1. One of the main inspirations for The X-Files was the ’70s television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
The series featured Chicago reporter Carl Kolchak, who investigated mysterious crimes that often involved supernatural and sci-fi elements.
2. Creator Chris Carter came up with the idea for The X-Files when he read a report saying 3.7 million people have claimed to have been abducted by aliens.
3. Carter purposely went against established stereotypes by making Agent Fox Mulder a believer and Agent Dana Scully a skeptic.
4. In real life, David Duchovny is actually a skeptic and Gillian Anderson is a believer.
5. Dana Scully was named after legendary L.A. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
6. The character of Dana Scully was inspired by Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs.
7. Jodie Foster voiced the talking tattoo in the Season 4 episode “Never Again.”
8. According to Carter, Fox Network executives wanted to replace Anderson because they wanted a more “glamorous bombshell” for the part.
Hoping it would add a romantic element to the show.
9. Anderson was only 24 years old when she was cast in the show.
10. According to Anderson, the pilot episode was only the second time she had been on camera.
11. Before being cast as the Cigarette-Smoking Man, William B. Davis had not smoked a cigarette in 20 years.
He smoked real cigarettes for the first two seasons of the show before shifting to herbal.
12. According to producer Kim Manners, at the start of the show, Davis was only supposed to be an extra leaning against a shelf.
Producers had not intended for Cigarette-Smoking Man to be the main antagonist of the show.
13. Anderson was unhappy with filming a hotel scene in her underwear, where she reveals to Mulder some conspicuous bug bites.
Anderson believed the scene was gratuitous and there was “no reason for it.” Carter believed the scene was necessary to “highlight the platonic relationship between the two.”
14. Dana Scully originally had a boyfriend named Ethan Minette in the pilot episode.
He was added in by Fox executive because they felt there was not enough “romantic interest” between Mulder and Scully. Carter nixed all of his scenes, insisting the relationship between Mulder and Scully was much more interesting.
15. Carter said that the test screening for Rupert Murdoch and other Fox executives was met with “spontaneous applause.”
16. In 1993, when the show first premiered, Entertainment Weekly responded to The X-Files tagline “The truth is out there” with “We know — This show is a goner.”
17. Nicholas Lea, who plays Alex Krycek, actually appears as a completely different character in the Season 1 episode “Gender Bender.”
18. The character of Alex Krycek was originally meant to replace Dana Scully for only three episodes, while Anderson was away on maternity leave.
The character ended up lasting eight seasons.
19. X was originally meant to be played by actress Natalija Nogulich from Star Trek: the Next Generation.
She filmed one scene as X before being replaced by Steven Williams. Chris Carter said, “The chemistry wasn’t there.”
20. Chris Owens, who played the devious Jeffrey Spender, would often receive negative reactions on the street due to his character.
One man shook his finger at him and called him a “paper shredder.”
21. Vince Gilligan wrote his first X-Files episode, “Soft Light,” as a freelancer. After the success of the episode, he was asked to join the writing staff by Carter.
22. In order to re-create the look of a New Mexico desert in Vancouver, the production crew had to spray over 1,600 gallons of burgundy paint into a gravel pit.
23. Before Season 7, David Duchovny sued 20th Century Fox because he was upset that they had undersold the rights to their own affiliates, thereby costing him lots of money.
A $20 million settlement was reached.
24. The show was filmed in Vancouver for the first five seasons before moving to Los Angeles.
The show was originally filmed in Vancouver because, according to Carter, they had to go to “where the good forests are.”
25. The show then shifted location from Vancouver to Los Angeles because David Duchovny didn’t like the geographical separation from his wife, Tea Leoni.
26. The episode “Home” was the first in the series to receive a viewer discretion warning for graphic content.
27. The episode was also inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s autobiography.
One of the inspirations for the now infamous “Home” episode was a story in Chaplin’s autobiography. While staying at a tenement home, he met a quadruple amputee who was pulled from under a bed by his family. The man “flopped around” while his family sang and danced.
28. The episode contains a shot where a sick baby gets buried alive.
Kim Manners, who directed the episode, called the shot “the most awful shot of my career.”
29. The Season 1 episode “Tooms” had many “firsts.”
Mitch Pileggi appeared for the first time as Walter Skinner, the first time William B. Davis spoke as Cigarette-Smoking Man, and the first time a Monster-of-the-Week character is given a follow-up episode.
30. According to Mark Snow, the show’s music composer, the theme song was inspired by The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now?”
The echo effect on the theme was achieved totally by accident.
31. The X-Files: Fight the Future marked the first time Mark Snow used an orchestra instead of synthesizers to create the music.
32. In the title sequence for Season 8, the eye that Fox Mulder falls into is actually Gillian Anderson’s.
33. The episode “Leonard Betts” was the highest-rated episode of the series, with 29.1 million people tuning in to watch.
It came on after Super Bowl XXXI.
35. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History acquired several of the show’s famous items.
These items include the original pilot script, Mulder and Scully’s FBI badges, and Mulder’s “I WANT TO BELIEVE” poster.
36. TV Guide named Robert Patrick’s Agent John Doggett as one of the “10 Sexiest Men in Sci-Fi.”
37. If you look closely, the FBI badges used in the show read “Federal Bureau of Justice, United States Department of Investigation.”
This was done because creating a fake FBI badge is illegal.