The truth is still out there, and it’s a hit. X-Files fans packed the Main Stage at New York Comic Con on Saturday for the anticipated U.S. premiere of the series’ first new episode in 13 years. Following the screening, stars David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner), along with series creator Chris Carter, took the stage for a panel hosted by Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani (who, in addition to hosting the X-Files Files podcast, is also appearing in the event series). Here’s what they had to say to everyone who still wants to believe:
1. The cast is excited, too.
Nanjiani made no secret of how intimately he knows The X-Files, even referring to aliens by the old-school moniker “E.B.E.” (“It’s called The X-Files,” he joked when the panelists didn’t catch his references. “You guys gotta watch it.”) He also alluded to how surreal it is to move from longtime fan to active participant in the series, opening the panel by asking the audience to “please take pictures of the screen; I’ll pay you thousands of dollars,” and at one point begging Duchovny and Pileggi, “Don’t look at me!” But the host wasn’t the only one having a moment — he said that when Pileggi’s name and badge made their appearance in the opening credits, he looked back and saw the actor whisper, “Wow.”
2. The signature plot structure remains intact.
The X-Files helped set the standard for series balancing an ongoing mythology arc with standalone stories, and Carter confirmed that fans of both type of episodes will be pleased: The premiere and finale — each of which he wrote — will be mythology based, while the remaining four will be monster-of-the-week outings penned by original series writers Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan, and James Wong.
3. The stars fell back into the show’s rhythm easily.
Duchovny said that even though it took him a few takes on the first afternoon to find “that Mulder flow,” the actors have a “kind of group memory” for their characters. “Not even with words,” he said. “It’s more instinctive at this point. We can kind of feel when Mulder is right or when Scully is right.”
4. Carter wants fans to give Mulder and Scully’s split a chance.
“This is when the sniper gets me,” said Carter when the topic turned to the dynamic between Mulder and Scully, who find themselves on the outs. “We wanted to be true to the passage of time, and Mulder and Scully have their differences,” argued the showrunner. Nanjiani agreed, adding that Mulder would be a “very intense man” to live with. “ ‘Hey, where are the Cheerios?’” he deadpanned. “ ‘I WANT THE TRUTH.’”
5. The cast is having fun with technological advances.
A lot’s changed since the original series went off the air in 2002 — for one, the cast joked about the addition of texting to the series. Nanjiani is convinced that Skinner has a burner phone, and he and Duchovny theorized that the Cigarette Smoking Man shows up on Mulder’s caller ID with an image of the phantom of the opera.
6. More episodes are not out of the question.
When asked if they might go another round, Duchovny didn’t rule it out. “I’m grateful to all of you guys and to Chris for making it possible for us to come back and play these characters again, and if it so happens that there’s an appetite for more,” said the actor to Carter as the audience cheered, “you have my number.”