feature “Fruitvale Station,” which also starred Jordan. 

Whether or not he’s the best person to reboot “The X-Files,” if the series is to have a future, it’s go to to move on from Carter. 


In case you’ve been living on Mars for the past 25 years, “The X-Files was a science fiction drama television series created by Carter. It centered around FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) as they investigated all sorts of science fiction, horror, and conspiracy mysteries. 

The original television series aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002, on Fox. The program last nine seasons and 202 episodes. A short tenth season consisting of six episodes ran in January and February 2016. Following the ratings success of this revival, “The X-Files” returned for an eleventh season of 10 episodes, that ran from January 3, 2018, to March 21, 2018.  There were also two X-Files movies: “The X-Files: Fight the Future” (1998) and “The X-FIles: I Want to Believe” (2008)..

As noted by Den of Geek, Season 11 concluded with a finale that introduced more questions and sharp criticism than resolutions to storylines . The finale’s controversial storyline involving Scully and her son William faced intense backlash from fans and critics, and Anderson herself threw shade on the treatment of Dana Scully and the use of her body in the episode.


When “The X-Files” was good, it was great. Some of its episodes were as good as anything ever on TV. Among my favorites are “Squeeze,” “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “Home,” “The Post-Modern Prometheus,” “Drive,” “Bad Blood,” “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space’ (my all-time favorite), “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.”

When the series launched, the conspiracy theory (the U.S. government knows there are aliens among us) was interesting. And the fate of Mulder’s sister (who was — we thought — abducted by aliens) was a vital part of the show.


First off, let me say that I would have happily watched a continued “X-Files” series without Mulder and Scully. I would have followed (and still would) their intended replacements, John Dogged (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish).

However, Carter’s conspiracy theory and the show’s mythology grew increasingly convoluted. The explanation of Mulder’s sister’s disappearance was ludicrous. (Spoiler: she wasn’t “abducted” by aliens. Her fate involved spiritual beings called “Walk-Ins” and “starlight children”).

Carter also had the bright idea to end not only the original series with a cliffhanger, but also the two short season revivals. That’s just cruel. And don’t even get me started on how Carter explained the cliffhanger ending of the abbreviated season 10 as “precognitive visions.” That ranks right up their with the explanation that season nine of “Dallas” was all a dream as a “kiss my butt” to fans.


I’m not sure if “The X-Files” has a future. However, it if does, someone other than Chris Carter should be in charge. Yes, the series is his creation and he did some fantastic work early on. But he was ultimately responsible for the show’s downfall in quality.

What’s more, the series should move on from Scully and Mulder. There should be new agents investigating paranormal mysteries. And those mysteries shouldn’t involve the previous alien conspiracy or super-soldiers (again, don’t ask). 

However, before moving on from Scully and Muller, as CBR notes, a movie or special one-off episode needs to bring their story to a satisfying conclusion. From the article: The Season 11 finale, “My Struggle IV,” packed a lot into its runtime. Monica Reyes was killed. Skinner’s fate became unknown after being run over by a car. Most notable, however, was the Cigarette Smoking Man revealing himself as the father to Scully’s son, William. The ethics of medical rape were tossed aside to accommodate the agents running around a warehouse trying to find William, who was later shot (although shown to be alive in the episode’s final moments). Despite spending a large portion of the revival desperately searching for William, Scully and Mulder brushed their “son’s” death off pretty quickly (and heartlessly) after Scully confessed she was pregnant — this time with a baby that was definitely Mulder’s.

Instead of focusing on the revival’s better-received Monster of the Week episodes, Season 11 couldn’t let go of the messy mythology. The reliance on shock, awe and poorly thought-out twists became an unfortunate disservice to the characters. Reyes and Skinner both became victims of shock, while the big William plot twist left Scully and Mulder completely indifferent to the death of their kind-of-son. Scully’s surprise pregnancy only added to the mess, especially considering her infertility status and in-universe age of 54 at the time. As a long-standing feminist icon, Scully deserved better than to be regulated to a “baby vessel” for the sake of an easy heartstring pull.

A part of me says it’s time to just move on and leave “The X-Files” in the past. However, the fan in me was, like so many, sooooo disappointed with the disaster of an episode that ended season 11. I feel this once-great series needs at least a great-send-off, if not a revival by someone who can keep tight reins on the creative control.


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Have a great weekend.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.