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The X-Files event series will soon be upon us, and fans everywhere are looking forward to the new shows while also reveling in the past excellence of the series. There’s nothing that can make us doubt that FBI Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) were absolute partners in every way on that show, each bearing the burden of the truth with equal weight. And, there’s no doubt that the new episodes will feature more of the same. But, according to Gillian Anderson, there were some that thought Mulder and Scully weren’t quite equal enough for her to be paid the same as Duchovny for the new batch of episodes.
It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it. Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.
Gillian Anderson talked to The Daily Beast about her time on The X-Files from 1993 through 2002. Anderson revealed that she had to fight to be paid the same as her male co-star during the original run of the series, which followed the two agents as they invested spooky, unexplainable cases. And, even though she eventually won that battle and was looking forward to helping bring the show back to television, apparently the powers-that-be had forgotten all about her original request. When they were orchestrating the return of The X-Files, they only offered Anderson half of what they offered to Duchovny.
I don’t doubt that it was shocking for Gillian Anderson to need to speak up for herself again. Especially after helping to establish The X-Files as a cultural touchstone for the 1990s and one of the new classics of television science fiction. The show was as much hers as it was David Duchovny’s; the idea of The X-Files without Mulder having Scully as a counterpoint feels like it’s not even a show at all. Certainly not one as cool as the show we got.
It makes sense that Gillian Anderson certainly would have thought that times had changed, after all, she got equal pay as her co-star in the third season of the series, and the show has been off the air for a whopping 16 years. There was no real reason for her to think that revisiting the show would put her right back in 1993. And, while it may be true that David Duchovny has worked more in the US since the show ended (while Anderson worked mostly in the UK), the basis of The X-Files is that the two agents are partners. Their characters carry equal weight on the show, and the actors carry equal weight to make that possible.
Well, no one can fault Gillian Anderson for sticking up for herself again. Sometimes you only get what you deserve if you ask for it.