Easily the most anticipated panel at WonderCon this year was for The X-Files 2. The crowd was at capacity for the first time this weekend, and they cheered loudly at even the smallest things. The girl that came out to place the name cards dragged the act out for a few minutes as each card drew a bigger response from the audience. By the third and fourth card (for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny), the audience had become a writhing mass of sweat and sex juices. (In the interest of honesty, I myself am a huge fan of the show, particularly the Duchovny years, but I was able to keep my bodily fluids in check.)
The panel was preceded by a very slick-looking new trailer… the very one leaked to YouTube less than a day later. (And no, I am not the nefarious scoundrel responsible for said leakage.) The trailer showed off some great action pieces as well as some fresh faces including Amanda Peet and Billy Connolly. The crowd’s response was huge, but easily dwarfed by the screams and cheers once the guests actually came onstage. It’s apparently a big deal that Duchovny and Anderson appeared together as they never have at any convention prior. The reason for that was evident on their faces (on creator/writer/director Chris Carter’s face as well) as they absolutely did not want to there. It’s clear they appreciate the fans, but you can tell this is not their preferred scene. Yes they were tired from shooting the night before and flying in that morning, but they looked bored and put out for the first fifteen minutes or so.
They jumped right in with the Q and A (which culminated in the weekend’s second example of the crowd acting as moral arbiter… see my article on Get Smart for the first.) Fans seemed mixed on the idea of the sequel being less concerned with the X-Files mythology (ie. aliens, Cancer Man, and the black goo) and more of a ‘monster of the week’ movie. I for one am thrilled by the news, as I think the alien abduction storyline has been driven into the ground. Plus, a stand-alone film will have a wider audience, which means bigger box office, which means more sequels. Carter made two guarantees about the new film, first that “it will scare the pants off you” and second, that we’ll “see Mulder and Scully in a whole new way.”
Duchovny and Anderson were asked how difficult it was getting back into these characters. Anderson replied that she “sucked for the first two days of shooting… I kept telling myself no no, that’s a Scully mannerism, before realizing that yes, I was supposed to be Scully.” Duchovny agreed saying he was “woefully unprepared” to return to the role. When asked if any other familiar faces return in the new movie, Carter would only say that nobody’s ever really dead in the world of the X-Files.
Towards the end of the questions one fan reminded the panel why they hate coming to these conventions. “I love you guys. You mean more to me than anything else,” she said, with no trace of exaggeration. “My husband had a stroke last night and I’m here.” She was not joking. And after a few seconds of stunned silence, the room erupted with boos and hisses. She mumbled something then fell back into the crowd’s gaping maw.
On a more positive note, Duchovny thanked the crowd for proving to them and the studio that the X-Files still had an audience. Anderson also shared the news that “memorabilia, paraphernalia, and prophylactics” from The X-Files 2 movie set will be auctioned online to benefit various charities.
The X-Files 2 opens July 25th.