With The X Files phenomenon hitting fever pitch in the 90’s, it was a great decade for the X-Philes fan base. From starting as a small but dedicated few, who discussed all aspects with each other and the producers online in a pre-social media world, to becoming a mass mainstream band of brothers, we grew as big as Trekkies and influenced the commercial appeal of geekdom.
But after the series ended in 2002, it seemed that only the small cult following that began nine years earlier were remaining, with the shows legacy somewhat tarnished by low ratings, cast changes, and the series in general running out of steam.
Yes, the excitement is there for the revival and we’re finally getting what we deserve, but only after 13 years long and difficult years.
Therefore, I present to you a few reasons why we really are a patient lot…
Hit the jump for 9 Reasons Why the X-Philes Deserves the Award for ‘Most Outstanding Patience of a Cult Fan Base.’
The Series Finale
Opinions on the mythology arc in later seasons divides many X-Philes and while the show slumped in the ratings during Season 9, viewers were promised a series finale that would bring much needed closure to the arc before spinning off into a film franchise.
And what did we get? A finale that told us most of what we already knew, refused to answer any questions posed in Seasons 8 and 9, and ended up creating even more questions. Compared to the finales in Seasons 7 and 8, which would have made more satisfactory final episodes, The Truth is a let-down.
Having said that, there needed to be some questions for the promised film franchise, and with the episode revealing the milestone 2012 alien colonisation, we all saw a clear road of X-Files movies for the next decade with a well-defined endpoint.
And so we waited….
I Want to Believe
And waited, and waited and waited some more, until finally, after half a decade in development hell due to lawsuits and script issues, the second movie, entitled I Want to Believe, was released in 2008.
Which brings me to the first problem; six years, even for hard-core fans, is an agonising wait and inevitably the mainstream interest had simply gone away.
And then there’s the movie itself. What should have been a love letter to fans ended up as a suicide note. While the idea of a stand-alone movie wasn’t necessarily bad, the first film after the series finale needed to acknowledge the mythology arc. And as for the plot, it felt like a wacky CSI with Mulder and Scully thrown into the mix. With all this, even the most astute X-Philes felt betrayed and as such the filmed bombed.
And yet despite the lacklustre success…
Campaigns For a Third Movie
We all remained optimistic that a third movie to be released in time for the predicted 2012 alien colonisation storyline would be made. By returning to the mythology, fans hoped for a movie more like Fight the Future that would give the franchise some much needed closure. Despite the fact that there was a realisation amongst all of us that we’d have waited a whole unsatisfactory decade for closure is a testament to the stories appeal amongst its most dedicated followers.
Notwithstanding the hashtag to 20th Century Fox tweets, many campaigns, and opinion pieces cluttering up fan sites, the movie came to no avail. And with that, on December 21st 2012 when the real world didn’t end, a sigh of sadness could be heard by all X-Philes across the globe.
And while we’re on topic, how many time have us X-Philes read a headline along the lines of, “Third X Files Movie in Development” or “Revival on the Way,” only to find it’s Carter, Duchovny and Anderson simply stating their interest but that it’s ‘all up to Fox?’
The answer is far too often, with the media twisting their comments, making us read the headlines out of context, giving us all false hope and once again letting us all down.
How many blows can one fan base take?
Well here come some more. After a boom of merchandise during the 90’s, to say we suffered a dry spell following 2002 is a huge understatement. Compared to its contemporaries such as Quantum Leap, Buffy, and Star Trek whose fans have had merchandise pouring out of their ears long after the finales, the only real X-Files merchandise pre-2013 was an IDW 6 issue comic crossover with 30 Days of Night.
Defending the Legacy
And amongst all this, the X-Philes had another battle to face; defending the shows legacy. It seemed during the noughties that the majority of mainstream X-Philes who jumped ship early decided to forget how influential the show was and wrote it off as a piece of ‘fluff’ or ‘90’s nostalgia.’
This is particularly unfair when compared to other shows such as Quantum Leap, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Xena: Warrior Princess, which aired around a similar time and are lauded by the cult world years after they aired.
It felt like The X-Files had truly become the poor relation within the world of science fiction and cult TV.
A Turning Point
But in January 2013, a month after we all mourned the third movie that never was, our outlook began to change. IDW and Joe Harris announced a new canonical comic book continuation entitled ‘Season 10.’ Beginning in June that year, the 25 issue series went on to become massive sellers and soon a resurgence of interest in The X-Files began. Amongst these new stories, IDW also reissued classic novels, comics and have even published a new anthology collection called ‘Trust No One.’
And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve had bobble heads, t-shirts and a board game, which really has brought the hysteria back from the 90’s. As a fan base we cherish these releases as it’s such a rare occasion, particularly compared to other cult fan bases such as the Whovians and Trekkies who are spoilt with constant tie-in merchandising.
That same year was the 20th Anniversary of The X-Files and this milestone garnered enthusiastic media interest. Not only did the cast and crew reunion panel at San Diego Comic Con attract world-wide attention, there seemed to be a newfound fondness for the series with many retrospective articles and reviews commenting on it’s influence on contemporary television.
The Big Event
And while all these developments fed the hungry appetites for new and old X-Philes alike, we couldn’t quite feel contentment with just that. Deep down, what we really wanted was to see Duchovny and Anderson on screen as our favourite dynamic duo.
And so finally, this year we got the news that most of us wrote off ever happening; Fox announced a new six episode event season which is currently filming and will be broadcast on January 24th, 2016.
So, 22 years since the pilot episode premiered and 13 years since the series finale, what does this prove about us…
Yes the mainstream interest for the revival is now there, especially compared to seven years ago when I Want to Believe was released, but let’s not forget those X-Philes who’ve remained eternally dedicated. Fans may have come, gone and returned, but for those of us who’ve remained consistent and loyal for 22 years, it’s fair to say that it’s not always been easy and at times felt like a hardship, but finally, the series is getting the legacy it deserves.
So are we the most loyal fan base? That’s up for debate and I’d say we are, but if anything, we’re certainly the most patient. So, well done to X-Philes worldwide.
We believed, never gave up and in January, the truth will be revealed.