X posed

The Daily Telegraph, March 11, 1999

X posed by Kate de Brito
There's no need for theories and conjecture any more. No need for clumsy loungeroom guesswork. For years we have waited patiently, knowing the truth was out there somewhere, and that one day it would be revealed.

Finally, that day has come.

After five years of creating a labyrinth of plot twists and a medley of mystery, X-Files creator Chris Carter has decided to come clean on the X-Files conspiracy.

Over two episodes he will reveal the secrets of the X-Files that have formed the arterial link between each episode, and have, at times, baffled even the most loyal and avid viewers.

What is the meaning of the bees? And what about the black oil? How is the abduction of Mulder's sister linked to the X-Files? Why was Scully abducted? And where exactly does the cigarette man fit into it all?

According to Carter, the conspiracy is "not as complicated as you think".

Carter has indicated he is not prepared to make an eighth series of the X-Files (Australia is watching series six but a seventh is in production in the US). His plan is to bow out of the weekly series and the associated strictures imposed on scriptwriting by a continuous plot, and concentrate on self-contained movies.

He is well aware of the risk. With a series still in production, revealing the secrets that have kept many fans watching may lead to a ratings blow-out.

Twin Peaks did it by revealing Laura Palmer's murders and the show, a cult sensation until then, flopped almost overnight and then crawled towards a slow and ugly ratings death.

In the case of the X-Files, after five years, ratings have been down both in the US and in Australia. In Australia in 1997, the average household rating for the X-Files on Network Ten was 22; for 1998 it was down to 20.

This year the ratings have been more promising in the first few weeks of the survey. But it is still clear Carter had little to lose by shaking up the storyline.

"I was thinking I have another 28 episodes left. We've got to prepare for a big unravel. We figured it would be better to explain the conspiracy now, and make the last more emotional and action driven, with less baggage to carry," he said in a recent US interview.

The X-Files revelations are also linked to the performance of the recent X-Files movie at the box office.

Even for fans, the maze of mysteries has been confusing at times, but for those who only tune in occasionally, it has been nearly impossible to keep up.

Carter and executive co-producer Frank Spotnitz, had hoped that the X-Files movie would attract new fans. But because it was necessary to link the two series, it only served to convolute the picture more, although it performed well at the box office, making $187 million.

And then of course, Carter and Spotnitz have never wanted to do what was expected in a series that created a whole new genre of "spooky shows".

"We didn't know until shortly before [Chris and I wrote the two-parter] that we were going to do it," said Spotnitz in a recent Entertainment Weekly story.

"But, after the movie when we sat down to do the next Mythology show, it felt like the right time. We realised we had reached critical mass and that to complicate it further -- to dangle another piece of the puzzle -- was just too much. And so we got excited suddenly at the idea of everything coming to a head now. It didn't seem expected to us."

Carter also says he hopes the revelations will provide the show with more momentum.

"I'm looking forward to the next movie because I anticipate the show will be over and we'll be free to reinvent ourselves," he said.

He always knew what would happen in the story line but says over the years "the story starts to tell itself. And that's been very exciting."

The episodes are due to screen over two nights on Channel Ten on April 28, but Twentieth Fox Home Entertainment has decided to scoop the network by releasing the episodes on video for hire or sale five weeks early on March 19.

"For those who can't resist the whole bizarre conspiracy theory," a Fox Home Entertainment spokeswoman said.

Only one question now remains -- with the long-running conspiracy theory neatly wrapped up, where do Mulder and Scully go from here?

The X-Files is © 20th Century Fox
The Daily Telegraph is © Nationwide News Pty Ltd

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