Anderson: Fox
Lori Reese
July 26, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The X-Files” is coming back this season, but the big question has been how much longer can the beloved sci-fi series last? Today, fans have reason to hope for at least two more years. has learned that Gillian Anderson (Agent Scully) will extend her current contract — which is set to expire at the end of the 2000-2001 season — for another year. Creator/ exec producer Chris Carter tells that this late breaking development (expected to be announced soon by Fox) makes him feel increasingly confident about the show’s long term prospects.

Anderson’s contract extension doesn’t guarantee that Fox will keep ”X-Files” on its roster after the current season, however. David Duchovny, who will appear in just over half of this year’s episodes, is unlikely to return. And Carter, without whom many think the series would fail, says that his decision to continue beyond 2000-01 depends a lot on whether the show can retain its allure with ”Terminator 2”’s Robert Patrick playing Scully’s new sidekick, Agent Doggett. Developing the dynamic between the new partners this season is tricky, explains Carter: ”It’s a little anxiety producing. It’s like Tiger Woods rebuilding his golf swing — throwing away something that’s very good and turning it into something better.”

Even though some ”X-Files” uncertainty remains, at least one thing is sure: We’ll be seeing more output from the show’s creator in the future. Carter says he hopes the much buzzed about ”Lone Gunmen” — a spin-off Fox originally planned for this fall — will debut Sunday nights beginning after February sweeps. And he adds that he still wants to turn the ”X-Files” into a series of movies, which bodes well for the future of the original show: ”I have high hopes still that the TV series will become a movie series. In order for that to be so, you can’t just let ‘The X-Files’ fade away.”

Carter, ever the fan of suspense, refuses to answer any of the burning questions that left fans unsettled at the end of last season. (Mulder’s abduction? Scully’s pregnancy?) He does say, though, that we can expect to learn more about Scully’s mysterious affair. At a recent comic book convention, he says he was confronted with a probing query from a teenager in the audience: ”She said, ‘Now, was Agent Scully having sex? We never SAW her having sex.’ And I said, ‘How old are you?’ and she said, ’13.’ And I said, ‘I guess this is the PG-13 answer: She COULD have been having sex. She MIGHT have been having sex.”’ Indeed, one of this season’s episodes (written and directed by Anderson) will begin and end in the bedroom, Carter says. ”We’re gonna break all the barriers of what you can do on prime time.” Does that mean Cigarette Smoking Man was involved?

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