On Thursday afternoon, Ballroom 20 at the San Diego Convention Center was given over to the commemoration of a television milestone: the 20th anniversary of "The X-Files." The Comic-Con; panel, hosted by TV Guide, featured many of the show's writer/producers, who have since gone on to helm series of their own. Vince Gilligan ("Breaking Bad"), Howard Gordon ("Homeland") and James Wong ("American Horror Story") were among those in attendance, as well as "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, who also co-wrote its two feature films.
The loudest applause was reserved for the series' two leads, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who played the show's pair of FBI agents, E.T. believer Fox Mulder and skeptical scientist Dana Scully. Duchovny and Anderson walked onto the darkened stage holding flashlights — implements regularly used by their "X-Files" characters as they investigated paranormal phenomena.
The panelists talked about their favorite moments and characters from the show, discussed its lasting legacy and even introduced a surprise guest: Producer John Shiban brought his son Jerry, who as an infant portrayed Mulder and Scully's baby, William, out from backstage to wave a quick hello. But they got the biggest audience reaction whenever the possibility of a third "X-Files" movie was mentioned.
Both actors expressed a willingness to make one. "The show was so flexible and could encompass so many different ideas," Duchovny said. "I always thought whenever we can do it, come back together, we would. So we will."
Anderson rejected the idea of bringing back "The X-Files" as a limited series like "24" is doing. "But a film would be great," she said.
When asked what a 2013 "X-Files" would look like, Carter said it wouldn't be much different from what it was before. "The show is very dark by design," he said. "The technology has changed. I think that probably would affect some things, but I think what we did is really what we would do now."
Duchovny has so much respect for the characters of Mulder and Scully that he doesn't see how he and Anderson could reunite in other roles. "To be honest with you, I've always felt that there's something — sacred is the wrong word — but I've always felt that there was something so special about Mulder and Scully," he said. "I love Gillian and I love working with her, but it would have to be something that I can't think of in order to cross that line."
It's been five long years since the last "X-Files" movie, and the fans in Ballroom 20 were definitely ready for the next installment. It seems that Chris Carter is too. "I have to say just being here today and seeing all these people — you need a reason to get excited about going on and doing it again," Carter said as the applause grew to its highest decibel of the session.