Right at the start, X-Files film producer Frank Spotnitz warns us not to believe anything we may read about the upcoming film based on the popular 1990s television series..
“All I can tell you is, is that there’s a lot of information on the internet and there’s a lot of speculation that stuff is planted or is leaked,” he states. “For our purposes all that speculation is perfect because we don’t want anybody to trust anything they read on the internet. We don’t want the surprise spoiled. I would say, ‘Trust no one.’”
An interesting and ironic position, if partially tongue-in-cheek, considering that the film’s subtitle- I Want To Believe.
Although the film’s late July release is still a few months away, Spotnitz and X-Files creator Chris Carter are at the New York Comic Con to promote the film. While they may be coy about the details of the film’s storyline, the pair were ready to talk to journalists about why they decided to return to the franchise’s world of covert alien invasion, government conspiracies and things that just flat out defy rational explanation.
“The reason we’re doing this is because of the hardcore fans,” states Carter. “One of the other reasons we’re doing this movie is that we want to introduce [The X-Files franchise] to a whole new audience, including kids who may have been too young when the show first came out sixteen years ago.”
But how to make the television series’ nine year’s worth of evolving modern mythology of conspiracy theories “user friendly” to a new audience? Acknowledge that it is there, but don’t make knowledge of it a factor in understanding the film’s plot.
“The hardcore fans are important to us and they’re going to be the first ones in line for the movie, so we wanted to honor their devotion to the show and be true to the characters,” states Spotnitz. “Even if it’s not a ‘mythology’ movie, Mulder and Scully are front and center. Their characters have been through a lot. They’re a little older and we’re a little older and we could connect pretty deeply to them in the end and what they’ve been through.”
“I think what we’re doing is what we actually planned to do even before the TV series ended, which was to take the opportunity to take what we did well, which is to tell a standalone story,” he explains. “Also, a dozen years of passed, which allows us to not have to reconnect to a mythology which was complex. It gave instant access to the movie to a whole new audience. It’s funny, because I thought up a lot of those ideas and they’ve disappeared from my head. I’ve sometimes had to refresh my memory. I didn’t want make people to go through that trouble.”
Carter also is quick to point out that just because the film is not going to address any of the plot threads left dangling when the show went off the air in 2002, the series main characters, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, have continued to grow in the intervening years.
“It’s an extension,” he elaborates. “These characters have lives beyond the end of the TV series and this is were we imagine they are.”
“This is one of the nice dividends in how long its taken us to do this, as its given us a lot more to explore and dramatize than we would have if we had done this immediately after the show ended,” Spotnitz adds.
X-Files fans come in two varieties- the ones who are intrigued by the show’s mysteries and conspiracies and those who are fascinated by the relationship between its two leads, Mulder and Scully. One could say that the Spotnitz and Carter definitely fall into that later camp.
“For me, ‘The truth is out there,’ is more about connecting to another person than the cosmic truth of aliens and things,” admits Spotnitz. “That’s the joy of doing The X-Files in that it’s fun and scary and entertaining viscerally, but then it’s also about big ideas because you’re dealing with two smart characters who differ intellectually in their approach to their investigations.”