The X-Files season 12: Everything you need to know (2024)

Warning: Contains spoilers for season 11.

Even before its 11th season had aired, The X-Files was rocked by Gillian Anderson's announcement that she was quitting the show.

She had said previously that season 11 "will be the last" for her and for any fans who didn't believe her, she confirmed it in late December and repeated: "I've said from the beginning, this is it for me."

But the show has continued before without its dynamic duo when David Duchovny quit as a series regular in the latter seasons of the show's original run, so there's a chance that season 12 could still happen and we've rounded up what we know so far.

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Related: What went wrong with The X-Files revival?

The X-Files season 12 release date: When can we expect it?

If The X-Files does come back for a 12th season, it won't be for a while.

FOX boss Gary Newman revealed in May 2018 - a few weeks after season 11's finale went out - that "there are no plans to do another season at the moment".

It seems The X-Files are closed again... at least temporarily.

The X-Files season 12 cast: Will it continue without Scully?

During a Reddit AMA, creator Chris Carter responded to Anderson's exit for the first time by saying he hadn't really thought about the show without Scully.

"For me, the show has always been Mulder and Scully. So the idea of doing the show without her isn't something I've ever had to consider. Was her character given a proper goodbye? I think you will want to sit down and watch the series finale very carefully," he teased.

Fox TV chairman Gary Newman wants to believe that Anderson could be convinced to do more episodes. "I would not exclude the possibility that there would be more. But not only is there no plan, there hasn't been a single conversation. It's too early to even speculate," he explained.

Anderson seems pretty confident that season 11 is the end for Scully, though. "It's time for me to hang up Scully's hat. It just is," she noted at the TCA press tour in January 2018, adding that she's thought about leaving since before the six-episode revival season.

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"I wouldn't necessarily have been happy if those six were how we said goodbye... There's lots of things that I want to do in my life and in my career, and it's been an extraordinary opportunity and extraordinary character and I am hugely grateful."

Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, X-Files creator Chris Carter also revealed that he'd be open to continuing the show without Anderson as Scully. "I think that certainly The X-Files has more life in it," he said. "There are more stories to tell, with Gillian or without."

Right now, it's looking more likely to be without, with Anderson - apparently displeased with the direction taken by recent episodes - even mocking the show's ratings decline on Twitter.

For his part, David Duchovny has said he'd be "good either way" if the show either ended after season 11 or continued without Scully for season 12.

"I've tried to say goodbye to Fox Mulder many times and I failed," he joked. "And they all went and did the show without me, so how do you like that? I'm feeling pretty pissed off, now that I remember."

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Related: The X-Files creator is confident that season 12 will happen, even without Gillian Anderson

Away from Mulder and Scully, it's likely that Mitch Pileggi will be back as Walter Skinner and William B Davis as Cigarette Smoking Man, provided they survive the season.

Recurring cast in season 11 that could return for another season include Miles Robbins as William, Robbie Amell as Agent Kyd Miller, Lauren Ambrose as Agent Liz Einstein, Annabeth Gish as former FBI agent Monica Reyes and Veronica Cartwright as Cassandra Spender, the ex-wife of the Cigarette Smoking Man.

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The X-Files season 12 spoilers: How did season 11 set it up?

Even Duchovny has admitted that season 10 wasn't all that good, promising fans that season 11 is "significantly better and we are all doing better work this time around".

However, the season premiere courted controversy from its fans after it was revealed Scully's son wasn't Mulder's, but the Cigarette Smoking Man's after he abducted her a while ago and impregnated her with alien-assisted science.

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An eventful premiere also saw the show confirm Cigarette Smoking Man's real name as Carl Gerhard Busch and 100% confirm that he is Mulder's father.

Season finale 'My Struggle IV' then revolved around Mulder and Scully in a race against time to find William (Miles Robbins) before the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) could unleash his masterplan for a man-made contagion.

(What Mulder and Scully didn't know is that William was using his altered DNA as a 'super-power' on the run, to morph into a monstrous creature... and blow up people with his mind.)

Somehow, William had discovered that CSM was his true father, not Mulder. After shape-shifting into Mulder, he confronted an unsuspecting CSM and dared his devious father to shoot him. Believing that he'd be killing Mulder (and not William), CSM ruthlessly complied and put a bullet in William's brain.

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The real Mulder arrived to watch William lifelessly fall into the ocean, and then, in his grief, shot CSM while Scully raced to the scene. As Mulder grieved the loss of his son, Scully finally came clean with what she'd learned about the origins of their 'son'.

"He was an experiment. Born in a laboratory," she told Mulder. "I carried him. I bore him. But I was never a mother to him."

In the final seconds of the episode, Mulder questioned if life was worth living if he'd wrongly believed he'd been a father all of these years. Scully pulled him close and dropped a pregnancy bombshell: "Mulder, you are a father."

A brief post-credits scene tacked onto the end of the episode revealed that William had miraculously healed himself from the bullet wound. Oh, of course...

Chris Carter defended the twist ending , saying: "People will either love me or hate me. I think they'll have reasons for both. It certainly is one of the most interesting cliffhangers that the show has ever had."

Fans, though, weren't particularly impressed – and neither, apparently, was Gillian Anderson, who - incredibly - tweeted a message after the finale which implied she shared their disappointment.

Any 12th season, then, would presumably explore Scully's baby reveal (which would be trickier without Gillian Anderson on board), William's apparent survival and whether Cigarette Smoking Man is really gone for good this time.

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Ian Sandwell

Movies Editor, Digital Spy Ian has more than 10 years of movies journalism experience as a writer and editor. Starting out as an intern at trade bible Screen International, he was promoted to report and analyse UK box-office results, as well as carving his own niche with horror movies, attending genre festivals around the world. After moving to Digital Spy, initially as a TV writer, he was nominated for New Digital Talent of the Year at the PPA Digital Awards. He became Movies Editor in 2019, in which role he has interviewed 100s of stars, including Chris Hemsworth, Florence Pugh, Keanu Reeves, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman, become a human encyclopedia for Marvel and appeared as an expert guest on BBC News and on-stage at MCM Comic-Con. Where he can, he continues to push his horror agenda – whether his editor likes it or not.

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