After a rather disappointing and messy end to season 11, hopes for season 12 of The X-Files are all but dashed – here’s why…

The X-Files has been running for over 30 years. Vince Gilligan, the man that created Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, got his start writing for the show. But after a rather messy end to season 11, fans hoping for a new season of The X-Files might not want to hold their breath.

For starters, Gillian Anderson, who plays Skully, is 100% not interested in doing the character again. Anderson publicly shared fans’ dismay over how season 11 ended and has since confirmed that she has no plans to ever play the character ever again. And after her impressive performances in Sex Education and The Crown, who can blame her?

Will There Be A New Season of The X-Files?

The X-Files has been rebooted a couple of times now and there are plans for an animated series going on right now at Disney. The show is apparently called X-Files: Albuquerque and will be based on a rag-tag office of agents that investigate strange happenings in the area.

Chris Carter, the creator of The X-Files, confirmed the show is in development back in 2020 but not much has been heard about it since. Carter is listed as an executive producer but told one Danish podcast, Sammensværgelsen, that he hasn’t seen any scripts so he couldn’t possibly comment on it.

Meanwhile, Gillian Anderson hasn’t been afraid of lamenting how the series wrapped up during its current final season. I won’t go into spoiler territory here but things ended on a massive cliffhanger, there were some truly awful plot twists, and the pacing and plot of the final episodes were all over the place, lacking the quality fans have come to expect from the long-running show.

“It’s time for me to hang up Scully’s hat. It just is,” Anderson announced during a TCA press tour after season 11’s premiere in 2018. “I arrived at the decision before we did [season 10], but I was really curious. I felt that the previous six [episodes] was going to be it. It was dipping our toe back in again… and getting to play these wonderful characters again.”


As of right now, it doesn’t appear like Gillian Anderson will return to The X-Files universe but the show’s creator, Chris Carter, is keen on doing more X-Files, so a new season – meaning season 12 – or a straight-up reboot could well be on the cards inside the next couple of years. Of course, this is all predicated on Disney backing the project – and given season 11’s reception, there is no guarantee of that happening.

Could The X-Files Continue Without Skully?

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The fact that Gillian Anderson isn’t interested in doing more X-Files is a big deal, for fans and for the show in general. But X-Files creator Chris Carter is confident there is life left in the franchise. Carter has stated publicly that he believes there are “more stories to tell, with Gillian or without”, indicating that plans are indeed afoot for yet another reboot.

Expanding on the idea of doing more X-Files without Anderson, Carter said: “I’m sorry to see her go, I’ve never actually considered doing this show without her, so is this the end? It’s the end of something, I don’t know if it’s the beginning of something new. But certainly, we will have to all put our heads together and figure out where to go from here.”

Fans really didn’t like the way the final season of The X-Files ended, and I don’t think anyone could blame them – it was pretty awful. Usually, actors stand with the creatives behind the show but Anderson has categorically stated that he did not like the final arc for her character and that if she was ever to return there would have to be new writers involved. Emphasis on “ever” too.

David Duchovny, who plays Mulder, seems a little more open to doing more X-Files. Like Anderson, he wasn’t too enamored by the way the final season ended but, unlike Anderson, he said he prefers to keep his personal feelings about the show’s writing private. As of 2020, Duchovny is interested in doing more X-Files but also stated that he doesn’t really think too much about the show anymore, preferring to focus on new projects and films.

“I thought the first seven years were enough! But I’m always up for more, clearly,” Duchovny told Yahoo. “Someone sent me a clip of Joel McHale from the 2016 episodes we did, and it’s a spot-on description of where we’re at six years later. I don’t think [X-Files creator] Chris Carter gets enough credit for being [prescient].”

“If he wanted to do more, I’d certainly listen to him. I’d say, ‘What have you got?’” Duchovny said. “Because I want to know the future, too, you know what I mean? And not denigrating Gillian’s feelings about Scully being pregnant or the character. I certainly had misgivings about my character throughout the run. It’s in the nature of a long-running thing. But to take the long view, what that show is able to embrace thematically is really the key to its longevity, and if we were to do it again, it’s just a question of: ‘What have we go to say?’”


The X-Files is Now Owned By Disney

Up until 2019, The X-Files IP was owned by 20th Century Fox but following that studio’s sale to Disney, The House of Mouse is now fully in control of The X-Files. Now, Disney isn’t afraid of milking a franchise but after the events and reception to season 11 of The X-Files, you have to wonder whether the show has now run its course?

Perhaps, like Friends and other classic shows, The X-Files is best left alone, as it currently stands, relegating it to a binge-worthy series with a complete, finite plot and arc. Potentially. But it does seem like both Carter and Duchovny are open to doing more seasons of the show. And this kind of makes sense as Mulder didn’t really get much of a proper send of in Season 11.

Plus, The X-Files – as a show – has no problems completely backtracking on events in previous seasons. Remember the alien virus from season 10!? But even with the show’s well-known flaky approach to continuity, even the most talented and creative writer would struggle to find a plausible way to undo what was set in motion during season 11.

My own personal take on The X-Files, a show I grew up watching from the early 1990s up to 2020, was that it was at its best when it was episodic when each new episode was its own beast with its own story and character arc. For me, things only started to go downhill when all the focus was put on Mulder and Skully’s romantic relationship status and the overarching alien conspiracy that dominated the later seasons.

As for what Disney will do to the show, I have no idea. But based on its track record, anything’s possible which could mean spin-off shows, films, and potentially a complete reboot with new characters. And we also have the currently in development X-Files: Albuquerque, an animated show that will almost certainly be aimed at teenagers and younger people which isn’t exactly good news for old-school fans like myself.

As it stands, hopes for season 12 of The X-Files do not look good. Anderson is pretty much committed to never returning as Skully, so if the show was to continue it would be without her. Mulder could return, of course, of the show might be completely rebooted with two new agents at the forefront. Given Anderson’s comments, this latter scenario might turn out to be the most likely option for new X-Files seasons.

But for most die-hard fans, Mulder and Skully are The X-Files. Without these two characters, the show just wouldn’t be the same. And we’ve been there before, and it didn’t end well. Maybe it’s time for Carter to move on to something else. After 30+ years, multiple seasons, reboots, and films, I think The X-Files we all know and love has run its course. Even the show’s stars seem to have woken up to this fact.

But will they be immune to a massive paycheck from Disney to return? Who knows! Stranger things have definitely happened. And The X-Files is an IP with plenty of interest in it. Disney knows this and it will almost certainly have a plan in place to bring it back to HULU and Disney+ before the close of the 2020s.

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