THE X-FILES: FIGHT THE FUTURE. The characters of the cult science fiction series in a feature film

Chronologically, “X-Files: Fight the Future” falls between the closing of the fifth season (“The End”) and the opening of the sixth season (“The Beginning”),

Karolina Chymkowska

24 February 2024

Several decades have passed, and many of us probably don’t remember well how eagerly anticipated and awaited by fans “Fight the Future” was. Of course, not on the scale of later “I Want to Believe” – in 1998, none of us could yet long for a series that was still airing and doing well.

Nevertheless, even the mere announcements aroused curiosity, especially among those who value the mythological element most in the X-Files universe. I admit I’m not among them; I’ve always had a greater fondness for the investigative episodes, and those are the ones I most eagerly return to. The aura of mystery surrounding the work on the script and later on the set added an extra flavor.

Chronologically, “Fight the Future” falls between the closing of the fifth season (“The End”) and the opening of the sixth season (“The Beginning”), which means the dismantling of the previous cell and the establishment of a new one under different leadership (Diana Fowley and Jeffrey Spender). Chris Carter’s main idea was to create a cinematic analysis of extraterrestrial and mythological themes on a broader scale, in such a way that “Fight the Future” would be clear even to those who hadn’t watched the series. Carter co-wrote the script with Frank Spotnitz, while Rob Bowman, who had directed a total of 33 episodes of the series, was behind the camera.

The action of the film begins thirty-five thousand years before our era in the northern region of Texas, where two cavemen accidentally encounter extraterrestrial life. One of them dies, while the other becomes infected with an oily, black substance. We move to modern times – in the same location, a group of boys is playing, and one of them finds a human skull and also becomes infected. Mulder and Scully, still bitter after the closure of the X-Files, go to Dallas to investigate a bomb threat to a government building. The building ultimately explodes, and worse, everything indicates that it was not without casualties.

But Mulder is contacted by a certain Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil (a very stylish, classy role played by Martin Landau), informing him that the explosion was intended to cover up the real cause of death of several firefighters and a young boy… because there exists a powerful group of people, the Syndicate, who will do anything to hide the truth.

A standalone story that simultaneously serves as a guiding theme for the X-Files mythology? A bold assumption. Bold and difficult to execute. Did it succeed?

The simplest answer is yes and no. “Fight the Future” is essentially just a two-hour, more grandiose episode, containing interesting information about a global government conspiracy and planned extraterrestrial colonization. It confirms existing suspicions, adds a handful of details, and serves as a truly interesting summary of what we’ve learned so far, as well as a good starting point for the next season of the series.

From a fan’s perspective, it works, even quite well, because “Fight the Future” also maintains the specific serial atmosphere – flashes of sardonic humor, philosophical background to some dialogues, and the dark conspiracy of powerful people lurking in the background. Plus, of course, the irreplaceable relationship between Scully and Mulder and the chemistry between them (after all, they were very close to kissing if not for that pesky bee, what a lack of tact on her part!). The tension between the woman and the man goes hand in hand with the exploration of their deepening partnership, extending far beyond mere professional loyalty. We see two people united by a common mission on the verge of discovery that will shake their world and pose an uncomfortable dilemma – what next?

The atmosphere of “Fight the Future” is mainly built on dialogues, following the good example of the series, which never relied on chases, shootouts, and adrenaline pumping. Yet, there is a distinct tension: the secret will finally be revealed, and the evidence is within reach; this time, there’s no option for them to slip away! Well, let’s say…

In conclusion, it’s hard to speak of “Fight the Future” as a full-length film, it’s difficult to apply the rules governing such productions to it, and thus, it’s also difficult to evaluate it according to the categories intended for them.

Would the script seem clichéd to someone who doesn’t know all the ins and outs behind the scenes of the X-Files mythology? Probably. Could individual side plots create an impression of chaos and be misleading to the casual viewer? Quite possible. In the best case, then, “Fight the Future” becomes a solid, stylish, well-directed science fiction thriller, pleasing to the eye but requiring a significant dose of footnotes and annexes.

For a fan, however, it’s a long, exciting episode, maintaining good serial traditions, perhaps not the most thrilling or best executed of them all, but a valuable source of knowledge about the general mythology, gathering a lot of information into one easier-to-digest pill and opening the way to exploring new threads. Every viewer knows that mastering all the secrets of the X-Files universe is a complex and challenging task. So heartfelt thanks to you, Chris, Frank, and Rob, for these small gifts.

Karolina Chymkowska

Karolina Chymkowska

In books and in movies, I love the same aspects: twists, surprises, unconventional outcomes. It's an ongoing and hopefully everlasting adventure. When I don't write, watch or read, I spend my days as a veterinary technician developing my own farm and animal shelter.

See other posts from this author >>>