8 Things That Need To Happen To Make Disney’s The X-Files Reboot Work


  • The X-Files reboot should not star Mulder and Scully again, as their story has run its course and the last seasons were deemed a failure.
  • However, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson should still appear in the reboot to give it legitimacy and pay homage to the original series.
  • The reboot must maintain the dark and eerie tone of the original show and prioritize standalone mystery episodes, while also addressing the lack of diversity and representation in the original series.

The news that Disney has a new X-Files reboot in the works could be promising, but this new project would need to change a lot to make the franchise feel exciting again. The X-Files was a huge hit in the ‘90s, but the show’s 2016 revival proved that its popularity was not perennial. Although David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson both reprised their roles as FBI agents Mulder and Scully, The X-Files seasons 10 and 11 couldn’t recapture the magic of the show’s original run. Like the original series, this revival focused on the zealous Mulder and skeptical Scully’s attempts to investigate the existence of paranormal phenomena.

While The X-Files revival had its defenders, critics broadly dismissed the final two seasons as a failure. Despite this, Disney is reportedly attempting to reboot The X-Files with a more diverse lineup and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler at the helm. Original series creator Chris Carter told CBC’s On The Coast podcast that Coogler was “going to remount The X-Files with a diverse cast,” a promise that didn’t give away much about the show’s tone, story, or returning characters. While Coogler could take the franchise in various different directions, a good reboot of The X-Files would need to make many changes to succeed.


Ryan Coogler’s X-Files Reboot Already Has 1 Huge Problem

Conspiracy theory culture has changed considerably in the 30 years since The X-Files first aired, so any reboot must confront the changes head-on.

8 The New X-Files Reboot Can’t Star Mulder And Scully Again

Duchovny and Anderson’s original heroes have run their course

The fact that the second season of The X-Files revival performed so poorly with critics and viewers makes it unlikely that the show’s original stars Duchovny and Anderson would return for another reboot so soon. However, Disney’s X-Files reboot shouldn’t star Mulder and Scully even if their actors could be convinced to come back again. Mulder and Scully’s story ended with a cliffhanger, but it wasn’t one that viewers were eager to see resolved, since the unpopular story of Scully’s son William dragged down seasons 10 and 11. This pointless plot shouldn’t be revisited, but it couldn’t be ignored if the duo were to return as main characters.

7 David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson Must Still Appear In The Reboot

The X-Files with no Mulder and Scully would feel like a knock-off

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully look around a dark public bathroom in on the X-Files revival

A lot of TV shows have reworked the formula of The X-Files in the years since the series ended, with everything from Fringe to Supernatural to Gravity Falls owing at least some of their inspiration to the ‘90s hit. As such, it would be easy for an X-Files reboot without Mulder and Scully to feel like nothing more than a knock-off. Duchovny and Anderson must at least appear in the spinoff so Mulder and Scully can give the new series their blessing, since anything short of this would mean Disney’s reboot didn’t feel like a legitimate addition to the franchise. Even a brief cameo would be sufficient to end their story and set up the reboot’s new heroes.

6 Disney’s Reboot Can’t Soften The X-Files

The show’s dark, eerie edge must remain

Gillian Anderson's Scully and David Duchovny's Mulder uncover a grotesque old woman in The X-Files episode

The fact that The X-Files had a Simpsons crossover and was endlessly parodied at the height of its popularity led some viewers to nostalgically remember the series as a relatively light watch. However, the nastiest episodes of The X-Files were seriously scary and bleak, as evidenced by season 4, episode 2, “Home,” and season 1, episode 3, “Squeeze.” The reboot needs to remember this, particularly when Disney has a reputation for family-friendly content. Coogler has worked on plenty of mature projects over the years, but little of his recent work has the outright disturbing atmosphere of classic X-Files outings.

5 The X-Files Needs More Monster Of The Week Stories

The series should prioritize fun standalone mysteries

While the series did have a complex conspiracy at the core of the show’s overarching story, The X-Files still excelled at pulling off standalone episodes. Some of these were terrifying while others were pure silly fun, but all of them functioned as mini-movies starring Mulder, Scully, and a unique weekly villain. Disney’s reboot must take inspiration from some of the original X-Files‘ best monster-of-the-week episodes, as it was in these unassuming outings that Mulder and Scully fine-tuned the chemistry that drove the series. This interplay elevated the show, and the formula allows the duo to develop this dynamic via comparatively low-stakes stories.

4 The X-Files Needs More Diversity

The original show was lacking in varied representation

X-Files - William B Davis's Cigarette-Smoking Man lights a cigarette

Gillian Anderson told Variety in 2022 that, if the series were to be rebooted, Mulder and Scully would need to step down for the show “to feel like it was new and progressive.” This is an apt point, and one that Coogler’s reboot will seemingly take to heart. The X-Files was a predominantly white series, but the show’s issues with representation went deeper than that. The 2016 revival featured tasteless transphobic jokes, while the original series rarely addressed the FBI’s history of racism. Luckily, Disney’s reboot could delve into the problematic real-life history of the institution and offer more substantial roles for people of color.

3 2016’s X-Files Reboot Should Be Ignored

The misguided reboot can be retconned by this new franchise outing

Miles Robbins' William holds his hand up in The X-Files revival

The 2016 revival is a rare TV reboot that could reasonably be retconned without explanation, since the final two seasons added little value to the show’s mythos. The reintroduction of Scully’s son William was a major misfire, while the attempts to reintegrate the Cigarette Smoking Man came across as unnecessarily convoluted. The revival’s mysteries were never resolved, which means undoing this plot wouldn’t involve ruining the show’s main conspiracy. Retconning the final seasons would arguably even improve the series as a whole, as Coogler’s reboot could pick up from the superior ending of 2008’s movie spinoff, The X-Files: I Want To Believe.

2 Mulder & Scully’s Relationship Status Needs To Be Explained

The “will they, won’t they” pairing should finally be settled for good

If the reboot does retcon seasons 10 and 11, The X-Files could finally explain the mysterious relationship status of Mulder and Scully. The duo’s famously unresolved romantic chemistry eventually paid off when the ending of the second movie saw them together in an idyllic paradise, but the revival revealed that they fell out of touch in the years that followed. While Duchovny and Anderson’s characters don’t necessarily need a happy ending, their story does require a definitive conclusion after season 11’s cliffhanger left a lot unresolved. This could be easier to achieve if the pair were only occasional supporting stars rather than the show’s leads.

1 The Reboot Can’t Ignore X-Files Lore

Even undoing 2016’s reboot doesn’t solve the conspiracy

Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) looking curious in The X-Files

Just because Disney’s X-Files reboot should recon seasons 10 and 11 doesn’t mean that the series can simply ignore its overarching mystery. The monster-of-the-week episodes were always fun, but The X-Files did promise that the main characters would someday get an answer to the show’s central conspiracy. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return proved that even a surreal, ambiguous series with an infamously disappointing middle installment could come back and offer a meaningful resolution to its story, so there’s no reason that Coogler’s reboot can’t do the same for The X-Files. Disney’s reboot doesn’t need to explain everything, but it must make the world of The X-Files feel like it has answers.


The X-Files

Release Date
September 10, 1993

Gillian Flynn , David Duchovny , Robert Patrick , Annabeth Gish , Mitch Pileggi


Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Disney+

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