Gillian Anderson on ‘X-Files’ sexism, potential reboot

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Anderson said she had little interest in reprising her iconic role as Dana Scully unless a project felt “new and progressive.”

With seemingly every classic movie and TV property being rebooted as content for streaming services, you’d be forgiven for thinking another revival of “The X-Files” is inevitable. But according to star Gillian Anderson, fans shouldn’t hold their breath for more adventures with Dana Scully and Fox Mulder.

Anderson received the Variety Icon Award at CannesSeries, where she spoke about the highs and lows of playing FBI agent Dana Scully. While she acknowledged that many fans view her “X-Files” character as something of a feminist icon, Anderson revealed that she doesn’t necessarily see it that way.

“I don’t think it’s as clear in my mind as being, ‘Oh, that’s a feminist character,'” Anderson said. “I think it was more fair, ‘She’s a woman I’ve never seen on TV, and she’s so unique.'”

While “The X-Files” was notable for having a female character in such an important role in the FBI, Anderson lamented that the series was still a product of its time. She detailed the little ways her character was portrayed as less competent than David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder, and said she frequently had to push back against outdated genre tropes.

“I was expected to walk behind [Duchovny] when [our characters] approached the front doors of the people we were investigating,” she said. “There are things I rebelled against.”

Asked about a possible revival, Anderson didn’t shut the door completely, but made it very clear that more “X-Files” was not a priority for her. She also referenced the series’ controversial ending, in which Agent Scully was revealed to be pregnant in a post that many fans found bizarre and disrespectful to the character.

“It sounds like such an old idea. I did it, I did it for so many years, and it also ended on such an unhappy note,” she said. “To even start having this conversation [about another season] there would have to be a whole new set of writers and the baton passed on for it to feel like it was new and progressive. So yes, it really is in the past.

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