Exclusive: Mitch Pileggi talks returning as Walter Skinner in new “THE X FILES” series


THE X FILES fans everywhere are eagerly anticipating the show’s return as a six-episode “event series” next year on Fox, and seeing all the familiar faces again. One of them is Mitch Pileggi, who reprises his role as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner and spoke to Fango about the revival.

Regarding the call to come back to the supernatural drama, whose original incarnation went off the air in 2002, Pileggi tells us, “I feel like it was a surprise to me, but not to anybody else! It seemed to happen very fast, but I guess they’ve all been talking about it for a long time. When they contacted me, I was very excited; it’s a great thing to be able to come back to an iconic show like THE X FILES, and revisit this wonderful character I got to play for so many years.”

The world—and specifically the milieu THE X FILES explores, with its modes of communication and investigation—has obviously changed a great deal in the last 13 years, “which is great fodder for [creator] Chris Carter to play with,” Pileggi notes. “He’s probably been licking his chops for the last 10 years, thinking, ‘Man, I’ve got to cover this stuff!’ For him to be able to bring back the show with all this stuff that’s going on, with government conspiracies and misadventures and misbehavior, and new planets—there’s all kinds of great stuff for him to explore.”

Needless to say, the actor can’t offer any specific details about the new series, which premieres January 24, 2016 and also brings back David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, William B. Davis as Cigarette Smoking Man and Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood and Dean Haglund as The Lone Gunmen; new to the ensemble are Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell as agents Einstein and Miller. What he can say is, “There are some very cool storylines, and Chris has done a great job of following up on and even clearing up some stuff that transpired in the original. Coming back to it now, he’s got this great energy.

“It’s like we’re all refreshed after we’ve had a break from the show,” he continues. “Doing THE X FILES, especially for David and Gillian, but also Chris and the writers and crew, was tough. I probably had the easiest job, because I’d come in and do a couple of scenes here and there, and then I’d go home. And I was mostly in the office—in fact, the directors got to the point where they didn’t know how to shoot anything fresh in there, because they had shot it in every possible way they could think of! So for all of us to be re-energized, and to see how excited David and Gillian are about coming back and playing these amazing characters that were so instrumental in their careers and their lives, is really cool.”

And according to Pileggi, when he reunited with Duchovny on the set, it was like no time had passed. “The first scene we had together, it was like riding a bike; it was just natural, and it came like [snaps fingers]. Somebody said that Chris was sitting at the monitor with this huge smile on his face; they asked, ‘What are you smiling about?’ and he just pointed at the monitor. That makes me feel good, that he’s very happy with what we’re doing.”

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About the author
Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold has been a member of the FANGORIA team for the past three decades. After starting as a writer for the magazine in 1988, he came aboard as associate editor in 1990 and two years later moved up to managing editor. He now serves as editor-in-chief of the magazine while continuing to contribute numerous articles and reviews, as well as a contributing editor/writer for this website.
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