It’s been 14 years since David Duchovny‘s truth-seeking, pencil-tossing, Scully-crushing FBI Special Agent Fox William “Spooky” Mulder last appeared on the small screen, a drought that will end on Sunday, Jan. 24 with the premiere of Fox’s six-episode revival of The X-Files.
In the following Q&A with TVLine, the 55-year-old actor — and current star of NBC’s Aquarius — reflects on his X-Files past “difficulties” with leading lady Gillian Anderson (yes, we said past), present affection for playing Mulder and the future of the franchise that made him a household name.
TVLINE | How has your perspective on the X-Files franchise changed from when you were first doing the show?
The first time around it was one of my first jobs. I was really just trying to keep my head above water artistically. I think me and Gillian coming back at this point in our lives and in our careers… we’re much better at what we do now. It was really wonderful, for both of us, to recreate these characters with better skills. We probably don’t have as much energy as we use to though. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Do you have a better appreciation for what a gift The X-Files has been to you than maybe you did during the initial run of the show?
I always had an appreciation for it. It was a career-making show. Aside from my gratitude for whatever business it brought my way, it also afforded me a chance to go to work every day. If I ever did not have an appreciation for the show it was probably [during the final seasons] when I think we were just tired, and antsy to go out and do other things. I’m sure there were times when I was dying to get off the show, but it wasn’t because of the show. It was because it was a grind.
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TVLINE | And how has your relationship with Gillian changed?
We’ve been good for quite a while work-wise. Whatever difficulties we may have had over the years [stemmed from] what I said earlier about wanting to get off the show… the fatigue and a hot-house feeling of being in the same room with the same people for nine years. We’re good now. We have a shorthand and I really enjoy working with her a lot. That was probably the easiest part of transitioning back into the show was our work together.
TVLINE | You wrote and directed a fair number of X-Files episodes back in the day. Did you have any creative input this time around?
No. When we were originally talking about [a possible revival] we were conceiving of it as 12 or 13 episodes, because that was the [traditional] model. And in that [scenario] I thought I would write one or direct one. But the way it worked out with six episodes, there just wasn’t any room.
TVLINE | Of the six new episodes, do you have a personal favorite?
For me in terms of being an actor, Darin [Morgan]’s scripts — which were funny and whimsical yet very smart and rigorous — were always challenging and fun. And it’s the same this time with [the Morgan written/directed “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” airing Feb. 1]. Chris [Carter] really took care of the scope and the action, [but] action’s less interesting for me to play as an actor. You’ve got to be there at night, basically. And you’ve got to run to something or from something. [Laughs] That’s not a knock on Chris’ writing. But Darin’s episodes were always very verbally, often comically driven and thematically twisted. And it’s the same this time.
TVLINE | Could an X-Files miniseries like this become an annual thing?
I don’t see why not. But we don’t want to just make more episodes because we can. I’m not interested in that. And I don’t think Chris is interested in that. If Chris is re-inspired to start thinking about where to take the show and the characters next I’m sure we’d all listen.