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Arts & Culture

The X-Files Teaser

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Carter, along with writer Frank Spotnitz and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, appeared in February at a panel for WonderCon (Comic-Con's sister convention) in San Francisco where they revealed the teaser trailer for the film.

Carter told the packed house why the film would be worth the wait: "Because it will scare the pants off you, because you get to see Mulder and Scully in a whole new way. That's why."

That's exactly what fans wanted to hear. When it debutted, the show almost immediately struck a chord with audiences, creating a devoted cult fan base. Launched by Fox in 1993, the paranormal sci-fi crime series would run for nine successful seasons and collect an armload of awards including a Peabody. In the series, FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigated what were termed "X-Files:" unsolved cases involving paranormal activity and usually some kind of government cover up. The show made being paranoid cool and believing in aliens smart. "Trust No One," "The Truth Is Out There," and "I Want to Believe" became the catch phrases for a generation growing increasingly distrustful of its government, prone to conspiracy theories, and in search of something to believe in.

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David Duchovny reprises his role as Fox Mulder (20th Century Fox)

In the series and the movies, Mulder is the believer. He's game to believe in just about anything -- aliens, monsters, government conspiracies. Scully, on the other hand, is the skeptic always challenging Mulder's faith with science. Actor Duchovny said it's that dynamic that makes The X-Files superior to all the crime procedurals that followed - even though he confessed to the WonderCon crowd that he's never actually watched shows like CSI .

" The X-Files was always much more sophisticated than those shows because they rely on these crazy hunches and the science bears them out. But the struggle in The X-Files , the procedure in The X-Files , was always between Mulder's point of view and Scully's point of view, and I think that it will always have that and that's what always sets it apart. I think you go for the philosophical battle and the drama of solving a case with intellect in a way."

The X-Files , though, does pay homage to the wonderful old Darren McGavin TV show Kolchak . Like Kolchak , The X-Files often featured monsters and creatures. This so-called "monster of the week" format is what the new movie draws on.

"When we did the first movie we had an ongoing TV series," Carter said, "and we had to be true to the series and the mythology arc. So that movie served as a kind of big version of the television show. We didn't have that problem this time. So we have the chance to do what I consider a really big screen stand alone movie. While you can call it a & 'monster of the week,' I hope it stands the test of the movie going experience and just is a really good movie."

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Duchovny and Anderson both thought it would be easy to slide back into their roles as the intellectually sparring FBI agents, but the opposite proved true.

Gillian Anderson, who's familiar to PBS audiences for her work in Bleak House and as the recent host on Masterpiece Classic, said that after The X-Files was cancelled, she "tried to do things that were very different from Scully. So when I went back, it was odd."

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Chris Carter directs The X-Files sequel. (20th Century Fox)

"It's harder in all honesty to come back and do a role that you've done for a long time," said Duchovny, "because you do want to use your intuition as you do any time you are creating something, and yet you have this entire body of work behind it that is already created an entire history as well as visual images that are holding you to a certain way. It's tricky but an interesting challenge in a way. But time has passed for these two people just as it has passed for all of us. And we wanted to kind of honor the changes as well as keep them the same people. So I think we were both trying to figure out how to balance that."

Duchovny added that the most difficult scenes to do were actually the ones with Anderson, "because I put so much more weight on the Mulder-Scully scenes, emotionally, in terms of the spine of the movie, the heart of the movie, that going into them I just feel more expectations. So in that way it becomes more difficult because in my mind there's more riding on it."

For writer Frank Spotnitz, returning to Mulder and Scully was easy. And returning to them within a feature film format was liberating: "I think part of the reason this has been such a pleasure for us is that we were freed from having to do 24 hours of television every year, freed from the pressure of having to squeeze a movie between two seasons of the series, and free to tell the best story that we could think of about these two people and where they are in their lives."

But exactly what that story is has been kept under tight wraps. When a fan at WonderCon tried to pry some information from Carter about what other characters from the series might return in the film, Carter provided this fittingly cryptic remark: "Nobody is ever really dead in The X-Files. "

The filmmakers have revealed that the story will take place six years after the events of the series. It's also known that unlike the first film, the new movie will not tap into the TV series' ongoing "mythology." Instead, it's being touted as a stand alone thriller that will allow people who are unfamiliar with the series to come in cold and still be able to enjoy the film.

If The X-Files: I Want to Believe does well, then Carter and company suggest they are game for some more movie sequels - and that's just enough information to keep the faith among fans.