Poll: 4 ways 'The X-Files' could continue without Gillian Anderson

Ethan Alter
Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Gillian Anderson in what may be her last-ever episode of The X-Files. (Photo: Shane Harvey/Fox)

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season finale, “My Struggle IV,” of The X-Files.

Even though it wasn’t advertised as such, last night’s Season 11 finale of The X-Files was effectively the show’s (second) series finale. That’s because Gillian Anderson publicly resigned from the sci-fi series before the season started, and has so far declined to walk that announcement back. With her departure in mind, Chris Carter made sure to write an ending for Anderson’s beloved alter ego, Dana Scully, into the 10th and final episode, “My Struggle IV.” For much of the hour, Scully and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) pursued their fugitive son, William (Miles Robbins), hoping to reach the psychically powered, shape-shifting teenager before either faction of the show’s larger conspiracy got to him first.

In the closing moments, Scully caught up to William — who had assumed Mulder’s form — and bid him a quick goodbye before he was murdered by his actual dad, Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) aka Carl Gerhard Busch. The real Mulder then turned up and shot his longtime nemesis (who also happens to be his father too), and mourned the loss of William with Scully. “I carried him, I bore him, but I was never a mother to him,” the always-logical scientist explained, informing Mulder that, for the record, he was never William’s father either. (Fortunately for Mulder, she didn’t explicitly identify CSM as the other parent, saving Mulder from realizing that he’s in a committed relationship with his half-brother’s mom.)

Miles Robbins as William in The X-Files. (Photo: Shane Harvey/Fox)

But parenthood hasn’t completely passed the couple by: Despite their advanced age and exposure to numerous alien experiments, Mulder and Scully are expecting — no doubt a result of their motel room nooky back in the third episode. As evidenced by post-finale Twitter reactions, X-Files fandom has mixed feelings about this revelation, especially if this does prove to be Anderson’s last-ever episode.

For his part, X-Files mastermind Chris Carter has refused to say that the show is over and done with, even if he’s lost one-half of his dynamic duo. “There are a lot more X-Files stories to tell,” he told TV Guide last year. “Whether we get to tell them is a question mark.” Based on how “My Struggle IV” wraps up, we see four possible post-Scully futures for The X-Files. Choose which version (or none of the above) you’d be most willing to watch in our poll below.

1. The X-Files: Party of One

Flash-forward nine months, and Scully takes her last breath as her miracle baby takes its first, leaving Mulder alone to raise the child and carry on their joint mission for the truth. Since pairing either X-Files agent off with a fresh recruit has proved unpopular in the past (the Scully/Doggett years, for example, remain controversial), Mulder largely works solo — at least initially, affording the writers time to gracefully integrate someone he can talk to — and tries to come home without too much blood or alien goo on him. 

Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) seemed to die — but probably didn’t — in The X-Files season finale. (Photo: Shane Harvey/Fox)

2. The Skinner Files

The sixth episode of Season 11 was a showcase for Walter Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) that could also be treated as a kind of backdoor pilot for a Skinner-centric spinoff that explores his colorful past, present, and future. Of course, the finale did heavily imply that Mulder and Scully’s biggest champion at the FBI is dead, flattened beneath Cigarette Smoking Man’s car. Remember, though, we didn’t see a body, allowing us to downgrade that from a definite fatality to a serious injury. And since Skinner is apparently persona non grata with the FBI, he wouldn’t have to necessarily inform his superiors that he’s still alive, allowing him to be an off-the-books investigator like a certain night stalker named Kolchak — one of Carter’s original inspirations for The X-Files.

3. The X-Files: On the Road

Also surviving his apparent demise was William, who surfaced from his watery grave well out of sight of Mulder and Scully. Having relinquished them of any parental responsibility, but still very much a target due to his extraterrestrial powers and visions of a looming apocalypse, the teenager is the vehicle that could drive a version of The X-Files that’s closer to The Fugitive meets The Incredible Hulk. Wandering the world, a reformed William uses his abilities to help people in need, while also staying one step ahead of the various forces pursuing him.

4. The X-Files: The Next Generation

Skip over the pregnancy and child-rearing years and go directly to the inevitable point where Mulder and Scully’s child follows his or her parents into the FBI, reopening the dormant X-Files division. The kid’s first case is finding William and persuading him to join the renewed fight for the future in their mother’s name. Bonus: You could have occasional cameos from a grumpy old Mulder, explaining how things were different back in his day.

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