The X-Files Australian Conne-X-ion News Stand

Keep in touch, Mulder
Friday, July 28, 2000
By Kristi Turnquist of The Oregonian staff

Green-blooded aliens couldn't do it. Chain-smoking conspirators couldn't do it. No, what finally broke up Mulder and Scully is a distressingly down-to-earth culprit -- contract negotiations.

Now that Chris Carter, creator of the otherworldly hit TV show "The X-Files," has announced that leading man David Duchovny will appear in only 11 of the upcoming season's 20 episodes, "X-Files" watchers are speculating that the end is near.

Though still a key show for Fox, "The X-Files" saw its ratings erode last season, overshadowed in the buzz department by HBO's "The Sopranos" and prompting even die-hard fans to grouse that the show had lost its spark.

The added news that Carter is bringing in a new actor -- Robert Patrick, best known as Arnold Schwarzenegger's shape-shifting nemesis in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day"-- for the eighth "X-Files" season is also sending X-philes into orbit. Among the responses found on the Internet fan sites and news groups:

"Carter has murdered his own show."
"Say it ain't so!!! That guy (Patrick) is so . . .creepy!!"
"There is no 'X-Files' without Mulder! 'The X-Files' is the story of Mulder's quest for truth. Therefore without Mulder there is NO SHOW. It would be like 'The Odyssey' without Odysseus."

Patrick, who reportedly beat out fellow candidates Lou Diamond Phillips ("La Bamba"), Chris Noth ("Sex and the City"), Hart Bochner ("Die Hard") and Bruce Campbell ("The Evil Dead"), will play by-the-book FBI agent John Doggett. Doggett will help Mulder's partner and soulmate, agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), search for Mulder, who was taken by aliens -- a vexingly frequent problem in "The X-Files" universe -- in the 1999-2000 season finale.

As if that isn't challenge enough, Scully also will be dealing with her pregnancy, another jawdropper from the season-ender. Who's the father? Carter has hinted in interviews that it's Mulder, but fans will have to wait for the Nov. 5 season premiere for more info.

Mulder's part-time "X-Files" duty is the latest example of how offscreen conflicts affect viewers' favorite shows. Duchovny, who became a star playing obsessed FBI agent Fox Mulder, completed his seven-year contract at the end of last season. Suspense about whether he would return for an eighth season swirled all year long. Complicating matters was Duchovny's messy lawsuit against 20th Century Fox, alleging the company cheated him of profits associated with the show's syndication, among other things.

When Carter and crew filmed the season finale, nobody knew if the show would return for another season. Finally, in mid-May, Fox negotiated a deal to bring "The X-Files" back, albeit with a part-time Mulder.

Lee Petrik, director of programming and broadcast operations for KPDX-49, the Portland-area Fox affiliate, isn't worried. "Obviously, David Duchovny is a big star and is the lead character," Petrik says, "but I know the person they're replacing him with has done some good stuff and he kind of has that 'X-Files' look to him. I'm totally confident that there won't be any slippage there."

But to many fans, the core of "The X-Files" is the complex, evolving relationship between Mulder and Scully. As one Internet poster put it: "Every show reaches a point where it's time to hang it up. I don't care if they resurrect young Laurence Olivier and cast him as Mulder, the show is ABOUT Scully and Mulder, and if one of them goes, the story is over. Doing it with another 'Mulder' would change the central story, and therefore the show. Let it go quietly into that good night."

You can reach Kristi Turnquist at 503-221-8227 or by e-mail at

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