'The X-Files' Star Gillian Anderson on How The Show Will Deal With the Rise of Conspiracy Culture

When The X-Files first took to the air more than 20 years ago, Dana Scully was firmly a member of the Establishment, called in to debunk the fringe theories of Fox Mulder, who wanted to believe in things that those residing within the corridors of power had decided were not to be discussed in public.

As the series returns in 2017, the U.S. President in the real world is one who has embraced and mainstreamed a wide variety of conspiracy theories. And whether it is a question of where former President Barack Obama was born or of the huge number of JFK and UFO files he has declassified or pledged to, we wanted to know: what would a professional skeptic like Scully make of a world where those residing within the corridors of power are now more like Mulder than like Scully?

“I don’t know; we refer to a lot [but] we try and stay off the nose in the show,” Anderson told ComicBook.com. “It’s hard to parody a parody, and so while we have free game in a way that we wouldn’t have had were we to be up and running during the Bush Administration....There’s a sense that you’ve seen and heard everything at this juncture and so I think it’s definitely a challenge for the writers.”

While dealing with that, there are both world-altering stakes at play and something deeply personal -- a mystery around Scully's son, William.


“What we learned early on in doing the series is that we can have very personal struggles or saving the world struggles, and yet the next episode can not refer to it whatsoever,” Anderson joked. “The audience has come to accept that and respect that, and we as actors just have to close one door and step through one door and just accept it.”

The X-Files returns for its eleventh season -- and franchise star Gillian Anderson's last -- tomorrow night on FOX.