The X-Files, one of the most iconic science fiction series of the 90s, almost didn't turn out as originally conceived if star David Duchovny had his way. Appearing on Literally! With Rob Lowe, (via Deadline Hollywood) the actor talked to the host about his initial reluctance on becoming FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the series' pilot spurning the character's obsession with conspiracies.
"I had gotten… a couple of scenes in this movie of the week, and it was a director who I was friendly with, and I was going to have to…pull out of that part to do The X-Files pilot," Duchovny said. "I said to my agents, 'I don't want to do that. You know, she's a friend, and I don't want to pull out.'" The actor at the time questioned the longevity of its premise. "X-Files, this is about extraterrestrials. How long can it go? It's a good pilot but you're either going to see the aliens or [not]. I wasn't interested in conspiracy theories and I was perfectly willing to just say, 'I'm going to have to pass on that pilot because I said I'd do this other project."
Luckily, Duchovny's agents talked him out of his refusal. "It's scary to think back on if you didn't open this door, or you took that left instead of that right. It's like, none of it had to happen," he continued. "You talk about actors being dumb…well, that was me." Before the iconic sci-fi series solidified his pop-culture status, he had a regular presence in supporting roles on film as well as TV's Twin Peaks and hosted Showtime's erotic anthology Red Shoe Diaries. Following their initial nine-season run and two theatrical releases, Fox ordered a two-season revival of the Chris Carter-created series that saw Duchovny reunited with co-stars Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, and William B. Davis in 2016 and 2018. The X-Files follows two FBI agents in Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) who investigate unsolvable cases branded by the agency from their paranormal and supernatural nature.
When host Rob Lowe asked if there's any continuation like a possible third feature in the future, the Duchovny deferred. "That's really a Fox question," he said. "You know, they're weird because it's…a big-ticket property and you think, why wouldn't you try to do another one? So, I don't know." Given the fame attached to the series, naturally, the actor shared some fan interactions that reinforced his aversions to conspiracies noting how dangerous they can be. "There were a couple [of] years there where people were asking me about lizard people, and I had no clue that it was a big thing… I'd be signing somebody's thing and they'd say, 'Oh, so-and-so's a reptilian or a lizard,' and I'd be like, 'Yeah? Uh, all right,'" Duchovny recalled. "This kind of thing…happened all the time and I'd go, 'What the fuck is wrong with people?' You know? It didn't make any sense to me." Duchovny can be seen in Blumhouse's The Craft: Legacy.