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‘The X-Files’: Gillian Anderson on Scully & Why the Show is Still Loved

Ever since The X-Files ended its full-season run in 2002 fans have continued to crave more. Luckily in 2016, the show’s creator Chris Carter blessed us with a new event series that reunited us once more with special agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. The truth really is still out there.

With the return of the second event season (series 11) finally here, Gillian Anderson says that the show’s popularity since airing 26 years ago has been down to fans finding comfort in the series, its characters and its daring narratives.

“We were the beginning appointment television. I’ve heard so many people say I used to watch this with my dad when I was little and he passed away now. Or, it bonded me with my mom who I didn’t see because she was working,” she mentioned.

Anderson rose to fame in 1993 as Scully and has since been regarded as one of television’s most loved female protagonists. As cliché as it sounds, she admits that getting the pivotal role at 24 had changed her life and for all the right reasons.

“I was unemployed. I was sleeping on somebody’s couch I think. So it had a huge impact on me. In retrospect to be a part of something that was so iconic, a character who was so beloved, I mean what more could one ask of, you know, if you’re going to be a character for such a long time.”

The last episode of season 10 of The X-Files left fans on the edge of their seats as Scully raced against time to try and save Mulder from an alien virus that had begun to infect the human race. For people coming back to the character, Anderson says that there is a lot more to explore and that the story certainly wasn’t finished.

“There’s more to say. There needs to be another level of closure because we can say goodbye definitely maybe,” she said.

During NYCC last October Anderson hinted that the new season will be her swan-song. Seemingly confirming the news at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, she stated,

“It’s time for me to hang up Scully’s hat. It Just is. I’m finished, and that’s the end of that.”

While The X-Files will most definitely not be the same without Scully, it’s safe to say we will be seeing a lot more of Gillian soon.

The actress, who has previously starred in hit television shows such as The Fall and American Gods, admits that it’s not that hard to shake Scully off when she is preparing for another role.

“It’s actually harder in the reverse to come back to something that I’m so familiar with, is so a part of me and yet she’s by the nature of the fact I’ve changed so much, certainly features wise.”

Though appearance might have changed ever so slightly, Scully is still the same feisty woman she was when she first met Mulder in the pilot episode.

“How great to be able to play one [character] that people like and want to emulate. And to be a part of the show that changed the face of television at the time.”

In the current period of which we find ourselves living in the big question relating to the show’s governmental themes is whether The X-Files should be considered as a political series.

“Oh, it’s always been a political show,” Anderson clearly notes. “I mean that’s a big part of what the show is and what it’s always been about. You know, we are FBI agents. We work for the government and so it can’t not tap into some of those, the issues that are part of the political framework.”

When we think about The X-Files we think about the chemistry between the two leads, Mulder and Scully. The last two decades have proven that Scully really is one of this generations best heroines. She’s strong, even in situations that are in fact a bit out of this world. It’s evident that Scully will remain a fundamental part of who Gillian Anderson is and in her own words, she says that elements of the character are hard to put into words.

“There was something about her that felt slightly indifferent or irreverent and at the same time when she needed to be focused on the things that she found important. [She is] very passionate.”

The X-Files returns Wednesdays 8pm ET on Fox (US) and Mondays 9pm GMT on Channel 5 (UK).