Fox has just released a 21-minute preview of its The X-Files six-episode reboot, which will premiere on January 24th. The promo video features a ton of behind-the-scenes clips, a look at monster design, and a lot of production employees getting real jazzed about their use of practical effects, which apparently includes setting people on fire and pulling now-old David Duchovny down a hallway with such force that he’ll probably need a hip replacement.
What have we learned from the X-Files: Reopened preview? Quite a few things, actually. In case you haven’t watched it yet, here it is:
The reboot has a distinct structure
Show creator Chris Carter confirms in the promo that the first and sixth episodes of the X-Files’s return in January will “play” with the show’s mythology, meaning the premiere and finale will address Mulder’s sister, Scully and Mulder’s mysterious baby, the cigarette smoking man, and whether the government is hiding the truth from its citizens regarding extraterrestrial life. Further, we now know that episode one and episode six will share the same title, “My Struggle”, though episode one will focus on Mulder’s kampf and episode six will follow Scully.
As for the episodes in between, 2-5 will work as stand alone creature features. Duchovny mentions that some of these episodes will be “funnier than others,” addressing what he says is the show’s great elasticity in tone.
Mulder is obsessed with his iPhone
Several shots in the promo video show Mulder using different functions on his iPhone in the field. He shoves a blurry picture he snapped into Scully’s face while she conducts an autopsy, tries to take flash photos of a creature and googles lizard facts to refute Scully when she tries to correct him about something.
Scully says dryly, “the internet isn’t good for you, Mulder,” which is true, though giving him an iPhone is a bit of a cheap move, reminiscent of all those overwrought twitter accounts seeking to “update” old television shows. Then again, mid-2000s Mulder would definitely follow Giorgio A. Tsoukalos.
Carter didn’t actually call Mulder and Scully’s entire relationship platonic
Calm down, everybody. Fans reacted with rage when Chris Carter was quoted as calling Mulder and Scully’s relationship throughout the show as “platonic.”
Carter’s full quote is featured in the Fox promo, and it’s actually just a confirmation of the leads’ intimacy and complex feelings for each other.
Carter: Mulder and Scully, for nine years, had a platonic relationship. Even though we suggested they have a child together, we never saw them as a couple until the second movie, where we saw them definitely together. When we come back to them in the new series, we will have been honest to their relationship previously, but we now find them in another state. Seven or eight years have elapsed. Time has been difficult for their relationship.
While the series will not shove Mulder and Scully full-force into a romantic relationship, it will address the baby they had together, who, as Scully tells Mulder in the promo, would now be fifteen years old. She even calls Mulder “Fox” when describing their child!
Expect some new allies
It looks like Joel McHale will play some kind of a young Glenn Beck “conservative talk show host” who agrees with Mulder regarding a government conspiracy. McHale’s character is quoted as calling 9/11 a “false flag operation” meant to ramp the country up to World War III, though, so we’re still not sure how crazy he’ll end up being. Can Mulder still be likable if he turns into a 9/11 truther?
Carter confirms Director Skinner was worn down after over 200 episodes of trying to reign Mulder in. It looks like he’ll be doling out some tough love to the special agents in this reboot series, while advocating for them behind the scenes.
Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani will make an appearance. He pops up once or twice in the promo video as a character with no last name, although he’s been tweeting about his experiences on set for months. The Lone Gunmen will also return.
It also looks like the new X-Files episodes will pass the Bechdel test multiple times over, as Scully examines a female abductee and engages in tense conversations with a woman named Monica Reyes.
Excitingly, the promo also shows Mulder and Scully interrupting Rhys Darby while he’s sitting on a toilet and wearing an old timey straw hat. It’s a sequence that suggests the show’s goofy, self-aware humor will remain intact.
Mulder can fight now, and Scully asks a lot of useless questions
A good portion of the promo is devoted to Mulder’s new hand-to-hand combat skills, and a quick fight in a room full of breakable furniture which apparently took nine hours to shoot. When prompted to answer how Mulder would fight, the production team agrees that he uses “whatever he learned in Quantico”.
For a detective, Scully sure does seem to ask a lot of boring questions. When Joel McHale’s character says he’s afraid of low-flying aircrafts recording his conversations, she says:
“Aircrafts employed by whom?”
When McHale’s character says he needs Mulder and Scully’s expertise, she says:
“…our expertise for what?”
The most boring exchange in the promo occurs between Monica Reyes and Scully:
Scully: You have something to tell me.
Reyes: Something you need to know.
Someone stole all the files, but not Mulder’s pencils
As Mulder and Skinner describe in more riveting dialogue, it seems Mulder’s old office has been ransacked since we saw it last.
Mulder: Where are they? The files?!
Skinner: I don’t know.
Creatures and flashbacks to the 1950s will use practical effects and not CGI
We didn’t get many glimpses of the monsters and aliens we’ll see in episodes 2-5 in this promo, but the ones we got were definitely curious. It appears one of the creatures is crafted as an homage to The Creature from the Black Lagoon, although a nameless character specifies that it wears underwear. We also see this underwear in a quick shot of a character sketch, and a shot of Rhys Davies with a scaly hand hints that he might actually be the creature.
The production crew expresses a ton of excitement about its real-life UFO and crash site, which the team designed and built for a flashback sequence. Much is said about the work of stuntmen, the use of breakaway walls and doors and the series’ attention to physical detail. Though some of the dialogue feels sluggish already, the promo does demonstrate a respect for many of the aspects fans adored about the original series. That focus on the fans, above all else, will probably make the six-episode series a satisfying addition to the X-Files canon.