X-Files

X-Files Creator Chris Carter: Why I Broke Up Mulder and Scully

When The X-Files makes its much-ballyhooed return to Fox on Jan. 24, any and all signs of a Mulder-Scully romantic entanglement will be outta there. But… why?

Series creator Chris Carter tells TVLine that the decision to keep the iconic pair’s relationship — which resulted in a son, William, let us not forget — all business and no pleasure was creatively driven.

“I thought it was honest,” he explains. “And I thought it was an interesting thing to explore, as well as a way to put tension into the idea that the X-Files would be more difficult to reopen if they were split up versus together.”

And X-Philes shouldn’t hold out hope for a reunion. Although Carter teases that the ex-couple will “become closer” over the course of the six-episode revival, it’s as a result of their renewed professional partnership not their “romantic” history.

What do you think — good call on Carter’s part? Vote in the poll below and then elaborate in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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53 Comments
  1. Sam says:

    We explored Scully and Mulder not-together for most of the nine seasons the show was originally on the air for. The truly creative thing would be to show how reopening the cases effected their romantic relationship. This just seems like they’re hitting the reset button.

  2. Mr Nobody says:

    52% are shippers. damn you shippers. You want BONES and CASTLE, you dont want xfiles way

    • BM says:

      One could argue that with the split we are getting Castle…

    • Leah says:

      Try again. Bones and Castle bore the crap out of me. Mulder and Scully always had a one in a billion relationship. Neither one would ever give up on the other. Splitting them up is pedestrian and childish. Carter is an idiot.

      • Blackwood says:

        Breaking News: you can love someone and remain important to them after realising being a domestic couple doesn’t work for your relationship. This is a real, mature, nuanced development with more emotional intelligence than pretending Mulder and Scully have been frozen in amber since we last saw them as some kind of fairytale ending. The show is about so much more than wish-fulfilment romance. So much more.

      • Yes, Carter is an idiot!!

  3. CaptMediocre says:

    I was excited for this reboot until I heard about the split. Now, not so much.

  4. kmw says:

    To me this just proves he was forced to put them together and resented it and now is starting all over. That’s fine if he really believes that but this is just a lame plot device. If Carter truly believes in his actors Mulder and Scully being together wouldn’t matter, he would trust they could have same chemistry and energy. They can fight argue and have problems as a couple as well and not just this nonsense that the only way you can root for anyone is if they are apart. And yes I know The X-Files is NOT about romance. I don’t expect it to be but splitting them up is just lame quite frankly I don’t believe any shipper of them would expect them to be lovey dovey all the time. I am sure this re boot will satisfy most fans of the show( I know from what the critics are saying it is good) but this is a totally unnecessary development that is a insult to a portion of their fans who believe in ALL aspects of their relationship not just their working one. Good luck to FOX and I hope this turns out well for fans sake but everything coming out of Carter’s mouth and FOX’S programming decisions are making me walk away from watching it.

    • Mel says:

      Exactly. I don’t consider myself a shipper, but I always loved the Mulder/Scully dynamic. I certainly don’t need or even want some lame romance or traditional “couple”. Just give us the dynamic they had on the original series, and tweak it in a “realistic” way to show some change and growth.

      • “Just give us the dynamic they had on the original series, and tweak it in a “realistic” way to show some change and growth.”

        Judging by the scenes in “The X-Files Re-opened” documentary, that is exactly what we’ll be getting.

  5. Mike says:

    I just don’t see the point of them breaking up. I would have of preferred them still being together.

  6. The axiom of showing and not telling would have been preferable, as in show them together in the first episode and then, through the course of the six adventures, show them drift apart. Show how the drama of the things they’re involved in causes a strain in their relationship that separates them for, possibly, good. It might have been more dramatic to see them start with the happy ending and then end with the tragic outcome.

  7. tree says:

    Its a mistake to go backwards now. Their relationship has always been the heart of the show. You can’t just undo everything. It’s been clear for a long time that those two characters love each other very much. Keeping them apart is cruel and disappointing to loyal fans. They didn’t even get together until the show was over. They were together off screen between the finale and IWTB. Then were together onscreen for IWTB but spent most of the movie apart. That was a big mistake. They should have just put them together fighting aliens and let them have a mature relationship in the background.

  8. Mel says:

    I don’t think Carter is being “honest” by splitting them up, he’s simply being cynical. What a shame. Mulder and Scully are what held the show together, they were it’s biggest strength. They were one of the very rare ships that were completely equal and added to a show, instead of ruining it as so many ships do. His reasoning makes no sense to me, sorry. I’ll still be watching, but my level of excitement just took a big nosedive,

    • shalini says:

      Well said.
      I am not sure why showrunners think the show won’t work when the couple are together. I mean, they can still have issues and work through them. To me, this is like going back to season 1. Pity. Even I’ll watch but not with as much excitement.

  9. johnhelvete says:

    I am more worried about the episodes being good than Mulder/Scully being together, the previous series Carter did was The After which is a cause for concern.

  10. Stupid. Ridiculous. Idiotic. We waited all these for Mulder & Scully to finally be in an on air (not behind the scenes, left to our imaginations) mature romantic relationship. I’ll watch but not with the same enthusiasm as I had before.

    • Emmphx says:

      I’ll watch but I won’t buy the DVDs etc. Carter has always been a FAILURE in portraying professional women. CC, we can have babies and husbands and careers. All he had to do was ship William off to the elusive brother Charles who we never saw.

  11. Donna says:

    I think it’s really sad that writers don’t know how to write a show that has a strong couple, who is still romantic and sexy, but shows they can be serious and work well together without awkwardness or tension.

  12. CM says:

    What splitting them up does is render the previous struggle for them to finally get together pointless. Is SO hard to write a couple pulling together in the same direction to achieve a common goal and working through their issues.

    This split is only organic in Hollywood. Nowhere else. Once showrunners start using terms like “organic”, they’re already started to realize the uphill battle they have to sell their storyline. Most times they’re mostly trying to convince themselves.

    Ask the Castle showrunners how their “organic” split of Caskett worked out for them.

    This was to be a no brainer appointment show to watch until I heard about the split earlier this year. Since then it’s fallen off my radar into the “might DVR” pile.

    • Stark says:

      What is does is totally change their relationship. Even if they had a very close relationship, how would any of you like to work closely with your ex? Yeah , I thought so. Even if they were willing, it will NOT be the same .Anyone that has had a relationship will tell you that. It will be awkward…

  13. Andrew says:

    So, what I’m wondering now is: Do they even acknowledge the past relationship? I can handle them not being together, but to not even mention it, in some way, seems really disingenuous to me.

  14. Ninamags says:

    The X-Files was NEVER a show about a romantic couple. I think one of the reasons the show lasted so long was because the leads never went “there”.

    The show existed in a time when the internet and other social media was not as prevalent as it is now. And thank the maker. The show writers did not have to pander to annoying fans wanting to see specific things on the show.

    I for one do not care all that much if Mulder and Scully are not all lovey-dovey, or even together, for that matter. That’s not the show I fell in love with.

    Can’t wait for the show to return.

    • kmw says:

      Of course Carter never pandered to Mulder and Scully’s ” shippers”. They barely kissed let alone went ” there”. The point is why do they have to be broken up? Why is this an important aspect of the new series? Oh I know why, to put tension between them. Mulder and Scully, long before they were a couple, ALWAYS had tension even in the best of times. This is a totally unnecessary development that doesn’t need to be in there at all. Like I have said before this is Carter turning back time and trying to re do a mistake he regrets. I am sure this re boot wii satisfy most fans but to me it rings false.

  15. ndixit says:

    I think the problem with writing for couples exist more in the writers heads than in reality. I think writers get so paranoid about selling the relationship that they either oversell it or undermine it. In reality, I think most fans would be perfectly content with Mulder and Scully being in a relationship without it being lovey Dover. The occasional acknowledgement would have been perfectly satisfying. The second X-Files wasn’t great but I felt they nailed the emotional beats of what a Mulder and Scully relationship would be like.

    • ndixit says:

      In addition, I seem to remember it being Carter who said back in the day that the essential truth about their relationship was that Scully loves Mulder and Mulder loves Scully. Maybe I’m wrong but regardless, this seems like a cowardly way out of it.

  16. RedReddington says:

    Chris Carter: Master Troll level +100.
    I don’t believe for a second that they’re PERMANENTLY broken up. He’s trying to get a rise out of us shippers, and doing a good job of it. Well played, Sir.

  17. tahina says:

    Carter has always played will they/won’t they card with Mulder/Scully relationship. He knows that many(if not the majority) of the X-Philes are MS shippers. Blame it mostly to the strong chemistry between their actors. Gillian and David, and Carter knows it, and will continue with his game. Love it.

  18. Drew says:

    Mulder and Scully never should have been a romantic couple. Having explored that and now moving past that, back to the root of their partnership, sounds good to me.

  19. Ali says:

    Wow, thanks for the spoiler. At least I now know that I should DVR all six episodes and watch them only after I hear the reports and spoilers. I wish the producers would have kept their mouths shut on this. They just lost a significant percentage of viewers by blabbing.

    • ninamags says:

      Really?? Just because they aren’t going to be a “couple” you won’t watch live? What show did you watch back in the day???

      The show was popular because of the storylines and the 2 main leads. Not because they were a couple or working their way to coupledom.

      Some people need to get a grip.

      • Ali says:

        Yeah, seriously, not going to watch it live. Don’t want to invest if it sucks. I’ll wait to hear the final reports and then delve in. Go get your grip now….

      • Hanna says:

        I agree. The reason the show was popular was due to the great story lines, the fantastic casting, and the chemistry between Mulder and Scully. They don’t have to be a couple to have chemistry.

  20. Blackwood says:

    So many hysterical comments. I expect shippers are still mad at that “idiot” Shakespeare for killing off Romeo and Juliet.

    • Stark says:

      I love when people belittle the reasons some watch a show while they think they wax poetic when they list their reasons to watch…

  21. I’m incredibly pissed! I waited 9 LONG years for Mulder and Scully to be together -which to me is obvious- finally got my wish only to have them broken up again? Is Chris Carter such a bad director he can’t film a romantic Mulder and Scully? Really? I think kmw really hit it on the head. Thanks for taking away my joy at seeing the new X-Files, Chris :( !!!

  22. I’m livid! I waited 9 LONG years for Mulder and Scully to be together, finally got my wish and now they’re split up? Is Chris Carter such a bad director he can’t film a romantic Scully and Mulder? Seriously? I think kmw is right, my joy at seeing the new episodes has been greatly diminished. Thanks Chris :( !

  23. Brandi Clark says:

    100% unconcerned with whatever CC has to say. He is a master of spin; as a longtime X-Phile, I’m used to taking whatever he says about the MSR with a grain of salt. He also just said that for 9 years Mulder and Scully had a platonic relationship; anyone who’s seen the show especially in the latter seasons know that is simply not accurate. DD and GA breathe life into Mulder and Scully and I’ve never had a problem with the way they’ve done that in the past. The revival will be every bit as wonderful as the series is. Mulder and Scully will always love each other, even if that love manifests itself in different ways.

  24. Mare says:

    B.S. Bad move, Carter, really bad move. And shows how unimaginative you are. Because it’s easier to break them up then it is to have them have a solid partnership both romantically and professionally. Just lazy.

  25. Gayle says:

    It’s the same damn laziness that most of Hollywood falls prey to. Having the lead couple together is viewed as boring. They’d rather tease it for years than commit to getting them together and dealing with the ups and downs of a committed relationship. And Carter was one of the WORST for this. He’d have done better to take a lesson from Bones than Castle.

  26. Ann P says:

    I would like to see more than just 6 episodes. I was hoping for a full blown series. But will have to take what they give us.