For ‘X-Files,’ the truth is still out there … but what about a third film?

April 27, 2009 | 7:05 p.m.

Liver-eating contortionist Eugene Tooms  wasn’t there.  Neither were the Peacock Brothers. Extraterrestrials? Nope, not a one. But even without those memorable characters of any of the other paranormal beasties, shadow-government operatives or little green men from “The X-Files,” fans of the spooky franchise turned out in force last week at The Grove in Los Angeles to question and cheer X-creator Chris Carter and key writer Frank Spotnitz.

The two longtime collaborators (or is that conspirators?) were joined by Matt Hurwitz, a co-author of the lavish new book “The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, Myths and the Movies” (Insight Editions, $49.95). The event was on the third floor of Barnes & Noble and a crowd that went into triple-digits was eager to get autographs and answers, many of which were delivered by Carter with his wry, mellow-surfer baritone.  

Is Walter Skinner still infected with nanotechnology? “He’s been to the doctors a number of times.”

Is the Agent Dana Scully immortal? “It’s kind of true, if you think about it. I mean, she’ll never die. She beat cancer.”

Any plans to take “Millennium” to the big screen? “That seems to be the question all the fans want answered. Nothing has been discussed.”

Carter’s favorite episode? “Beyond the Sea” and “Home” make the short list, but, he insists, he has a lot of favorites.

When is the series going to be available on Blu-ray? “There’s a technical problem … we just have to figure out how to solve it.”

But the pervading question of the night centered on one yearning hope: A third installment of “The X-Files” as a movie franchise, which would pick up where last year’s “X-Files: I Want to Believe” left off. In an interview after the book signing, Carter was elusive … but he did give fans a reason to believe.

Noting the lackluster commercial success of the second film, Carter said the venture was hurt by its timing. The U.S. release “was foolish, opening a week after the blockbuster hit “The Dark Knight … it was really the worst weekend to open any movie.”

The film pulled in an anemic $21 million in the U.S., which fell short of expectations for a film that cost $30 million to make. It did go on, however, to make $47 million in foreign markets. “The movie did a lot of business worldwide so, I think, it’s really up to Fox to decide,”  he said.

Despite the lackluster grosses, there’s no denying the impact of the television series and its characters  on pop culture.  It demonstrated the potential of what the sci-fi genre could achieve on the small screen.  And though recent sci-fi series like “Battlestar Galactica” (a show Carter “likes”) and “X-Files”-influenced “Fringe” have picked up the torch, Carter said crime dramas have handcuffed TV’s limited programming schedules for scripted dramas. 

“When you look at what’s on television right now, there’s a little bit of science fiction, but there’s mostly cop procedurals,” said the 52-year-old Carter.  “People see every episode of ‘Law & Order,’ and all its incarnations, so I don’t know … if you do science fiction on television it’s a little bit of a gamble sometimes.”

But, hey, if that doesn’t work, there’s always the Internet, right? “X-Files” fans have proven there’s an audience out there for all the fan content they’ve created. From fan-fiction to mash-up YouTube videos, people have taken notice. Even the actors that inspired the content, Spotnitz noted.

“You know, there’s a story that David [Duchovny] told when we were doing the movie last year,” Spotnitz said, “about how Gillian had seen a YouTube compilation of all their kisses and David saw that and said it actually affected his performance in the film because it was like reminder of the power of their relationship. So it just tells you how meaningful they are. It really is part of what the ‘X-Files’ is now. It’s just the way the fans re-interpret it.”

And with the release of the book — practically an encyclopedia of “The X-Files” franchise — fans will now have more to interpret, because as one fan said, “The truth will always be out there.”

– Yvonne Villarreal

RECENT AND RELATED

David Duchovny

David Duchovny on Scully and Mulder, the “great love affair”

David Duchovny says “X-Files” is religion…? 

Frank Spotnitz, the Hero Complex Q&A 

Chris Carter and David Duchovny in crisis

Credit: David Duchovny photo by Karen Tapia-Andersen/Los Angeles Times. 

Comments


27 Responses to For ‘X-Files,’ the truth is still out there … but what about a third film?

  1. Patricia says:

    I'm quite hopeful about the prospects for another X-Files film. It just seems logical at this point– the first film made money, has done well enough on DVD, plus there is a natural story given the approach of the 2012 deadline. It would be silly to waste the talented team and a built in audience that most films can't count on. Fingers crossed!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Keep your hopes up! Even if the date goes by, the writers are so talented I'm sure they can think of something. This time the release date should be Summer 2014 or Christmas. Please Santa.

  2. moe says:

    Fox, we need a third enstallment of the X Files. I love Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.

  3. lola says:

    please please please let there be a 3rd film. as an earlier poster mentioned there is a built in worldwide audience. just release it at the right time fox! this video gives me hope for some reason. i wish i could have attended the book signing. woohoo for xf3!

  4. Kylie says:

    I was at that book signing, and it was great. Chris, Frank and Rob were so nice and patient, and were more then willing to sign and speak with us.
    I have a good feeling about X Files 3 and actually believe that it's closer then we believe. We'll see, but I'm excited to see what the next few weeks/months/years bring.
    Thanks for the write up!

  5. ksnake says:

    If Chris Carter makes the next X-Files movie, it will fail. Seriously–this movie was the best he could come up with after six years of inactivity?
    It really is past time to reboot the franchise entirely. New people on both sides of the camera. Duchovny & Anderson are too old to play the roles effectively, and are box office poison to boot. And even if that weren't the case, we still need a fresh start, which requires fresh talent. Just go back to the beginning and start over, telling the kinds of stories The X-Files used to be about.

  6. Deeca says:

    Heres a sugggestion for the next film. Please make it appeal to ALL fan bases and not just the romancers.

  7. dreamscatcher says:

    The x files was the most intelligent and thought-provoking show of the 1990s and even after all these years, the worldwide fandom is still going strong. Please please please (with sugar and sunflower seeds on top), let us have a third movie Fox/Chris Carter.
    And please make all us squeeing fangirls happy by giving Mulder & Scully some more lovely sexytimes together!
    Thank you very much.

  8. philiater says:

    I truly hope there is a third film and that it includes Skinner (nanotechnology or not)

  9. Berdy says:

    XF3? Sure as long as there is more emphasis, as compared to the second movie, on the X-File and less on the melodrama. I need more Mulder, more Skinner and a Scully who is invested in the files again. And please, please, please no William! Give me a classic XF with chills, thrills, banter, humor, romance, trench coats and big-ass flashlights and I'll buy a ticket or two.

  10. Karen says:

    The X-Files have always been a step ahead of its time, and has not faultered in its essence. There is still a story to be told and I am more than hopeful, I have faith in that we will get our third movie.
    We want to see Mulder and Scully come full circle with the mythology and complete this cycle.
    And of course, needless to say, there can be no other Mulder and Scully, beautifully portrayed by both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who have given life to these characters in a way no one else can.
    We have followed them (the entire franchise) throughout the series and two movies, and will continue to do so.
    YES, for TXF3!!!

  11. tdevol says:

    Let me start this by saying that "The X-Files" franchise helped put FOX on the map and that anyone who suggests that Duchovny and Anderson are too old to reprise these roles, is foolish. David Duchovny is still a huge draw especially considering his new show, "Californication" is doing so well. Gillian Anderson has always had an enormous fan following, as is evident by the sold out showings of "A Doll's House" in London, long before the play opens.
    "The X-Files" would not exist as it is without them, just as it would not exist as it is without all of the hard work and dedication that Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz and the rest of the crew and cast, put into it.
    FOX would be foolish not to go with a third film given the 2012 storyline which captivated audiences throughout most of the nine seasons the series was on the air.
    This franchise still has the potential to make money and a new film, with the right storyline, released at the right time, will prove that.
    That's all for now.
    T

  12. stonecypher says:

    We simply must have a third X-Files film. Not only would the timing of 2012 be perfect, there's still so much story to tell with these wonderful, wonderful characters. I would ask one thing this time – better marketing! If IWTB hadn't have been marketed as an action film and released during the blockbuster season, I'd wager its box office returns and critical response would've been much better. Please Fox, give us XF3!

  13. Field_Trish says:

    Yes, yes, there let be a third movie! It will happen, we just must believe! I can't wait to see it. we will do whatever it takes to make it happen!
    As for what some of you saying about the movie tanking if it stars Gillian and David, come on! Are you high or something? It will tank if they DON'T star in it!!!!! How can there be anything X-Files related without David and Gillian?!?!?! That's just plain stupid! They are the core of the success of this series whether you want to admit it or not! Long live David and Gillian!!!! And CC and FS too!!!!
    KTHNXBAI

  14. Liz says:

    YES bring on XF3. There so much left to be told and honestly the general public needs intellectual story telling, I mean have you seen what's out there.
    To whatever poster said it needs a reboot, Are you insane????
    This franchise would not exist if it weren't for the genius of Chris Carter, the dedication and heart of Frank Spotnitz, and of course without the breath of life from Gillian Anderson to her Scully and David Duchovny to his Mulder. The X-Files is a combination of the talent of all these people, take them out of the equation and it's not The X-Files.
    Please Fox bring back XF3 and while your at it promote it better this time.
    See ya on the big screen

  15. DMS says:

    I believe Hollywood is overly youth-oriented enough…Gossip Girl, 90210, Hannah Montana and shows like these have their place, as do cartoon characters that never age, but come on, isn't it refreshing (to those of us that don't live our lives on the Cartoon Network) to see characters that aren't obesssed with either passing high school or getting laid, and have complex and interesting stories to tell? ER just finished a very successful 15 year run…those characters aged and people still tuned in every week. Law & Order is full of characters that are over 25, and that show still does well in the ratings. As long as the stories are well told and well acted, who cares how old the characters are? Are we really that shallow that we'll limit our scopes to characters that even Zac Efron will be outgrowing sooner than not???

  16. Louise T Cohen says:

    Really enjoyed the third film but felt the budget and marketing didn't help or correspond. It was marketed as a blockbuster but had a budget which didn't reflect this. It was a really good film though and I really do think a thid could do very well -especially with an alien theme. I think XF3 should def happen

  17. Sandi says:

    Any other actors playing Mulder and Scully would just NOT BE RIGHT. As for David and Gillian being too old… it's simply NOT TRUE. What, the show was on TV for 9 years and there has been a 6 year gap between the finale and "I Want To Believe" of course they have aged, and for what its worth I think they have both aged gracefully.
    XF3? Yes Please!! With David and Gillian.

  18. Keri says:

    Bring on XF3! FOX Studios…..make it happen.

  19. Blair says:

    Totally in agreement with the above posters. (well, most) As has already been mentioned (but wouldn't hurt to re-emphasize), the X-Files IS Mulder and Scully…and Mulder and Scully ARE David and Gillian. Its not even an option to replace them with different people…in my mind, true fan's minds, and most DEFINITELY Chris Carter's and Frank Spotnitz's minds.
    And again, with PROPER advertisement and a PROPER release date (come on FOX, really, WHAT were you thinking last time?), I have MORE than enough confidence that a third movie would draw audiences, new and old, and do just fine. What did we learn from the second film people—DONT. GIVE. UP. Well I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel on 2012 and all the fun/adventure/romance/thrills that would entail.

  20. C C says:

    I'm surprised Fox greenlighted IWTB. I haven't seen it yet, but I suspect the movie was made merely to pay homage to the other X-Files writers (one in particular). There are some dirty secrets about the genesis and evolution of The X-Files that are going to come to light in the near future, and Chris Carter is not going to come out of it looking too great. About the only way I see a third, mythology-based film being made is with the input of another one of the "founding fathers" of the series. Also, Fox should explore the idea of a tv mini-series to bring closure to The X-Files (which I have no doubt Carter is vehemently against).

  21. Esther says:

    I really had fun seeing IWTB in theaters… and even though it had its flaws, it still took me back to a time where tv was actually decent. Where there where shows on regular tv that made me think and all that — and not as much 'reality tv'…
    Both David and Gillian did an awesome job in terms of bringing those two back to life. It was a breath of fresh air seeing them take them in a new direction ( a mature, adult direction — one that I didn't see coming… ). And they're definitely NOT too old to play them either — and I too say that NO ONE else could play them as well or as effectively as those two did.
    I have enough respect and trust in them as actors to know that they would do a good job in a third movie. Just as long as the advertising is better and it has a better release date.
    Then I say, bring on the aliens, the banter, action adventure, mystery and the romance ;).

  22. Britt says:

    IMHO, it would be a mistake if FOX decided not to make a 3rd XF movie – especially with 2012 right around the corner. The entire mytharc of the show was centered around the conspiracy leading up to 2012. How can they let the year pass us by without addressing and completing this huge storyline? I can honestly say that FOX will be dealing with some pretty pissed off fans if they don't greenlight XF3!
    Thanks for the article! :)

  23. AK Mac says:

    If they want a hit movie for the 3rd they need it to be directed and maybe even co-written by a man dominating Hollywood right now with sci-fi flavored movies, and not to mention a man that is a huge fan of the show (which lead him to create Fringe and Lost, to name a few).
    J. J. Abrams needs to be involved. Are you Listening FOX?

  24. Christna says:

    I REALLY HOPE THEY MAKE A THIRD X FILES MOVIE WITH MULER AND SCULLY MARRIED AND THEM HAVING A DAUGHTER TOGETHER THAT WOULD BE AWESOME. EVEN IF THEY DID SAY THAT SHE CAN'T HAVE KIDS THEY CAN FIND A WAY TO CHANGE THAT. ANYWAY I'M JUST SAYING THAT WOULD BE AWESOME…

  25. AXEL says:

    WHAT D O YOU MEAN NO WILLIAM! they OB AGAIGSTVIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CANT DO THE SORY WITH OUT HIM BECAUSE THE WHOLE STORY LINE FOR THE THIRD MOVIE REVOLVES AROUND HIM.THEY CANT DO THE ALIEN INVASION IN 2012 WITH OUT HIM OTHER WISE IT WOULDNT MAKE SENSE WITH THE STORY LINE.WILLIAM IS SOPPOSED TO LEAD AN ARMY OF HUMANS AND ALIEN/HUAMAN HYBRIDS AGAINST THE ALIENS. he (NEEDS) to come back. AND WILLIAM IS AWESOME SO SHUTUP!!!!!! I CANT WAIT TILL THEY START TO AIR THE TRAILER. I REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHAT ACTOR WILL PLAY WILLIAM.

  26. Bruno says:

    Chris Carter has ruined The X-Files for being on the air for far too long. His convoluted mythology alien/super soldier storyline during the final season of the TV show. The silly idea of a alien invasion 2012 storyline and how Mulder and Scully son William is the savior of the world. Mulder and Scully are no longer with the FBI and finally Chris Carter wrote and directed the awful movie I Want To Believe. The X-Files needs a good writer and director to give a dying franchise new life. And in my opinion the best man for the job is Christopher Nolan. Wishful thinking on my part but one can dream.

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