The X-Files (franchise)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from The X-Files franchise)
The X-Files
The X Files brand logo.svg
The brand logo of "The X Files", first introduced in November 5, 2000 on its eighth season
Created byChris Carter
Original workThe X-Files
Owner20th Century Studios
(The Walt Disney Company)
Print publications
Films and television
Film(s)The X-Files
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Television seriesThe X-Files
The Lone Gunmen
Original musicMusic of The X-Files

The X-Files is an American science fictionthriller 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 of The X-Files aired, featuring Carter as executive producer and writer, and starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.[1] An eleventh season premiered in January 2018. An animated comedic spin-off entitled The X-Files: Albuquerque is currently in development.

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. By May 2002, the franchise generated $1 billion in total revenue,[2] $500 million of which is revenue from the television show.[3][4]

Television series[edit]

Series Television seasons Duration
1993/94 1994/95 1995/96 1996/97 1997/98 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 2015/16 2017/18
The X-Files 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1993–2002, 2016–2018
Millennium 1 2 3 Finale 1996–99
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. Terry O'Quinn appears often in the series as Peter Watts; O'Quinn has also played four other distinct characters in the X-Files universe- three on the X-Files series, and one in Fight The Future.

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.

The X-Files has crossed over with Millennium, The Lone Gunmen, and Law and Order, as well as The Simpsons (in the season 8 episode "The Springfield Files").


Character Appearances Actor First Last
Series Films
Fox Mulder Main Cameo[note 1] Guest Main Main David Duchovny 1993 2018
Dana Scully Main Cameo[note 2] Main Main Gillian Anderson 1993 2018
John Doggett Main Robert Patrick 2000 2002
Monica Reyes Main Annabeth Gish 2001 2018
Walter Skinner Main Guest Guest Guest Mitch Pileggi 1994 2018
Frank Black Guest Main Lance Henriksen 1996 1999
Catherine Black Main Megan Gallagher 1996 1998
Emma Hollis Main Klea Scott 1998 1999
John Fitzgerald Byers Recurring Main Guest Bruce Harwood 1994 2016
Melvin Frohike Recurring Main Guest Tom Braidwood 1994 2016
Richard Langly Recurring Main Guest Dean Haglund 1994 2018
Jimmy Bond Guest Main Stephen Snedden 2001 2002
Yves Harlow Guest Main Zuleikha Robinson 2001 2002
  1. ^ The character of Fox Mulder appears in season 1, episode 18 of Millennium, though he is not portrayed by David Duchovny.
  2. ^ The character of Dana Scully appears in season 1, episode 18 of Millennium, though she is not portrayed by Gillian Anderson.

Feature films[edit]

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.[5] 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 thrillerhorror 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."[6]

Film Release date Box office revenue Director
United States Other territories Total
The X-Files[7] June 19, 1998 $83,898,313 $105,278,110 $189,176,423 Rob Bowman
The X-Files: I Want to Believe[8] 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.[9] series of licensed tie-in comics based on The X-Files were launched in 2004, by Topps Comics,[10] and in 2008 by the DC Comics imprint WildStorm.[11] The Fox Broadcasting Network publishes the official The X-Files Magazine.[12] 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[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] Series such as Bones, Fringe and Lost have cited The X-Files as a major influence.[18][19][20][21] The series has also topped ranking polls worldwide, but most notably in the English-speaking world.[22][23][24][25][26][27] 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.[6]

The two other series in the franchise have, on the other hand, made less impact. Millennium, while well received by many critics,[28][29][30][31][32] 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.[30] Many reviewers noted the dark storylines of the series, which were constantly mentioned as a reason why the show never became widely popular.[33][34][35] The spin-off, entitled The Lone Gunmen, lasted only one season due to declining viewership, although it too earned largely positive reviews.[36][37]

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.[38] Season 10 aired in January and February 2016.

In April 2017, it was announced that The X-Files would return for another season and would begin production in the summer of the same year.[39] Season 11 premiered on January 3, 2018.[40]

Following Gillian Anderson's exit from the series Fox announced that there are no plans for a season 12.[41]


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 24, 2015). "'The X-Files' Returns As Fox Event Series With Creator Chris Carter And Stars David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson". Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  2. ^ McFarland, Melanie (May 17, 2002). "Moody, mysterious 'X-Files' gave us memorable moments.(The Seattle Times)". Knight Ridder. Archived from the original on October 28, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2016 – via HighBeam Research.
  3. ^ Michael Wolf (17 February 2010). The Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces Are Transforming Our Lives. ISBN 9780307555960. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  4. ^ Appelo, Tim (June 21, 1998). "The Sun Is Out There". Los Angeles Times. p. 300. Retrieved September 12, 2021 – via
  5. ^ Carter, Chris and Bowman, Rob (2005). Audio Commentary for The X-Files: Fight the Future (DVD). Fox Home Entertainment.
  6. ^ a b Keck, William (July 29, 2013). "A Very Special X-Files Reunion". TV Guide. p. 6.
  7. ^ "The X-Files (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  8. ^ "The X-Files: I Want to Believe". The Numbers. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  9. ^ Lyttle, John (May 6, 1996). "Do we need The X Files?". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 2022-05-07. Retrieved June 26, 2004.
  10. ^ Bianculli, David (March 6, 1995). "'X' HITS SPOT IN COMICS, TOO". The New York Daily News. Archived from the original on September 3, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  11. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (June 12, 2008). "SPOTNITZ WANTS TO BELIEVE IN WILDSTORM'S "THE X-FILES SPECIAL"". Comic Book Resources (CBR). Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  12. ^ O'Donnel, Maureen (June 25, 1997) "UFO lore alive in Chicago area". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on July 27, 2009.
  13. ^ Sarrett, Peter (1997). "X-Files CCG". Gamereport. Archived from the original on January 11, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  14. ^ Baxter, Steve (June 19, 1998). "Computer X-Files: The game is out there". CNN. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  15. ^ Flaherty, Mike (April 10, 1998). "The X-Files: Unrestricted Access". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  16. ^ McNamara, John (June 26, 2004). "X-Files: Resist or Serve". Time Magazine. London. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  17. ^ "Duchovny's droll appeal". BBC. May 18, 2001. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  18. ^ Wertheimer, Ron (March 8, 1999). "Television Review: Caught in the Trap Of Science Run Amok". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  19. ^ Millman, Joyce (March 8, 1999). "T H E X • E • R • O • X F I L E S". Salon. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  20. ^ Bonin, Liane (August 14, 2000). "NBC's only new hit may go to another network". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  21. ^ Rosen, Steven (September 13, 2005). "'Bones,' from the heap of tired ideas". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  22. ^ "TV Guide Names the Top Cult Shows Ever". TV Guide. July 27, 1998. Retrieved June 29, 2007.
  23. ^ "TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows". CBS News. April 26, 2002. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
  24. ^ "Complete List — The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME". Time Magazine. September 6, 2007. Archived from the original on September 11, 2007. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  25. ^ Pastorek, Whitney (2003). "The Sci-Fi 25: The Genre's Best Since 1982". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  26. ^ "The New Classics: TV". Entertainment Weekly. 2008. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  27. ^ "What the MediaDNA research found". The Guardian. London. March 13, 2003. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
  28. ^ Uhlich, Keith (September 9, 2005). "Millennium: The Complete Third Season". Slant Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  29. ^ Drucker, Mike (February 3, 2005). "Millennium: The Complete Second Season". IGN. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  30. ^ a b Gerard, Jeremy (October 21, 1996). "Millennium". Variety Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  31. ^ Tucker, Ken (November 8, 1996). "SCARE GIVER". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  32. ^ Elias, Justine (October 20, 1996). "Staring Into the Heart of Darkness". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  33. ^ "Chris Carter's Millennium a flop". BBC News. May 7, 1999. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  34. ^ Wen, Howard (September 9, 1999). "IT'S NOT THE END OF THE "MILLENNIUM," AFTER ALL". Salon. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  35. ^ Slewinski, Christi (October 20, 1996). "'X'TRAORDINARY SUCCESS SPAWNS A DARK 'MILLENNIUM'". The New York Daily News. Archived from the original on September 3, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  36. ^ Poniewozik, James (February 21, 2001). "The Goof Is Out There". Time Magazine. Archived from the original on September 2, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2009.
  37. ^ Rutenberg, Jim (March 5, 2001). "MEDIA; Creator of 'X-Files' Lifts His Profile". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2009.
  38. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 17, 2015). "Fox Confirms 'X-Files' Reboot Talks, David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson To Return: Update". Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  39. ^ Patten, Dominic (2017-04-20). "'The X-Files' Coming Back Again For New Event Series Next Season". Deadline. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  40. ^ Roots, Kimberly (2017-11-15). "The X-Files Season 11 Gets January Premiere Date — See First Poster". TVLine. Retrieved 2020-02-23.
  41. ^ Ausiello, Michael (2018-05-14). "X-Files: Fox Has 'No Plans' for a Season 12 Following Gillian Anderson Exit". TVLine. Retrieved 2020-02-23.

External links[edit]