The X-Files has been going strong for 25 years with fans invested in the paranormal investigations of Agents Mulder and Scully, played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. The show did attempt to carry on without one of the two leads for almost the entire ninth season, and it ultimately didn't work very well. While both were on board for the revival Seasons 10 and 11, Gillian Anderson is on the record that she intends to be done with The X-Files following the Season 11 finale. Series creator Chris Carter previously stated that the show could not continue without her, but he's since changed his tune, saying this:
I don't know. I think that certainly The X-Files has more life in it, there are more stories to tell, with Gillian or without. I'm sorry to see her go, I've never actually considered doing this show without her, so is this the end? It's the end of something, I don't know if it's the beginning of something new. But certainly we will have to all put our heads together and figure out where to go from here.
According to Chris Carter, there are more stories to tell in The X-Files universe after the conclusion of Season 11. Hopefully we can at least take that to mean that neither Mulder nor Scully will die by the final episode in 2018. Even if Gillian Anderson doesn't come back, surely Carter wouldn't kill off Scully after 25 years! Judging by his comments to Digital Spy, he hasn't put a whole lot of thought into how exactly The X-Files could continue without Anderson on board at this point. In fact, she's apparently the one person he never considered doing with show without, which does make sense. Even after David Duchovny only signed on for half the episodes of Season 8 and the finale of Season 9, Anderson was still a regular.
On the one hand, it's difficult to imagine The X-Files running another season without Gillian Anderson. Season 9 proved that the show doesn't work as well without both Anderson and David Duchovny on board, and it might be difficult to take Mulder seriously without Scully on hand to lend some scientific credence to his crazy theories. The eight and ninth seasons did update Mitch Pileggi to regular status so that Scully could team up with the Skinman more often in Mulder's absence, but that may not work a second time.
On the other hand, there are ways to continue The X-Files stories without another season on Fox. Prior to the revival in 2016, Mulder and Scully's stories carried on in the form of novels and comics. Perhaps Chris Carter and Co. could go continue to produce new X-Files mysteries without needing either Gillian Anderson or David Duchovny in the mix. We'll have to wait and see. The show's wild midseason trailer seemed to hint that the William plot will be wrapping up sooner rather than later, and the recent big tragedy may have set the stage for Scully to leave the FBI behind. Who knows? Maybe both Mulder and Scully could check out of the action and allow for the rise of that spinoff.
The X-Files airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to swing by our midseason TV premiere guide.