The X-Files Revival Doesn't Have a Single Woman Writer On Staff

Image via FOX.
Image via FOX.

Season 11 of X-Files is set to premiere in 2018, following a not particularly memorable Season 10 revival of the old series. Showrunner Chris Carter reassembled his writers’ room to fill the ten-episode order, building on Season 10's six episodes. This year, he added some new people, with one thing in common.

Advertisement

Carter invited back Season 10 writers Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan, and James Wong, and TV Line reports that he’s added Gabe Rotter, Benjamin Van Allen, and Brad Follmer, all of whom either worked as writer’s assistants or personal assistants to Carter during previous seasons. But according to Indiewire, Rotter, Van Allen and Follmer have exactly one writing credit between them. It’s just that they get the X-Files “voice.” It’s a man’s voice.

In the lead up to Season 10 in 2016, Carter was interviewed by Indiewire about whether or not he would ever bring new people onto the show, and the answer was basically, hell no:

“I think it would have been a mistake, because you want to make good on a promise,” Carter explained when asked about the idea of bringing new behind-the-scenes talent to the series. “You don’t want to take a chance. If it didn’t work you’d be sunk because there is no way to recover if someone wrote a script and it didn’t work. The clock is ticking. The clock is always ticking in series television. You don’t have a chance to make a mistake. You have to put it on the page first and you can’t fix it in post, no matter how much you rely on your post-production process. If it’s not there to begin with, it’s very hard to manufacture quality.”

But when pressured to say who he would add to the roster if he could ask anyone in the world, Carter jokingly replied, “Charlie Kaufman and Aaron Sorkin.” Good one.

This news isn’t particularly surprising, given stories about how Gillian Anderson, the iconic Dana Scully, was treated on set. According to the Daily Beast, she was told in the early days of the series that she always had to walk a few paces behind David Duchovny in scenes, presumably so viewers wouldn’t be confused and think a woman character was important, and it took her three years to be paid the same amount for her appearance in the show. She also told the Daily Beast that she was astounded when she was again offered half as much money for the Season 10 revival:

Especially in this climate of women talking about the reality of [unequal pay] in this business, I think it’s important that it gets heard and voiced. It was shocking to me, given all the work that I had done in the past to get us to be paid fairly. I worked really hard toward that and finally got somewhere with it.

“Even in interviews in the last few years, people have said to me, ‘I can’t believe that happened, how did you feel about it, that is insane.’ And my response always was, ‘That was then, this is now.’ And then it happened again! I don’t even know what to say about it.”

She stammers for a moment, at a loss for words. “It is… sad,” she finally says. “It is sad.”

It is sad. A bunch of sad men, writing a sad series, rolling in sad money.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

DISCUSSION

As someone who barely knows what The X-Files is, but was completely enthralled by Gillian Anderson’s performance in The Fall (i.e. the feminist crime show we’ve been wanting), the way this show is apparently being dominated by male perspectives is very sad to see. Gillian is a badass who deserves to showcase her full potential, and that’s not going to happen if all her dialogue is written by men!

P.S. I see you, Kinja, with all your not-so-subtle updates. Now being in the grays officially puts me in a separate category from those who are considered part of the “community”? Like, literally, there’s the “community” on one side, and them commenters like me on the other side. We don’t count as part of the community. *continually simmering resentment that comes with being forever gray goes on as always*

P.P.S. I am so sick and tired of asking myself if there’s something I’m doing wrong or if maybe the staff are put off by me because I’m just not likable. It’s arbitrary and fraught with exclusivity, and it drives me nuts. This system was supposed to protect us from rape gifs! It’s been, like, two years since I started posting; is that not long enough to establish that I won’t be posting rape gifs???

P.P.P.S. Sorry for hijacking the thread with my post-script ramblings. :/