After storming back to the screen last season with a six-episode event series that raked in the viewers and inspired fan speculation about what might come next, it turns out The X-Files is still no closer to letting us in on its secrets.
The suits at Fox are being either super-honest or super-cagey about Mulder and Scully’s long-term future, with one studio executive telling the entertainment press on Thursday there’s literally “no plan” in place to forge a direction for The X-Files beyond the current season.
Speaking at the annual Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fox Television Group CEO Gary Newman said Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, and show creator Chris Carter have always played their involvement in the show by ear, and that things now are no different than they’ve ever been.
But, Newman added, none of the major players has so much as discussed the show’s future. It’s a strange but perhaps telling acknowledgment, in light of Anderson’s insistence that this season will be her last — even as Carter admits The X-Files just wouldn’t be The X-Files without her.
“You could’ve asked Chris, David, and Gillian at various times since the show originally premiered whether they would do more," Newman said. "Some days you’d get a ‘yes’, some days you’d get a ‘no.’ I would not exclude the possibility that there would be more. But not only is there no plan, there hasn’t been a single conversation. It’s too early to even speculate.”
The evident lack of a clear path forward comes at a time when the show’s viewership numbers appear to be falling. According to The Wrap, the Jan. 3 debut of the show’s 11th season drew far fewer viewers than last year’s The X-Files event series, which also debuted in January.
Last year’s premiere landed 16.2 million viewers, compared with the 5.2 million who reportedly tuned in for this year’s season debut. It may too early to know whether that precipitous drop in viewership is cause for alarm, though. As Deadline points out, The X-Files is one of Fox’s most heavily DVR’d shows, so it may just be a matter of tardy fans playing catch-up.
The question remains, though, whether there’ll be anything more to catch up to, once the curtain falls on the current season. For now, you can catch The X-Files Wednesdays on Fox at 8 p.m. ET, or stream the first five episodes of Season 11 on Hulu.