Ryan Coogler is the Best Person to Make a New X-Files for One Timely Reason
The truth is out there, again.
If there’s one thing we want to believe, it’s that The X-Files can always come back. The beloved Fox series has done so several times before, and while the original stars are dubious about returning for another, it seems there’s more than one way to tell this particular story.
According to the original series creator Chris Carter, The X-Files may be returning — but this time, it may be writer-director Ryan Coogler at the helm. Carter dropped the news rather casually during a retrospective with CBC’s On The Coast. “I just spoke to a young man, Ryan Coogler, who is going to remount The X-Files with a diverse cast,” Carter told host Gloria Macarenko. “He’s got his work cut out for him, because we covered so much territory.”
The X-Files ran for nine seasons before spawning two films and a two-season revival, so Carter’s not wrong about having covered a lot of ground. However, the beauty of the show lies in the simplicity (and infinite potential) of its premise. It’s all about two people — a skeptic and a true believer — and their encounters with paranormal phenomena. What made the show complex was the dynamic between its skeptic, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), and her stalwart partner Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), as well as the conspiracies the two uncovered week after week. It’s been replicated in various shows, and to various affect, since The X-Files first came onto the scene, so it’s not really a question of whether Coogler will have enough ideas to merit a reboot, but whether a reboot will find as much success as the original.
What gives the original X-Files its staying power — aside from the latent chemistry between its two leads — is the nostalgia it inspires now. Despite its sometimes-trashy, deeply self-serious monster-of-the-week format, The X-Files was a moment in the ‘90s. That said, it never struck the same chord when taken out of its original context. Not even the revival can live up to the hype that the original series delivered. And while its condemnation of institutional abuse felt downright radical 30 years ago, similar observations may ring stale now that those conspiracies have become our reality.
The conspiracy also has a different connotation now than it did in the ‘90s. It’s since become synonymous with right wing extremism, but perhaps that’s a topic that Coogler is uniquely qualified to tackle. The writer-director has proved to be a master of interpreting well-known IP from the perspective of the marginalized, all while bringing a sense of empowerment to his characters. Coogler’s deft touch could be the one thing an X-Files revival is missing. Plus, a more diverse cast and crew could most certainly redeem the problematic adventures that fans are still trying to forget.
Coogler himself has yet to confirm whether he is actually adapting The X-Files, so this cautious speculation could all be for nothing. That said, the truth is out there, and hopefully fans will encounter it sooner rather than later.