”Creepy” and ”disturbing” aren’t your typical compliments, but for any TV series executive-produced by Frank Spotnitz, both are high praise. The former X-Files producer and staff writer (not to mention ex-EW contributor) chatted with EW about a possible cinematic resurrection of Mulder and Scully, plus finding closure for his canceled (and new-to-DVD) series Night Stalker.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So… what can you tell us about the second X-Files movie?
FRANK SPOTNITZ: My deal has been done for almost two years. Actually, I think I was the first one to close the deal, and it took some time for David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and Chris Carter to close their deals as well. And now, there are these legal issues that have emerged between Chris and [20th Century Fox] over the television series. I don’t know exactly what those issues are and when and if they will be resolved, but I don’t think the movie can go forth until they are.
Have you guys mapped out the plot yet?
Yeah, we went in and pitched the story a year and a half ago. We’ve worked out most of it. We haven’t written a script yet, but we’re ready to go if and when.
But no conspiracy stuff, right?
Yeah, I think that was one of the big appeals of doing a movie — to not be constrained by the mythology. Nine years was a long time to stretch out the mythology of the series, and the first movie had to deal with it because it was sandwiched between two seasons of the TV show. It will catch up to the characters where they are now. We’ll address whatever period of time has elapsed between the end of the series and the current moment.
Does that include disclosing the whereabouts of Mulder and Scully’s baby?
Well, the way it was left at the very end was that they had just given up the child and they were fugitives from the FBI, so we’ll have to address where they’re living and whether they’re still in a fugitive state.
ABC pulled Night Stalker, your reimagining of the classic ’70s series, off the schedule in the middle of a two-part episode. How gratifying is it to finally see the show available on DVD?
Very much so. One of the ideas unique to the series was, ”Is Carl Kolchak [Stuart Townsend] what he seems to be? Is he a hero or a murderer? By the time of [the last aired] episode, people were pretty sure he was a hero, and the ending of the two-parter makes you question that all over again. We’ve also included two scripts that were in pre-production when we were canceled.
Do you think the show got a fair shake from the network?
You never know what might have happened, but we had three huge strikes against us. First was the time slot, Thursdays at 9, opposite CSI, which is arguably the worst time slot you could get for a new show. Secondly, we didn’t get any paid advertising — the network made a decision to spend all their money on their other dramas. Lastly, our lead-in [Alias] turned out to be a lot weaker than anyone thought it would be, and as it turned out, didn’t even have the same audience as our show. When you have those three things going against you, it’s almost impossible to succeed.
So was it painful to sit through all the episodes again for the commentary?
I saw the commentary as an opportunity to reveal as much as I could about where the show was going and what all the secrets were. I explain an awful lot about what the mark on Kolchak’s wrist means, whether or not he actually killed his wife, and a lot of other questions I think viewers were hoping would get answered when the show got pulled.