gillian anderson

Even before ‘The X-Files kicked off its eleventh season, fans had good reason to fear for Dana Scully’s fate. Not because of the cliffhanger from last season or anything in the previews for the current season, but rather because Gillian Anderson, the actress who plays her, had begun to suggest that she was ready to put the iconic sci-fi series behind her for good.

Speaking during an ‘X-Files’ session during the Television Critics Association press tour, Anderson wasted no time in addressing the elephant in the room: Why is she seemingly closing the door on ‘The X-Files’?

“Why? There’s lots of things I want to do in my life and my career. It’s been an extraordinary character, but there’s lots of things to do and I don’t want to be tied down doing one thing. As Chris [Carter, series creator] has said, that short stack of episodes felt like learning to walk again and the decision of ten felt like a place where we’re up and running. It wasn’t suggested that now is a new series, but I’m serious. I’m finished.”

Sounds pretty definitive, doesn’t it? And it’s perfectly fair for Anderson to want to get on with her career without being tied down to an exercise in nostalgia, especially if the ‘X-Files’ revival is shaping up to be bigger than she bargained for. After all, she’s already spent a decade of her life on ‘The X-Files’. That’s a lot for any role.

But having said all that? Maybe I’m just a fan in denial, but I’m still taking all this talk of her departure with a grain of salt. While – as I said – it’s perfectly reasonable for her to not want the obligations that come with long term television work at this time, there is a difference between working full time on a series and doing a short season every few years. It would also be possible for her to continue in a more limited capacity, similar to the way Scully’s involvement was scaled back in the ninth season of the show’s original run. In either case, it’s entirely possible ‘The X-Files’ will continue with or without Anderson, and while the results have certainly been uneven, it wouldn’t be the first time the show has had to fill a departing cast member’s shoes.

The eleventh season of ‘The X-Files’, which stars Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Mitch Pileggi, and William Davis, is currently in progress. New episodes air Wednesday nights on Fox.