The X-Files (franchise)
Logo for The X-Files, the series which originated the franchise
|Original work||The X-Files|
|Films and television|
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
|Television series||The X-Files
The Lone Gunmen
|Original music||Music of The X-Files|
The X-Files is an American science fiction–thriller media franchise created by Chris Carter. The franchise generally focused on paranormal or unexplained happenings. The first franchise release—simply titled The X-Files—debuted in September 1993 and ended in May 2002. The show was a hit for Fox, and its characters and slogans (e.g., "The Truth Is Out There", "Trust No One", "I Want to Believe") became pop culture touchstones in the 1990s. 1996 saw the premiere of a second series set in the same universe but covering a storyline independent of the X-Files mythology, titled Millennium. In 1998, the first X-Files feature film titled The X-Files was released, eventually grossing over $180 million. A spin-off—The Lone Gunmen—was released in 2001 and abruptly canceled. Six years after the initial television series was canceled, another film—The X-Files: I Want to Believe—was released. In January 2016, a tenth season aired, featuring Carter as executive producer and writer, as well as David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.
In addition to film and television, The X-Files franchise has expanded into other media, including books, video games, and comic books. These supplements to the film and television series have resulted in significant development of the show's fictional universe and mythology.
|The X-Files||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||1993–2002, 2016|
|The Lone Gunmen||1||Finale||2001|
The X-Files, starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, first aired on September 10, 1993. Originally following the work of Special Agent Fox Mulder, an FBI investigator assigned to the X-Files, a division tasked with the solving of cases for which there are no explanation. Special Agent Dana Scully, a shrewd medical doctor, is assigned to debunk Mulder's work, though as the two continue to investigate the unexplained and the paranormal, her own faith is also tested. Scully later works alongside both John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). The X-Files is generally divided into two classes of episodes, the first, monster-of-the-week, or "stand-alone" episodes, and the second, X-Files mythology, which follows a government conspiracy to hide the truth about the existence of extraterrestrial life. The series also stars Mitch Pileggi as Assistant Director Walter Skinner, William B. Davis as The Smoking Man and John Neville as Well-Manicured Man.
Millennium, aired from 1996 to 1999, stars Lance Henriksen as Frank Black, a skilled criminal psychologist who could predict the actions of murderers and serial killers. Investigating the horrific crimes, Black eventually became a consultant for the Millennium Group, which believed that the world as we know it would come to an end at the beginning of the new millennium; a job which eventually leads to the demise of his wife, Catherine (Megan Gallagher). In the third season, Black turns on the group and rejoins the FBI as a special agent, working alongside Special Agent Emma Hollis (Klea Scott) to solve brutal crimes within the FBI's jurisdiction.
The Lone Gunmen, the third series in the X-Files franchise, follows the established characters of Richard Langly, Melvin Frohike and John Fitzgerald Byers (Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, and Dean Haglund), in their attempts to compile conspiracy-theorist magazine. Far more light-hearted than its predecessors, this series also stars Stephen Snedden as Jimmy Bond, and Zuleikha Robinson as Yves Harlow.
|Mulder, FoxFox Mulder||Main||Cameo[note 1]||Guest||Main||Main||Duchovny, DavidDavid Duchovny||1993||2016|
|Scully, DanaDana Scully||Main||Cameo[note 2]||Main||Main||Anderson, GillianGillian Anderson||1993||2016|
|Doggett, JohnJohn Doggett||Main||Patrick, RobertRobert Patrick||2000||2002|
|Reyes, MonicaMonica Reyes||Main||Gish, AnnabethAnnabeth Gish||2001||2016|
|Skinner, WalterWalter Skinner||Main||Guest||Guest||Main||Pileggi, MitchMitch Pileggi||1994||2016|
|Black, FrankFrank Black||Guest||Main||Henriksen, LanceLance Henriksen||1996||1999|
|Black, CatherineCatherine Black||Main||Gallagher, MeganMegan Gallagher||1996||1998|
|Hollis, EmmaEmma Hollis||Main||Scott, KleaKlea Scott||1998||1999|
|Byers, John FitzgeraldJohn Fitzgerald Byers||Recurring||Main||Guest||Harwood, BruceBruce Harwood||1994||2016|
|Frohike, MelvinMelvin Frohike||Recurring||Main||Guest||Braidwood, TomTom Braidwood||1994||2016|
|Langly, RichardRichard Langly||Recurring||Main||Guest||Haglund, DeanDean Haglund||1994||2016|
|Bond, JimmyJimmy Bond||Guest||Main||Snedden, StephenStephen Snedden||2001||2002|
|Yves Harlow||Guest||Main||Robinson, ZuleikhaZuleikha Robinson||2001||2002|
- The character of Fox Mulder appears in season 1, episode 18 of Millennium, though he is not portrayed by David Duchovny.
- The character of Dana Scully appears in season 1, episode 18 of Millennium, though she is not portrayed by Gillian Anderson.
The first feature film, The X-Files, was released in 1998 in between the fifth and sixth season. It was intended to be a continuation of the season five finale "The End", but also be able to stand on its own. Season six opener "The Beginning" picked up where the film left off. The majority of the film was shot in the break between the series' fourth and fifth seasons. The film follows the actions of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) after their dismissal from the X-Files division.
Unlike the first film, the plot of The X-Files: I Want to Believe does not focus on the series' ongoing extraterrestrial-based "mytharc" and instead works as a standalone thriller–horror story. The film details ex-agents Mulder and Scully's search for a missing FBI agent. While Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) makes a notable appearance, John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) are absent from the film. During a July 2013 panel discussion at the San Diego Comic-Con hosted by TV Guide, both Anderson and Duchovny expressed willingness to do a third feature film, but Carter was more reserved at the idea, stating, "You need a reason to get excited about going on and doing it again."
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Director|
|The X-Files||June 19, 1998||$83,898,313||$105,278,110||$189,176,423||Rob Bowman|
|The X-Files: I Want to Believe||July 25, 2008||$20,982,478||$47,386,956||$68,369,434||Chris Carter|
The X-Files stars David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Mitch Pileggi, alongside Blythe Danner, Martin Landau, and William B. Davis. The X-Files: I Want to Believe stars Duchovny, Anderson, and Pileggi, alongside Amanda Peet, Xzibit, and Billy Connolly.
There are three series of novels based on The X-Files franchise, one based on each of the three shows. During the run of the television series The X-Files, many books based on it were written and released, including novels based on episodes, a series of comic books from Topps Comics, and many "official" and "unauthorized" non-fiction books. Some of the novels, which were published in both hardcover and trade paperback editions, were adapted into audiobooks read by two of the series' stars, Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi. Three X-Files books rose to the top-selling list over Europe and North America. These books were The Official Guide to The X-Files, The Unofficial X-Files Companion and The X-Files Book of the Unexplained. series of licensed tie-in comics based on The X-Files were launched in 2004, by Topps Comics, and in 2008 by the DC Comics imprint WildStorm. The Fox Broadcasting Network publishes the official The X-Files Magazine. In total, five novels have been based on Millennium, the first being a novelization of the pilot episode. Some novels were also released as audiobooks read by actor Bill Smitrovich. In 2015, a comic book adaptation of Millennium was released.
Toys and games
The X-Files spawned a large number of spin-off products. The X-Files Collectible Card Game was released in 1996, and an expansion pack was released in 1997. The X-Files has inspired three video games. In 1998, The X-Files Game was released for the PC and Macintosh and a year later for the PlayStation. This game is set within the timeline of the second or third season and follows Agent Craig Willmore in his search for the missing Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. In 2000, Fox Interactive released The X-Files: Unrestricted Access, a game-style database for Windows and Mac, which allowed users access to every case file. Then, in 2004, The X-Files: Resist or Serve was released for the PlayStation 2. This game is an original story set in the seventh season and allows the player control of both Mulder and Scully. Both games feature acting and voice work from members of the series' cast. A 12-inch Frank Black figurine was issued by Sideshow in the same mold as The X-Files characters Fox Mulder and Dana Scully earlier.
The X-Files franchise has influenced many series over the years and became a television touchstone of the 90s. The first installment, The X-Files, became an international hit and its two main actors, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, became international sex symbols. Series such as Bones, Fringe and Lost have cited The X-Files as a major influence. The series has also topped ranking polls worldwide, but most notably in the English speaking world. Carter, Duchovny and Anderson celebrated the 20th anniversary of the series at a July 18, 2013 panel at the San Diego Comic-Con hosted by TV Guide. During the discussion, Anderson discussed Scully's impact on female fans, relating that a number of women have informed her that they entered into careers in physics because of the character.
The two other series in the franchise have, on the other hand, made less impact. Millennium, while well-received by many critics, garnered criticism for the episodes being similar to each other in content and themes. Variety magazine reviewer Jeremy Gerard, although his review was mostly favorable, criticized it for giving him the "nagging feeling" that it wanted to hurt him. Many reviewers noted the dark storylines of the series, which were constantly mentioned as a reason why the show never became widely popular. The spin-off, entitled The Lone Gunmen, lasted only one season due to declining viewership, although it too earned largely positive reviews.
On January 17, 2015, Fox confirmed that they were looking at the possibility of bringing The X-Files back. Fox chairman Dana Walden told reporters that "conversations so far have only been logistical and are in very early stages" and that the series would only go forward if Carter, Anderson, and Duchovny were all on board, and that it was a matter of ensuring all of their timetables are open.
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