Everything You Need to Know About ‘The X-Files’


The X-Files returns to FOX on Sunday, Jan. 24 for a six-episode miniseries that reunites fans with Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) for the first time since the 2008 one-off movie. That film was mostly a standalone story, so we really haven’t been immersed in the grander saga of The X-Files since the series ended in 2002.

Maybe your memory is a little fuzzy (what the hell happened to that baby!?), or maybe you weren’t a fan the first time around.

Watch this Crash Course on The X-Files

The story of two FBI agents investigating unexplained cases involving UFOs and the paranormal was a hit with TV audiences of the 1990s. The show’s following helped build the foundations of internet fandom, and the will-they-won’t-they tension between Mulder and Scully gave rise to the phenomenon of “shipping.”

Agent Fox Mulder and his personal quest for answers is the core of the show’s drama. Mulder is an outsider. He’s earned the nickname “Spooky” at the FBI, and even his boss Walter Skinner thinks he’s nuts. However, it becomes clear that Mulder is considered a tangible threat to those in power when another agent is assigned to keep tabs on him.

Dr. Dana Scully is a hardcore skeptic when she’s initially tasked with debunking Mulder’s work, but her experiences on the X-Files bring her reluctantly around to his way of thinking.

Both agents are driven by deeply personal connections to their work. Mulder is constantly reliving the childhood disappearance of his sister — was she really abducted by aliens as he recalls? Meanwhile, Scully is caught up in her own personal search when she is diagnosed with cancer under mysterious circumstances — it seems to be the result of an alien abduction.

Over the course of the series, the agents learn of a vast shadow government conspiracy that is plotted by a group called the Syndicate and the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man. Ultimately, it turns out that conspiracy has been all about preparing for an alien colonization event tied to a Dec. 22, 2012 invasion.

Did that actually happen? No. And you’ll see why when the miniseries picks up the story on Jan. 24 on FOX.

Oh! Did Mulder and Scully ever “do it” on the show? We never REALLY know, but the couple do have a baby, William, so read between the lines. They don’t keep the kid though — because he has super-DNA, he’s hidden away with adoptive parents. Maybe we’ll see him again when the show returns.

Director of Partnerships for Movies and TV at Fandom, Brian previously held positions in Marketing, Editorial, and Branded Content at Fandom. He has been on the fan-media scene since dial-up, and loves space sagas and superheroes.