Trivia / The X-Files

  • Accidentally Correct Writing: In the mid-90s, the show did a Story Arc where it's revealed the government is secretly encouraging UFO conspiracy theorism as a way to distract people from the military-industrial complex. And then, lo and behold, in the documentary film Mirage Men, a former government official reveals that's exactly what happened.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Bruce Campbell makes an appearance as a demon that actually swallows someone's soul.
    • "Salvage" has Robert Patrick referencing his breakthrough role: "What’re you saying? Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? 'Cause that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully."
    • The T-1000, Miles Dyson and time travel all in the same episode? You must be watching the season 8 episode "Redrum".
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Like his character, the Cigarette-Smoking Man, William B. Davis is a former champion water-skier. Go figure.
    • In "Paper Hearts", Mulder and Scully meet a serial killer on the basketball court of the prison where he is incarcerated. The killer promises to give Mulder the information he wants if he sinks a shot from the three-point line. Mulder does it without so much as blinking. David Duchovny probably didn't need a double for that: he played JV basketball at Princeton.
  • Banned in China: The episode "Home" is outright banned by BBC Two, as it has too much graphic nature.
  • California Doubling:
    • First the Vancouver version, then the show moved to California.
    • Season 10 returned to Vancouver, and during the season doubles for both Washington, DC and Philadelphia.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • "Humbug" features real life sideshow performers Jim Rose and The Enigma as Dr. Blockhead and The Conundrum.
    • The episode "The Amazing Maleeni" features two stage magicians, both played by actual stage magicians.
  • Casting Gag: Chris Owens played the young Cigarette-Smoking Man twice before being cast as his son, Jeffrey Spender.
  • Dawson Casting: Inverted with Agent Scully; she was born in 1964 while Gillian Anderson was born in 1968.
  • Enforced Method Acting: For the episode "X-Cops", the cameramen (including some from C.O.P.S.) were not present during rehearsals so their camera work would look more spontaneous.
  • Executive Meddling: For reasons never made clear, Carter ordered a slate of comedy episodes to open the first half of the sixth season, in contradiction to his original intent to pick up from Fight the Future. That his new boss came to Fox from Comedy Central (and made no secret of his dislike of Carter) probably had something to do with it.
  • Fake American:
    • The Cigarette-Smoking Man is a native of Ontario, eh.
    • Gillian Anderson was born in America to American citizens, but she moved to England when she was two and didn't move back until she was eleven, and by then her speech patterns had been set. She had to work to lose it when she went into acting, and if you pay attention to the early episodes of The X-Files it slips through at times. Now that she's moved back to England, she's got the accent back in full-force. Her American accent she acquired in her teenage years comes back whenever she's interviewed by an American reporter. This is justified as Anderson has English, German and Irish ancestry.
    • The Lone Gunmen - three activists for Truth, Justice, and the American Way...played by three Canadians who don't even bother masking their north of the border accents.
  • Fan Community Nickname: X-Philes.
  • Fandom Life Cycle: Definitely one of the very few that went through the whole cycle and reached the mainstream recognition. Even people who never watched a single episode are likely to know who Mulder and Scully are.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Moose and Squirrel: Mulder and Scully (after Bullwinkle Moose and Rocky Squirrel). As a team, they are known as the Dynamic Duo.
    • The Organization: The sinister group that consists of many adjectival men and who the Smoking Man works for.
    • Cigarette Smoking Man, a.k.a. Morley Man (after his preferred brand), a.k.a. Cancer Man. "Cancer Man" eventually started being used in the show itself. "Marlborough Man" has also been used, after the source of the expied brand used in the show and the spokes-character introduced to sell it after it was switched from being a woman's brand.
    • Ratboy: Krycek. Also known as Skippy.
    • The Schwarzenalien, the Mighty Morphin Bounty Hunter. Shapeshifting alien played by Brian Thompson.
    • The Fowl One: Diana Fowley (also referred to by more colorful names).
    • Plam: The knife with the retractable blade that the show implied was THE ONLY weapon that could kill the aliens. Named from a moment when Mulder's mother was trying to tell him she'd hidden one in her lamp - but she'd had a stroke, so "lamp" came out "plam".
  • Franchise Killer: The second movie was suspected of being one, before the 2016 miniseries revival was announced.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Season 2 started to shoot as Anderson was pregnant. First was this (Scully is shot mostly seated, wearing jumpsuits, or in "unflattering angles"), then Scully got abducted just to avoid it. (Partly done because the character officially couldn't get pregnant.) (see Written-In Absence.)
  • Hostility on the Set: According to Bill Davis, things were never happy around the lot due to David and Gillian's open warfare. (Duchovny took to the press to make fun of his hotheaded co-star, going so far to "protest" that her character won more fights than he did!). Money was an issue here as well; Gillian complained that the disparity between her and Duchovny's incomes was sexist and unfair, especially given the fact that she'd become such a major draw for the series.
  • Irony as She Is Cast:
    • Retroactively, that is. William B. Davis spent years fending off true believers who loved his character and couldn't believe that he is a real-life apostate. Davis eventually got in touch with the skeptic community to develop better argument strategies, and is now a lecturer on the skeptic circuit.
    • Davis had also stopped smoking before being cast in a role defined by cigarettes! The Smoking Man at first used the real deal, but once Davis realized he was probably going back to enjoying tobacco, herbal ones took over.
  • Lying Creator: Word of God said Mulder and Scully wouldn't ever kiss. In thou foul heart, thy liest!
    • Word of God also said that there would never be any romantic relationship going on between Mulder and Scully, before admitting after the show's run that having them together in the end was the original intention. Word of God is a big liar, basically.
  • Old Shame:
    • Chris Carter, the episode's writer, hates "Space" just as much as anybody who's ever had to sit through it. It's routinely ranked as one of the worst episodes of the series, even when taking the last few seasons into account.
    • Pretty much everybody involved with "Teso Dos Bichos" would love to forget it ever happened. Kim Manners himself despised it, even going so far as to make T-shirts for everyone involved reading "I survived 'Teso Dos Bichos'" and even would always refer to it as "Teso Dos Bitches" in interviews and around fans.
  • The Pete Best: Not the same character exactly, but the principle applies: Charles Cioffi as SCI Blevins, Mulder and Scully's boss in the Pilot and Conduit, was intended as a regular character but Cioffi proved unable to continue in the role (though he did reappear in the Gethsemane/Redux arc in Seasons 4-5). He was replaced in Fallen Angel by the one-off character Section Chief McGrath, played by Frederick Coffin. Finally, Mitch Pileggi played Skinner in Tooms and the rest is history.
  • Post Scipt Season: The show faced retool after retool as they tried to wring a few more seasons out after the feature film. The seventh season is particularly guilty of premature closure. It "explained" the conspiracy arc, killed off nearly all the Syndicate antagonists, and perhaps most significantly, resolved the long-running mystery of Mulder's missing sister.
  • Production Nickname: The Scully Box was referred to as the "Gilly-Board" on set.
  • Promoted Fanboy
    • Vince Gilligan was a fan of the show before joining the writers. He even followed the filming of his first episode, "Soft Light", with his personal camera.
    • The character Leyla Harrison was introduced as a posthumous tribute to a well-known Fan Fiction writer of the same name; the character is also an In-Universe fan of Mulder and Scully.
    • A smaller example: fans on the official messageboard were listed on the manifest of a crashed aircraft in a later season.
    • In the season 5 finale "The End", the extras who filled the stadium in the teaser are all recruited from the X-Philes. That's right, X Files fans were filling up stadiums.
    • Comedian Kumail Nanjiani, host of the popular X-Files Files podcast, has been cast in a guest role in the revival.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • In "Hollywood A.D." a film producer decides to make a movie based on Mulder and Scully's adventures, casting Garry Shandling and Téa Leoni (as themselves) for the roles, respectively. Scully mentions to Mulder that Leoni may have a crush on him, which he considers ridiculous. Any guesses to whom David Duchovny was married to at the time in real life?
    • Scully similarly mentions that Shandling seemed interesting, as well, which is amusing considering how Duchovny played a version of himself on The Larry Sanders Show that had a crush on Garry Shandling's character.
    • Mulder lingering on the fact that he and Scully have moved on since the dissolution of the X-Files "for better, for worse" could be interpreted as a reference to the fact Gillian Anderson's had a stronger post-Files career than David Duchovny.
  • Recycled Script
    • They reworked season one episode "Ice" (about a parasitic alien that caused its victims to turn psychopathic and eventually die) into the season two episode "Firewalker" (you can probably guess the main difference). Both were based, in turn, on the classic John W. Campbell short story "Who Goes There".
    • "Squeeze" and "Tooms" featured a liver-eating mutant. "2Shy" featured a fat-eating mutant. "Leonard Betts" gave us the cancer eating mutant. "Teliko" featured a melanin-eating mutant. (The latter's villain could even replicate Eugene Tooms' tricking of squeezing into tiny places.) At least "Hungry", featuring a brain-eating mutant, presented the story from the monster's point-of-view.
    • "One Breath" and "Audrey Pauley," aired seven seasons apart, are almost exactly the same episode, just with a different partnership in the spotlight. Both involve the female half of the team (Scully and Reyes, respectively) falling into a coma after a traumatic event, and eventually being declared braindead. While in a coma, they have their own sub-plot on a different plane of existence. Meanwhile, the male half of the team (Mulder and Dogget, respectively), run around trying to figure out the paranormal aspect of the episode, as well as try to find a way to bring the female half of the team out of the coma and threatening bodily harm to those who attempt to shut off life support. There are a few minor differences: "One Breath" was part of the show's Myth Arc while "Audrey Pauley" was season 9 filler, "Audrey Pauley" had a more clear-cut paranormal aspect to it, and the causes of the coma are quite different. However, the scripts are so similar that in some scenes, Doggett repeats Mulder word-for-word.
      • Of course, this also brings about a few Funny Aneurysm Moments. While "One Breath" was meant to show the deepening bond of Mulder and Scully's friendship, "Audrey Pauley" was used explicitly to showcase Doggett and Reye's romantic relationship. Using almost the exact same script. It also make's Scully's unsympathetic nature towards Doggett rather ironic — she is the one making the arrangements to take Reyes off life support and donate her organs, and thinks Doggett is crazy for trying to save her. It's Justified in that she was in a coma for almost all of "One Breath" and didn't see Mulder do the exact same thing, but it's still makes her seem like that much more callous.
  • Referenced by...: See the sub-page ReferencedBy.The X Files.
  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Season Seven. Ship taking on water. The long, difficult hours were taking their toll and David Duchovny was suing Fox for residuals from X-Files reruns. His lawyer included Chris Carter in the suit, claiming the producer skimmed millions; This turned out to be a typical scumbag lawyer move (Duchovny and Carter patched things up and remain good friends—neighbors, even!—and Carter even hired Duchovny's lawyers in his own protracted war with Fox), but didn't make for a pleasant atmosphere on-set or, God help us, online.
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: Darin Morgan only wrote four episodes for the show's original runnote . However, he impressed many viewers with his quirky style, and all his episodes are considered classics, with "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" being seen by many as the best episode of the series.
  • Star-Making Role: For both leads in the original English version.
    • In the Mexican dub it was this for Scully's voice actress (Gisela Casillas) and also in less degree for Mulder's one (Alfonso Obregon) along with Kakashi Hatake, Shrek and Brainy Smurf.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • Most of the computer-y episodes, but the trope is most prevalent in "2Shy", which features floppies, chatrooms and proper online grammar.
    • As of Season 10 Mulder's got a smartphone with a camera and doesn't hesitate to use it.
  • Trope Namer for:
  • Troubled Production: * A few particular episodes of The X-Files became associated with production problems, leading to mixed results:
    • Several of the show's first season episodes succumbed to cost overruns, despite being conceived as Bottle Episodes. "Space" became the most expensive episode of the season thanks to the construction of a NASA Mission Control set. Production was also delayed so that the crew could take turns with a flight simulator. "Space" is reportedly Chris Carter's least favorite episode.
    • "Gender Bender" went through several rewrites over the sexual content of the script; this resulted in an abrupt and much-criticized Twist Ending. Other issues involved a failed attempt to illuminate scenes with lantern light, and a physically encumbering catacomb set which necessitated an extra day of filming.
    • "Darkness Falls" was plagued by poor weather and explosive Cabin Fever between director Joe Napolitano and first assistant director Vladimir Stefoff, resulting in Napolitano's departure from the series. The weather problems meant that pick-up shots and inserts had to be filmed at a later date, which meant more time-wasting commutes to the inaccessible shooting locations in Lynn Valley, British Columbia.
    • The third season episode "Teso Dos Bichos" called for Mulder and Scully to be attacked by a horde of feral house cats in the climax, but that was nixed because Gillian Anderson was allergic to cats. The cats were also lazy, leading the crew to improvise with unconvincing shots of a single, fake-looking monster cat. Director Kim Manners took issue with the fact that the cats became the culprits of the episode when the teaser segment alluded to a leopard spirit, and begged Chris Carter to shift the focus back to that plot point. Add in the constant re-writes and it's no wonder Manners nicknamed the episode "Teso Dos Bitches".
  • Underage Casting: Gillian Anderson was cast as Dana Scully at twenty-four. The character had not only graduated from medical school, but worked for the FBI for a year afterwards. She would have to have been at least twenty-seven. When you realize how long it takes to specialize in autopsies, Scully being 28 in the Pilot episode is quite an Improbable Age. Not to mention that she had to train to become an FBI agent and is said to have been a teacher at the FBI academy. She must have been a teen genius or something. note 
  • Unfinished Episode: On The Other Wiki is an extensive list of unmade Episodes:[1]
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Especially in the early seasons, mostly due to a bad case of Technology Marches On. The series frequently showcased new technology; cell phones, computers, e-mail, the internet, and various other items are seen in every episode of the original nine-season run. Unfortunately, season 1 was in 1993. They were very good about updating their technology — season 8 episodes (2001) see flat-screen Apple computers — but just the sheer size and appearance of the technology in the early and mid seasons is enough to date it horribly. The AV Club's review of the season 1 episode "Ghost in the Machine" notes how the show often portrayed new technologies as a source of mystery, awe, and potential horror, which can cause unintentional laughter in people who've grown up with those technologies and are all too aware of their limitations.

    On top of that, there's also the values of the show. It was made in a post-Cold War environment where the big buzzword was the "new world order", Bush Senior's term to describe the new, American-dominated state of global affairs where market capitalism and liberal internationalism reigned supreme — and coincidentally, also a term used by conspiracy theorists to describe the Evil Plan of the conspiracy. The militia movement and their pet conspiracy theories were at their peak during this era, especially after President Bill Clinton was caught with his pants down. It's been argued that the real death blows for the show (beyond Seasonal Rot) were the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, New York and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia in 2001 and The War on Terror removing that environment from the mainstream, consigning it to the radical fringes of society and making it somewhat disrespectful to openly support for the next decade or so — and it's not a coincidence that the show's 2016 revival came just as conspiracy culture has returned to prominence.
  • Wag the Director: There's no question who forced the move to Los Angeles. Duchovny's contract called for five seasons with a renegotiation at the end of the fifth. And his agent cited a clause stating he'd be obligated to appear in only a limited amount of episodes (similar to his arrangement in the Season 8) if the show didn't leave Vancouver. That hundreds of people would lose their jobs didn't seem to factor in.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Lou Diamond Phillips, Hart Bochner and Bruce Campbell were each finalists for the role of John Doggett.
    • Johnny Cash was almost a Man In Black in "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'"! His role ended up going to Alex Trebek. They originally wanted Rip Taylor to play Chung himself, but he was unavailable, so Charles Nelson Reilly took the part.
    • Chris Carter lobbied Darren McGavin to guest star as Carl Kolchak himself. He declined to do so and appeared as an original character instead.
    • Cher agreed to play herself in "The Post-Modern Prometheus" but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts.
    • Network executives originally wanted someone "taller, leggier, blonder and breastier" to play Scully. They also wanted the role re-cast when Gillian Anderson became pregnant in season two. In both cases, Chris Carter fought against it.
    • Mitch Pileggi auditioned for some minor roles in season 1, but was not cast. Had he been cast in those, we wouldn't have had him as the awesome AD Skinner.
  • In "The Pine Bluff Variant", Pennsylvania is misspelled Pennslyvania. Twice.

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