Last month, IDW Publishing announced its plans for an ongoing series based on “The X-Files,” one of the biggest sci-fi televisions eries of all time, airing for 9 seasons and inspiring two feature-length films starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as paranormal investigators working for the FBI.
Today at Emerald City Comic Con, IDW announced writer Joe Harris and artist Michael Walsh as the creative team responsible for the further adventures of agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Beyond that, Harris told CBR News that original “X-Files” creator Chris Carter is executive producing the new title — subtitled “Season 10” — saying Carter is “personally reading outlines and scripts, providing feedback and suggestions.”
Harris, who recently launched “Great Pacific,” a creator-owned series released through Image Comics, spoke exclusively with Comic Book Resources about “X-Files: Season 10,” teasing the title’s debut story arcs, revealing the status of Scully and Mulder’s relationship as the series opens and more.
CBR News: First off, Joe, what’s your history with “The X-Files” and how did you come to be involved in this iteration of the franchise?
Joe Harris: I’ve been a fan since the show was buried deep on the Friday night network schedule of my lonely teenage ’90s life. Honestly, I can’t think of many characters or comics properties I could be more excited to write.
IDW asked me if I was a fan, and I jumped like little else can probably get me to in this industry. I’m writing the series, ongoing and for as long as they’ll have me!
And all the art we’ve been looking at has been spectacular. In particular, Michael [Walsh] should bring some grit and mood to this series that really pushes the darkness and paranoia.
What can fans expect to see in the first arc of “The X-Files: Season 10?”
It picks up some time after the last movie and re-introduces Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, along with plenty of the supporting cast of characters everyone remembers and would expect to see. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can tell you it opens with a pretty deadly mystery that’s connected to the now-shuttered “X-Files” division at the FBI and what appears to be an effort by some pretty dangerous folks to eliminate the personnel associated with them.
We’re going to re-establish the mythology, the ever-elusive but tireless quest to discover “the Truth,” while conspiratorial elements work against our heroes from both within the government, as well as outside of it, and we’re going to dig into plenty of paranormal threats including some that just might be of the extraterrestrial variety.
We’re going to try and usher “The X-Files” into a new age. We’ve got WikiLeaks, now. Drone warfare, the Patriot Act and challenges related to the government and influence from outside forces, corporations and lobby groups. America has challenges, problems both new and old, related to how it functions, as well as just who it really functions for. I think the “X-Files” mythos will fit nicely into these chaotic, interconnected times.
What’s the status quo between Agents Mulder and Scully as the series starts? Will you be exploring their personal (and sometimes romantic) relationship?
Let me just start by saying, I adore Mulder and Scully’s relationship. From when Agent Dana Scully first walked into Fox Mulder’s basement office in the series pilot and confronted this seemingly desperate believer with her almost unbreakable skepticism, it just worked. It evolved over time. Respect and reverence grew between them, and, with what they’ve been through together, how could they not have grown even closer?
They’re together in this series. They’re an item. But it’s not nearly that simple, or easy, and there are extenuating circumstances related to who they are and what they’ve been through, both together and apart, that will really test them.
In the show’s finale, it was revealed that civilization would come to an end after a massive alien invasion in 2012. Since “The X-Files: Season 10” debuts in 2013, how quickly do you plan on addressing that issue in the comic?
You’re going to have to wait and see on that score — sorry!
This isn’t your first foray into ‘creepy’ story-telling. You’ve done work for “BPRD,” “Vampirella” and even “Creepy,” itself. What attracts you to these types of stories?
Well, horror and horror movies, along with science fiction, have always been a big part of my life and ambitions. The possibilities attract me. The chance to evoke and illuminate real-world issues, challenges themes and concerns through that speculative fiction prism is a big draw. Almost as much as the chance to pull off big sci-fi concepts and creepy, as you say, storytelling.
My “X-Files” stories are a mix of both horror and sci-fi. There were some moments in that show that just made your skin crawl. I really, really want to try and replicate that experience as best I can.
This series is being billed as “Season 10” of the show. Have you had access to any notes or musings from “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter, like how Joss Whedon oversees the “Buffy” comics, or is this series entirely independent from the original show’s creative team?
I actually just spoke with Chris Carter today! Made my morning. And he’s agreed to executive produce the comic.
When you say Chris Carter is “executive producing” the comic, what exactly does that mean?Â
Chris is personally reading outlines and scripts, and providing feedback and suggestions.
What are some of your favorite “X-Files” episodes?
Wow, I can rattle off a bunch — “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” “Ascension,” “The Host,” “Paperclip,” “Piper Maru,” “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” “Tunguska,” “Josie Chung’s From Outer Space,” “Drive,” “Pusher,” just about anything Vince Gilligan wrote starring The Lone Gunmen. And really, all of those great season-ending cliffhangers that Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz pulled off which really amped up the conspiracy and elevated the whole mythology to another level.
But I think my favorite episode from way back is the Season Three finale, “Talitha Cumi,” in which Mulder and X — my favorite character back then played by Stephen Williams — beat the living crap out of one another in a parking garage after Mulder discovers an alien weapon artifact, but refuses to hand it over to his informant, who had expected to get it from him. It ends with them pulling guns on one another, “Mexican standoff”-style, and the paranoia and tension was just oozing out of the show at that point.
Will you be picking up any plot threads from the original series or either of the two movies?
Well, maybe — just maybe.
In all seriousness, there’s lots to Mulder and Scully’s experiences we’re going to pick up on, sure. Lots of old relationships and unfinished business to delve into and use as a starting point. That goes for both their personal lives, and the overarching “mytharc” that defined the series.
Another thing I plan on doing every now and again is creating what amounts to a sequel for some classic standalone “Monster of the Week” stories. We’ve already got one of these in the works and, I do suspect, it’s going to get some people excited when they hear about it.
How long will ‘Season 10’ last? How many seasons are planned at the moment?
I’m not certain, to be honest with you. At this point, we’re an ongoing series with some big, mythology-building and steeped arcs that will be interspersed with some standalone stories and smaller arcs.
So we’ll see, I guess. But we’ve got plenty of big-ass cliffhangers and “holy crap” moments lined up that go for that same season-ending magic I absolutely revered.
“The X-Files: Season 10” #1 by Joe Harris and Michael Walsh hits shelves this June from IDW Publishing.