The X-Files is the longest running sci-fi show in television history with
nine 10 seasons. Thanks to it’s popularity, the show recently got a revival, but there may still be many things even longtime fans don’t know about the show. Here are ten facts about the groundbreaking show that you probably didn’t know.
1. Scully is a skeptic and Mulder is a believer on the show, but the opposite is true in real life
Gillian thinks it’s possible that something is other out there! She told The Guardian, “due to the degree that the universe is obviously vast and the thought that we are the only planet full of living beings doesn’t make sense. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there are aliens, but there could be.” However David Duchovny isn’t so open about this theory, and is pretty worried about you if you think you have any evidence there is.
“I remember I used to try to answer my fan mail because there wasn’t much of it, and they would bring it to me. There were stories that people would tell me about being abducted,” Duchovny said on The Late Late Show with James Corden. “They would just make me sad. I thought that these people had issues that they had to deal with.”
So why didn’t they just switch the beliefs of the characters? Well creator, Chris Carter purposely made this switch to go against gender stereotypes the way he perceived them. He wanted the man to be the dreamer while the woman was skeptical.
2. The show was inspired by alien abductions
Carter came across Harvard’s John E. Mack commentary on a 1991 Roper Survey on UFO abduction. Mack suggested there could have been at least 3.7 million Americans abducted by aliens and that’s when Carter had the idea to make a show about this, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Everybody wants to hear that story. [Abduction] is tantamount to a religious experience,” Carter said. He was the one to pitch the show to FOX and the rest is history.
3. Scully was inspired by Clarice Starling
Creator and writer Chris Carter told Smithsonian Mag that inspiration for the show came from Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery, and Outer Limits, all shows he watched when he was younger. However one of his main characters came from an infamous movie. “Silence of the Lambs was an inspiration,” Carter explained. “It’s not a mistake that Dana Scully has red hair like Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. So there were a variety of inspirations.”
4. Leyla Harrison is named after a fan
The FBI agent appears in two episodes, “Scary Monsters” and “Alone.” She mostly assisted Monica Reyes and John Doggett with their cases. She also was a huge fan of Scully and Mulder and would read their expense reports. Although she seems like another minor character, her name has significant meaning. The name is the name of a fan who wrote fan fiction about the show. The real Leyla Harrison died of cancer in 2001.
5. Gillian Anderson filmed standing on a box a lot
Gillian is almost 10″ shorter than David so that could be really awkward to look at on screen. In order to correct that Gillian stood on an apple box a lot of the time in their scenes together so she would have to look up at him. According to Mental Floss, this box was referred to as the “Gilly Board.” The actress also talked about her experience with her height on set.
“Sometimes when we’re in a situation walking side by side,” Gillian told US Magazine “like up to a door to pull out our badges and say we’re from the FBI, I have to step up onto something so that we’re on the same level. I mean, I don’t walk on boxes or have boxes attached to my feet. It’s funny: Sometimes I forget I’m on the box. Like, I’ll have this very serious moment in a very serious scene and I’ll turn to the camera and fall right off the box.”
6. William B. Davis had to switch to herbal cigarettes
The actor for the character known as cigarette man was actually a former smoker when he got the part. So he almost relapsed while working. “I used to smoke so I certainly knew how to do it,” David told The Sci-Fi World. “But when I got the part I hadn’t smoked for twenty years. I smoked real cigarettes for the first two episodes but I soon realized this was dangerous for me and I switched to herbal cigarettes.”
7. They had a penis puppeteer on set
The episode “Humbug” showed the agents tracking down a killer in a town in Florida that is full of sideshow performers. In real life these performers were from a circus troupe and one apparently could do tricks with his penis. “That guy could do all of those penis tricks,” Anderson said at Paleyfest. But don’t be too quick to go back and watch this episode, “He didn’t do those in the episode!” Duchovny clarified. They had their own show on set.
8. Anderson and Duchovny didn’t understand the mythology
Many X-Philes might be really into the mythology, but the actors admitted they don’t get it and they often winged it. “The mythology stuff I never followed,” Anderson said at Paleyfest. Her costar doesn’t blame her. “Well, they were making it up as they went along,” said Duchovny. “Gillian getting pregnant and having to go away for an episode or two was really the motivator of the whole mythology thing. I don’t think Chris ever had an idea that that would be part of the show, let alone the part of the show that people liked the most.”
9. The X-Files had the first network television episode to get a TV-MA rating
The very creepy episode, “Home” shows Mulder and Scully coming across an inbred family living on a farm in Pennsylvania. The episode was so scary that it got a TV-MA rating, which made it the first network television episode in America to do so. It was only aired once by FOX then banned by the network, according to Uproxx. It wouldn’t return to the network again until 1997.
10. Duchovny and Carter sued Fox
Even in Hollywood people don’t typically sue their higher ups, but that’s not the case with The X-Files star and creator. First Duchovny sued FOX in 1999 claiming its syndication deal with FX cheated him out of potential royalties and Chris Carter took the deal to keep it quiet. It ended with a settlement and the actor went back to work on the show, according to The New York Times. In 2006 Carter then filed a lawsuit against 20th Century FOX Television for failing to honor their agreement of sharing profits from syndication. Somehow, they have all gotten past these issues for the show’s revival.
Follow Nicole on Twitter @NikkiBernice