No matter what you thought of The X-Files’ recent revival (we had, uh, mixed feelings), the truth (is out there) that it remains one of the best-loved sci-fi series ever. In 2020, io9 got a chance to spotlight Paul Terry’s wonderfully creative The X-Files: The Official Archives—and today, on X-Files creator Christ Carter’s birthday, no less—we’re thrilled to share a bit about its sequel.
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Here’s the official description for the book:
An officially licensed, richly-illustrated inside look at the case files of Mulder and Scully’s encounters with extraterrestrial activity and the Syndicate.
Following the revelations of the cases declassified in The X-Files: The Official Archives: Cryptids, Biological Anomalies, and Parapsychic Phenomena comes this vital second volume of top-secret X-files. The X-Files: The Official Archives: Volume II: Extraterrestrial Activity and the Syndicate details Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder’s close encounters with alien beings and exposes the secrets of the shadowy Syndicate. Featuring UFOs, little green men, and the conspiracies to hide them from the public, these richly detailed and painstakingly re-created case files open up the X-Files universe like never before.
These vital cases served as the backbone to the cult television series and provided a powerful throughline and emotional lifeline for Agent Mulder. Now, through archival imagery and reports, fans can experience firsthand the thrills of some of the series’ most beloved episodes, including “Deep Throat,” “Jose Chung’s from Outer Space,” “Fight the Future,” “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man,” and many more.
Here’s the full cover:
Image: Abrams Books
Image: Abrams Books
And here’s io9’s email interview with author and X-Files X-pert Paul Terry. Look for The X-Files: The Official Archives: Volume II: Extraterrestrial Activity and the Syndicate from Abrams Books in fall 2024.
Cheryl Eddy, io9: Congrats on volume two of The X-Files: The Official Archives! Did you always have the idea for a second book in mind, or was that something that came about after the response to the first one?
Paul Terry: Thank you so much, Cheryl! When I first pitched the concept of The X-Files: The Official Archives to Fox back in 2015, my dream was for this to be a book series. My outline discussed how it would work as a multi-book concept. I can confirm that the first volume was always planned to focus on certain types of “monster of the week” cases. A potential second would compile the entire mythology of the UFO, aliens, and Syndicate conspiracy. But, like any creative concept, it had to prove itself first. We had to see whether one volume would be something the fans would enjoy before any concrete conversations or plans could be discussed for any sequel volumes. However, inside the first volume, a lot of eagle-eyed readers did spot references to their being other “archived volumes” of the X-file reports. Which I loved so much. Because I wanted the fans to see, and to trust, that this concept always hoped to be a larger project. I’m very happy that we’re busy making volume two right now.
io9: What kind of feedback did you get from X-Files fans about the first book?
Terry: I do want to take this opportunity during our chat to, extremely loudly, thank every single X-Files fan for their support, their reviews, their shares, their podcasting, and their purchases of volume one. Honestly? The fans are the reason we have volume two coming out in 2024. Making any book is hard. But making these in-world, high-concept books a success is massively dependent on how the fandom reacts. I always believed in the idea behind these X-Files books—since I was in my teens, I wanted to hold Mulder and Scully’s reports in my hands. And I truly believed fans all around the world would want that too. But it’s a very different thing having a “hope” and then having that feeling validated. I continue to be blown away by how generous, kind, and supportive the X-Files fan community is. They’ve been so kind and complimentary about the level of detail, research, and effort that went into the first volume. And I promise you, the second volume raises the bar.
When fans asked me online if there was another volume coming, I always quoted the final (Mulder) line from “The Truth,” “Maybe there’s hope.” I’ve kind of been doing something that has been hiding in plain sight since the first volume came out in 2020. On social media posts, I would sign off with a string of emojis: prayer hands, a red book, then a Grey alien. I was communicating that hope/wish to the fans: essentially saying, “Maybe there’s hope that…after this red book (volume 1)… there could be one about aliens to follow it…”
io9: The first book explored 50 “case files” from stories explored in The X-Files. Will the second be similarly structured?
Terry: This next volume is called Extraterrestrial Activity and the Syndicate. I’m really excited for everyone to see what we’re working very hard at making. If you loved the hyper-realistic design, evidence, and reports from the first volume, you are going to get that level of detail again. Even more so.
But what I’m extra excited about it is, because volume two covers the entire mythology—from seasons one all the way through to season 11, including Fight the Future, with some surprises—reading through it, and studying it, will feel a little different. Because I wanted volume two to be an even more immersive experience. So, while Agent Leyla Harrison is collating and preserving the reports and evidence, let’s just say that some strange things happen… things that, in spirit, will be familiar to X-Files fans. I won’t say anymore than that for now, as I don’t want to spoil it. But I’m excited for fans to pore over this one.
io9: I asked about your favorite episodes last time around, so here’s a different “favorite” question. Who are your favorite characters (could be from the main cast, recurring, or even one-offs who made an impression)?
Terry: Everyone knows how much I love Scully and Mulder, so I won’t go on and on about why they’re the greatest duo ever. So I’ll say: I think Cigarette Smoking Man remains one of the most fascinating and complex antagonists ever. William B. Davis is just perfect. Also, James Pickens Jr. stole every scene he’s in as Alvin Kersh. Kersh always felt like he was in total control of the energy of the room. I’m a huge fan of what Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish brought to the show. All of the love for Doggett and Reyes. Every time Steven Williams turned up as X he electrified the screen. I’m a huge fan of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, so just thinking about Darren McGavin being on the show as Arthur Dales always makes me smile. And, related to Kolchak, Rhys Darby is absolutely pitch-perfect as Guy Mann in what is one of the funniest episodes of all time. Honestly though, I could go on for hours talking about multiple favorite characters. There are so many extraordinary actors and performances on this show.
io9: Since we’re coming up on Halloween—which episode(s) do you think are the all-time scariest?
Terry: Creature-wise, I think “Folie à Deux” is unrivalled. It’s a masterfully edited horror episode. “Chinga” is chilling throughout, because there’s a kind of helplessness that you feel while watching it. And, related to that, I think one of the most tense, emotionally terrifying episodes is “Pusher.” The villain, Modell, feels utterly unstoppable. He’s so casual about his killings, and the threat to Mulder and Scully at the end feels so real. It’s a chilling story. Along those lines, “Irresistible” is creepy for its entire runtime. The ambiguity as to whether Pfaster is a demon or simply human adds an extra dimension of horror to the story. When there is a palpable threat to Mulder, Scully, or both of them, it definitely raises the stakes as to how frightening a story can become.
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