The X-Files' Gillian Anderson says it's time 'to hang up Scully’s hat'

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Jan 11, 2018, 5:46 PM EST (Updated)

The X-Files has had its ups and downs in quality over the years, from season to season, and even within the seasons, depending on the individual episode’s focus. That applies especially potently to its wildly mixed revival in 2016. With this section of the monster-of-the-week FBI show in its second season (11th overall), one of its stars is done for good -- and has opened up as to why.

During The X-Files panel at TCA 2018, when questioned about her decision to depart, star Gillian Anderson (who plays Dana Scully to David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder) was quite candid about her relationship with her character, and the show itself. Anderson said that the six-episode 10th season “would be it. Making the most of it and playing the wonderful characters again.”

But then, after the episodes were in the can, she realized that she “wouldn’t be happy if those six were the way to say goodbye.” Her continued involvement with the show was simply to get her ending to her satisfaction. “When I was asked to do another season, I did. It never occurred to me that it was now a new series,” Anderson said. “I said, 'Yes, I will do this,' but in my mind it was always to end it.”

While Anderson professed love for Scully as a character, she also expressed a desire to avoid being tied to her forever. “I like to be challenged as an actor and like to do many characters. It’s time for me to hang up Scully’s hat.” Freeing up Anderson’s schedule will allow her to do more roles, but it will also breathe life into her public perception, which has, since 1993, involved Dana Scully.

“The next couple years are quite full, and I want to explore them without being tied to a series,” Anderson said. “This is it for me. I am really serious. I have so much respect, but I’m finished and that’s the end of that.”

This means, if creator Chris Carter is to be believed, than the end of Scully is the end of The X-Files. But nothing could seem more fitting than ending the show on Anderson’s terms. Reporting by Tara Bennett

Gillian Anderson returns to Dana Scully.