We got a flashlight, ducked under crime scene tape and trekked into a dark rainy forest to meet The X-Files creator Chris Carter, where he gave us a secret folder containing seven intriguing revelations about the revival of his sci-fi icon. (Okay, so we phoned the guy in Los Angeles, why ruin it?) Here’s what you can expect from the six-episode run on Fox (no real spoilers):
A split Mulder and Scully
Carter wanted to add some tension back into the 1990s-era coupling by splitting up Fox and Dana. But we’ve now learned one episode will have flashback-like scenes that explore their relationship history and ask: “What if…?”
The geeky conspiracy minded trio The Lone Gunman died during the show’s first run, but are “back in an unexpected way in episode 5 where you also see a new side of Mulder that you’ve never seen — involving a psychotropic drug.” (Fox “Stoney” Mulder?). Plus the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) is resurrected too. “He’s seemingly disfigured, and you’ll see just how evil he really is.”
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A totally different Joel McHale
No Kardashian-snarking here; the former Soup host plays Tad O’Malley, a hybrid of online doomsayers like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. “He’s one of the funniest comedians and I cast him in this dramatic part that has some crazy aspects to it,” Carter says.
An episode will seem ripped from recent headlines
While the show has returned to shooting in Vancouver (albeit in the summer instead of the fall like in the original series), the show goes to Texas for a domestic terrorism episode. “This will seem much more relevant due to the recent attacks in Paris and shooting in San Bernardino,” Carter says.
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There’s a big cliff-hanger
The six episodes are semi-serialized, and will end leaving you wanting more. “If we do well in the ratings, I can’t imagine we wouldn’t be asked to do more,” Carter said at the Television Critics Association’s press tour last week.
A conspiracy changes everything
The truth is still out there — and isn’t what you think. Expect a fresh conspiracy theory that plays a bit like Oliver Stone during his JFK fever pitch if his source was online message boards darkly linking global warming, NSA-spying, chemtrails, and police militarization. “I’ve kept my finger in the wind and there are 500 conspiracy sites in the Internet,” Carter says. Maybe Mulder and Scully can stumble onto Tinder?
The best episode won’t be the first
Okay, this last one isn’t from Carter, but it’s still good to know: The Jan. 24 premiere has issues — it’s sort of an outpouring of expository, conspiracy-laden dialogue with sleepy performances. But the second episode is better. And the third episode is terrific, says EW’s review.