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How The X-Files Chooses What To Bring Back From The Early Seasons

the x files season 1 mulder scully
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Fox)

Spoilers ahead for the second episode of The X-Files Season 11.

When The X-Files returned to TV for a revival back in 2016, fans eagerly awaited seeing how many elements from the original run of the series would be present. After all, everything from Mulder and Scully's dynamic to how they can investigate in the 21st century would undoubtedly be somewhat different since the duo was last seen on screen. The X-Files has now officially returned for Season 11, and series creator Chris Carter spoke to CinemaBlend about how the show chooses what to bring back from the earlier seasons:

You see that there's a Lone Gunmen story, you see that there's an expansion of the mythology. It's really just taking the raw materials and resources that we are given, the political moment for example, the technology for another example, and making use of them in telling good X-Files stories. That's always been the trick and we sit down and we talk about where this series might go and what we want to accomplish and what we did well and what we think we can do better. It's essentially that. We don't sit down with a checklist saying let's bring back this, let's bring back that. It's really what happens organically.

As it turns out, The X-Files brings back elements from the original run of the series if they fit the new stories being told rather than the other way around. The revival could have deliberately crafted episodes for the purpose of revisiting the past; instead, it's using the history of the many years of the show and the two feature films to enrich the new episodes. Chris Carter's comments indicate that telling organic stories takes precedence over callbacks to specific elements from days gone by.

Interestingly, the plot of the Season 11 premiere ended on a reveal that touched back on a lingering question about an episode from Season 7, finally seemingly delivering the answer of what the Cigarette-Smoking Man did to Scully way back then. The second episode answered how Langley (who died in Season 9 but appeared in promos for Season 11) could return to the action as well as the name of Mulder's long-dead source, Deep Throat, who was killed back in the Season 1 finale. Even the Cigarette-Smoking Man's real name has been confirmed. These answers came in episodes that happened to allow for big reveals, and they delivered payoffs to longtime viewers without crafting episodes all around the past.

Of course, the mythology episodes will always touch back on the past, as it has been developing, twisting, and turning for the past quarter of a century, so we'll always have some degree of continuity to keep track of for as long as the saga of The X-Files continues. We'll have to wait and see what the show brings back in what remains of what may be the final season. There are still eight episodes remaining in Season 11, and a lot can happen in eight episodes of this series.

You can catch new episodes of The X-Files on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. For what you can watch on the rest of the nights of the week, take a look at our midseason TV premiere guide. If you're now in the mood to rewatch some earlier seasons of The X-Files, you can find the entire series streaming on Hulu.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.