Comic-Con: ‘The X-Files’ marks 20 years, ponders its future

July 18, 2013 | 6:32 p.m.
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"The X-Files" actors Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny. (Michael Lavine / Fox)

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"The X-Files" director Chris Carter in 2008. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

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"The X-Files" star David Duchovny in 2008. (Karen Tapia / Los Angeles Times)

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Director Chris Carter, left, and David Duchovny on the set of 2008's "The X-Files: I Want to Believe." (Diyah Pera / 20th Century Fox)

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"The X-Files" actors Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny. (Michael Lavine / Fox)

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David Duchovny, left, and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully in a scene from "The X-Files." (Marcel Williams / Fox)

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David Duchovny, left, and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully in a scene from "The X-Files." (Carin Baer / Fox)

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Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny in a scene from "The X-Files." (Merrick Morton / Fox)

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Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny in a scene from "The X-Files." (Fox)

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David Duchovny as Fox Mulder, left, and Mitch Pileggi as A.D. Skinner in "The X-Files." (Fox)

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David Duchovny, left, and Gillian Anderson as Mulder and Scully in a scene from "The X-Files." (Fox)

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Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny in a scene from "The X-Files." (Larry Watson / Fox)

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Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny in a scene from "The X-Files." (Larry Watson / Fox)

The question that was posed to “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter throughout the hit sci-fi investigation drama’s 20th anniversary celebration panel Thursday at Comic-Con International in San Diego was, will there be more – will there be a third movie?

“I have to say just being here today and seeing all these people – you need a reason to get excited about going on and doing it again …” Chris Carter told a packed ballroom, interrupted by sustained applause and hollering. “This is very inspirational.”

So stay tuned on the franchise’s future. But most of the hour-long gathering was about its conspiracy-laden, freaky past and its lasting effects – from FBI Agent and scientist Dana Scully inspiring one audience member to earn a doctorate in physics to making possible writer-producer Vince Gilligan’s Emmy-winning (and again nominated) AMC drama “Breaking Bad.”

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

Gilligan, whose first relationship with “The X-Files” was as a fan watching in Virginia, said his experience working on the show was “like going to film school except getting paid to attend, and I’m lucky as hell I was part of it.” He also noted that he first met “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston via “The X-Files” – the actor appeared in the episode “Drive.”

Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny, attend the "The X Files" 20th anniversary panel at Comic-Con International on Thursday. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Gillian Anderson, left, and David Duchovny attend “The X Files” 20th anniversary panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Carter and Gilligan were joined by stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and writer-producers Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, Jim Wong, John Shiban, Howard Gordon and James Amann in discussing their days on the Fox series.

Anderson was playful throughout the panel. Asked if she had a different perspective on anything in the show 20 years later, she replied, “I didn’t realize that Mulder was so cool until a few years later, and I thought, ‘Damn, I should’ve gotten there sooner,’” to a hooting crowd. (Her Scully and Duchovny’s Agent Fox Mulder did eventually get together, and were seen living together in 2008’s “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” the franchise’s last on-screen story.)

Asked about the show’s appeal, Duchovny suggested a willingness to return to the paranormal-obsessed “Spooky” Mulder: “The show was so flexible and could incorporate so many ideas that we could do it forever. I always thought whenever we can get back together, we would – we will, as much as we can.”

Another member of the “X-Files” family made an appearance on stage – Shiban’s son, who at 6 weeks old was on-screen as Scully’s baby (the red hair helped in casting).

The panel also paused to recognize two departed members of the family – John Neville, who played the sinister Well-Manicured Man, and producer-director Kim Manners.

The Scully-Mulder relationship continues to fascinate fans. Asked by an audience member what the two would do for a date, Anderson said, “Have sex.” Duchovny shrugged and said, “Then maybe dinner, I don’t know.”

And when the moderator, TV Guide’s Michael Schneider, passed along a question from Twitter about when the characters realized they were in love, Carter said, “I think it was when [she] first walked into his office in the basement,” referring to the series’ pilot.

Toward the end of the event, Anderson called out for bids for a life-size cardboard cutout of Scully and Mulder together. She had said it was for charity, but Duchovny quipped, “This is how we’re going to get the movie made, by the way.”

– Blake Hennon | @BlakeHennon

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