David Duchovny says he doesn't count days or months much, but this truth is out there: He's entering his 25th year of playing FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder.
After nine seasons of the original show, two feature-film spinoffs and a limited-series continuation, "The X-Files" returns to Fox again starting Wednesday, Jan. 3. The 10 new episodes pick up threads left by the stories that aired in 2016, including the sighting of an alien spacecraft by Mulder's long-skeptical partner Dana Scully (still played by fellow series staple Gillian Anderson) and the search for Mulder and Scully's son.
"I think that somebody's experience of time is so subjective, it just seems like this has been a part of my life," Duchovny reasons of having played Mulder for so long, "and 25 years sounds heavier than it feels to me."
While making what effectively was Season 10 of "The X-Files," Duchovny felt reasonably confident there would be the imminent Season 11, since he maintains it would take certain things for him to accept the show had ended definitively. And creator and executive producer Chris Carter likely would be the source of those.
"Unless Chris came to Gillian and me with an idea for an actual end to the show -- which would preclude doing any more movies or any more television (versions) -- and the three of us decided, 'That's fantastic, that's really the way to end it,' everything we do (with the franchise) naturally is going to be somewhat open-ended," Duchovny reflects. "I had hoped for the last six episodes to be successful, and whether that meant we were going to do more, I didn't know. I don't know how truthfully we could ever end this without 'killing' me or Gillian."
Since that hasn't happened, the "X-Files" faithful also can expect to see other familiar faces in the latest revival. Among them: Mitch Pileggi (alias FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner), William B. Davis (the Cigarette Smoking Man), Annabeth Gish (former agent Monica Reyes) and the previous round's Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell. Additionally, Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan and James Wong are back on the writing team along with Carter.
Cast newcomers this time include two talents who both have had earlier brushes with the supernatural on screen, Barbara Hershey ("The Entity," "Insidious") and Haley Joel Osment ("The Sixth Sense"). "They're both terrific actors," Duchovny says. "I had a great time working with Barbara, and Haley obviously has been acting from very early in his life. I applaud the casting, and the ability of the writers to conceive parts that are good enough to entice that caliber of guest star."
With "Twin Peaks," "Californication" and "Aquarius" also in his TV history, Duchovny believes the latest dive into "The X-Files" holds true to what's come before, with its "ability to go between stand-alone episodes and more soap-opera-leaning (plot continuations). To me, that's what gives it longevity, and the sense that the show doesn't need to end in any kind of overt way."
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Returns at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, on Fox