This essay takes a look back at what we know and what we don't know about the story arc of The X-Files TV series, with an eye toward what might happen if The X-Files story is ever resumed, such as in a second theatrical film.
The series finale purported to explain many elements of the conspiracy arc. The simple fact, however, is that little if anything in the series finale was new. Nothing was revealed that hadn't been seen in previous episodes of the popular series. Furthermore, the explanations, offered in the form of brief snippets of dialog in Mulder's trial, leave much unsaid.
Careful review of the many mythology arc episodes of The X-Files produces a picture much more complete than the series finale gave us. If it is not definitive, it at least holds together, in my opinion.
Here, then, is my interpretation of the alien/conspiracy continuity of The X-Files:
A virus, also known as the Black Oil, appeared on Earth millions of years ago. It may have evolved here. More likely it arrived by meteor or some other means. It has been said that it was the first intelligence to "walk the planet." The virus, looking in its natural form like oil, has the ability to enter other living things and take over their bodies. As a result, the virus must be considered to be sentient.
Another group of aliens, these humanoid, also arrived long ago, in excess of 35,000 years ago. The Black Oil apparently took control of some or all of these aliens. One group of the aliens left, probably under the control of the virus. Others remained on Earth, in hibernation in various secret underground locations. Large reservoirs of the Black Oil also exist underground on Earth. It may be that there were not enough humans on Earth at that time to support a Black Oil colony.
From time to time over the centuries, the Black Oil aliens have abducted humans, possibly to serve as hosts for their operatives, known to X-Files fans as "Bounty Hunters." For example, the aliens captured virtually the entire Anasazi people around 1300 A.D., except for a few elders who were protected in a pueblo containing magnetite, the presence of which the aliens apparently cannot survive.
Now, the main body of aliens is returning in a colonization force, possibly having acquired reinforcements. Their advance party is here and has been working with the Consortium (a.k.a. the Syndicate) for decades. Their goal is to take over the bodies of the entire human race, a kind of slavery from which there would be no escape. It seems likely that this force of aliens represents is what is commonly called the "Grey Aliens," under the control of the virus.
American intelligence agencies first learned of the aliens at Roswell, N.M. in 1947 and of the colonization plans in 1973. Powerful men of many governments around the world realized they had no way to stop the colonization. Instead, they formed their own organization and negotiated an agreement with the advance group of aliens - in exchange for assistance from the Consortium, the members of the Consortium and their families would be protected and not occupied by the Black Oil.
The means offered to them by the alien Colonists was a plan to create a human-alien hybrid that would be immune from the virus. Once a successful hybrid was developed, the members of the Consortium could be given gene therapy to convert them also into hybrids. The Consortium used the code name "Purity Control" for this plan. German and Japanese scientists who had performed unethical research on humans during World War II were employed to continue their work in the Purity Control project. The development of cloning and the use of abductees as sources of genetic material was all part of this effort. Abductees were tracked by means of their vaccination scars.
For some reason, the aliens were not able or not willing to conduct the DNA research and development themselves. They provided information and guidance to the research efforts of the Consortium. This supervision included direct involvement of alien "Bounty Hunters." Luckily, for the human race, the genetic techniques required were far in advance of human skill in the 1950s. The Colonists were apparently content to wait, possibly because most of them were in suspended animation. The schedule calling for the invasion to happen in 2012 also provided plenty of time to advance the scientific art.
What was in it for the aliens? They apparently lacked the ability to mount an operation large enough to conquer the Earth before their main colonization force arrives in 2012. Their work with the Consortium allowed them to control and manipulate the governmental response to their existence, thus inhibiting legitimate efforts to prevent colonization. This may appear to be unusually politically astute for a group of aliens, but remember that they have been studying and occupying humans for thousands of years. They probably understand human psychology very well.
For at least some members of the Consortium, their cooperation with the aliens was a sham - a delaying tactic to allow time to develop a real defense against the invasion. Enormous resources were put into an effort to develop a vaccine against the Black Oil virus. This vaccine, if it could be developed, would both protect humans from being invaded by the virus and would expel the virus from people who were already inhabited.
The alien plan, however, also had hidden agendas. Humans, once enslaved, would be used to gestate Grey aliens, a process that would result in genocide because the process kills the human host. The Greys, the source of the alien DNA used for the hybridization experiments, are apparently more preferable to the intelligent virus. This may be because the Greys have powers not possessed by humans, such as the ability to shapechange and extraordinary mental powers. While many of the human abductees were experimented on and released, others were taken to secret alien installations, such as the ship buried beneath the ice in the Antarctic, and turned over to the Colonists. The Consortium may have thought that these abductees were to be infected and serve as the army of invasion, but in reality they were infected as hosts for incubation of more Grey aliens, then frozen until the time was right for their hatching.
The Corn and the Bees were another element of this plan, although their exact role is unclear. The Consortium may have told the Colonists that bees carrying the virus could infect humans, or that the bees could insert the virus into the corn during pollenization. The Consortium may also have hoped that the corn (or processed corn oil) could be used to distribute the vaccine around the world. It is interesting to note that bees do not pollinate corn; this may have been an elaborate deception used by the Consortium to misdirect the Colonists.
The Consortium had begun as a covert alliance of intelligence operatives, managing the research and covering-up the work on Purity Control. Over the years, however, the Consortium became a shadow organization, accumulating power and influence across international borders. By 1990, the operation ceased to have members accountable to any one government. Their only chain of command was their own internal structure. Conrad Strugholdt, a German industrialist who had fled his homeland to Northern Africa, became their acknowledged leader.
It is possible that the Cigarette Smoking Man was one of those members of the Consortium who was not ready to surrender to the Colonists, but who rather was ready to go to any length to hinder the invasion. While his motivations and agendas are far from clear, his actions can be interpreted as working within the Consortium to defeat the Colonists and to undermine those members of the Consortium who were ready to collaborate.
To protect against exposure, the Consortium employed methods of disinformation, using covert control of government agencies to hide their work. They also, at times, used operatives of the Colonists themselves - the alien Bounty Hunters. Directly involving the aliens like this was dangerous. They could help to stem a leak or threat but they also, at any moment, might discover the secret that the Consortium was working to develop the vaccine. Discovery of this threat by the aliens could speed up the timetable for colonization and likely result in the deaths of all of the members of the Consortium.
For the Consortium, the ends came to justify the means. Their secret symbolized their only hope of avoiding enslavement when the planet was overtaken.
Into this critical scenario came several new factors in the 1990s:
1. A new group of aliens became active, ready to contest the colonization of the Black Oil. Who they are and what their own agendas may be are poorly understood. They are ruthless, however, in opposing the Black Oil, often killing humans rather than allow them to be taken by the Bounty Hunters. It is possible that the Consortium came into contact with these aliens as well, but may not have realized for some time that they were a separate group. (One possibility I like is that this second group is made up of Greys who are not controlled by the virus.)
2. Agent Mulder discovered The X-Files and with his partner, Agent Scully, began putting pressure on the Consortium, threatening to expose Purity Control.
3. The Consortium was shocked to learn that grey aliens could incubate inside humans. After years of acceptance of the Colonist's plan at face value, members of the Syndicate began to suspect that they had been deceived.
4. The Russians developed a weak vaccine that had some effectiveness against the virus, but it seems that the Consortium was unsuccessful in reproducing it.
5. Research efforts finally developed a successful human-alien hybrid, Cassandra Spender.
The success with Cassandra triggered a cascade of events. The Colonists were thus understood to be ready to move ahead and the Consortium had to admit defeat. As had been agreed so many years before, the members and their families gathered in an aircraft hangar to be taken into "protection" by the Colonists. When aliens arrived, however, they were the "new" aliens and the members of the Consortium were killed, rather than let them come under the power of the Black Oil.
The invasion did not begin immediately. The Black Oil aliens were either unwilling or unable to begin the immediate assault on Earth. It may be that after the destruction of their Antarctic spacecraft, they became desperately short of resources. That would explain why they were still pumping Black Oil wherever they could find it. It may also be that 2012 marks the anticipated arrival date of interplanetary spacecraft carrying the main body of the invasion/colonization force and until that happens, they judge themselves to be too few in number to succeed.
At any rate, there is less than a decade remaining until the actual invasion and colonization begins.
An additional new element that has entered the mix in recent years is the Supersoldiers.
Who created the Supersoldiers and why? We don't know, but we do know that they were transformed from normal humans as the result of treatments they received while abduction victims. Presumably this was some kind of DNA gene therapy. It is somewhat similar to the treatments received by Cassandra Spender - DNA injections (either genetically engineered human DNA, alien DNA, or both) transform the body. Cassandra got immunity to disease. The Supersoldiers get a lot more, including a metallic skeleton that can regenerate from a single bone.
The series finale suggested that the Supersoldiers are the creation of the Black Oil aliens and are being used to further the invasion plans. They will presumably pass their DNA on to their descendents, eventually resulting in a planet of Supersoldiers. Because Supersoldiers can regenerate their bodies after massive injuries, one Supersoldier host could incubate endless numbers of Greys. The Supersoldiers may already have the Black Oil in them, or they may be an alien creation to provide a more capable host species compared to both poor, puny normal humans and Grey aliens.
This explanation of the Supersoldiers in the series finale was an opinion, expressed in court testimony. I think there are also other possible explanations.
1. The Supersoldiers may be the creation of the last remnants of the anti-invasion forces of the Consortium as a last-ditch effort to resist the Black Oil. Want to bet that a Supersoldier could beat a Bounty Hunter? If the Supersoldiers are immune to the Black Oil, maybe because they are immune to all viruses, they would pass their immunity on to future generations and eventually the entire population of the planet would be immune. If the aliens could not produce hybrids on their own, it does not seem reasonable that they could develop the Supersoldier gene therapy. It seems more likely to me that they are a byproduct of the Consortium research program.
2. The Supersoldiers could be the creation of the rebel aliens who oppose colonization. Up to now, these poor devils have had no higher tech way of avoiding infection than sewing their eyes and mouths shut. I see an outside chance that the Supersoldiers are a powerful new weapon in their battle against the Colonists.
We also have the question of young William Scully and why aliens (residing in Georgia) and Supersoldiers seemed so interested in his birth.
My take on William is that he is unique because he is the first child born of two parents who have first been infected by the Black Oil, and then freed by the vaccine. Mulder and Scully have both apparently received alien DNA treatments in the past. The Cigarette Smoking Man specifically told Diana Fowley that Mulder is immune to the Black Oil. All of the other Supersoldiers appear to be transformed regular humans. The genetic reinforcement of the altered DNA of his parents makes William a one-of-a-kind child with an uncertain destiny.
The concept that either Mulder or his son must die, voiced by Krycek, is problematical. In 2012, William will still be a child (unless he ages rapidly, like children on many TV shows). It seems unlikely that he could take direct action that would either make the invasion successful or prevent it. Mulder, on the other hand, has the potential to either bring about the defeat of the aliens, or to destroy the remnants of the Consortium who might still be working to defeat the aliens.
Could William's unique DNA become a source for a new round of research leading to an even better human-alien hybrid or a better resistance against the Black Oil? If so, William would need to stay alive so he could provide repeated pristine tissue samples over the years.
I like to think that Krycek, slimeball though he is, opposes the colonization in his own way. My conclusion is that, in Krycek's opinion, if Mulder lives, the invasion is greatly threatened. If William lives, he would provide a source of unique genetic material. If neither lives, the odds of defeating the colonists are greatly reduced. If both Mulder and William live, Mulder might protect William well enough that DNA samples are not available. Furthermore, parenting may also distract Mulder from the crusade against colonization.
After due consideration, I think that putting Chloramine in drinking water was a plan to create more Supersoldiers - maybe women who ingest DNA-laced Chloramine during pregnancy give birth to baby Supersoldiers. As a result, the effort to kill the people responsible for Chloramine could have been intended to resist the spread of Supersoldiers.
Mulder's trial in the series finale was, of course, a sham. It was an effort led by aliens to remove Mulder from the equation and in the bargain to find out what he really knew about the invasion operation.
The Cigarette Smoking Man, still opposing the colonization in his own way, manipulated events so that it would appear, at least for a while, that Mulder had died in the assault on the pueblo. This, plus the possibility that even the conspirators cannot ignore the Presidential-mandated post-September 11 priority of homeland defense for the FBI, leaves Mulder and Scully relatively in the clear.
No competent court would consider extraditing Mulder to face execution imposed by that kangaroo court. As a result, I see the sentence as a non-issue. Mulder and Scully are now on their own. Scully's employment by the FBI will be terminated when she fails to show up for duty. They are, in effect, private investigators of the paranormal, retaining government contacts but free of the annoying interference by conspirators within the FBI and government chain of command. Mulder will NOT be distracted by parenting and is free to contend against the aliens.
What do Mulder and Scully live on? They probably have resources. Yves and Jimmy may contribute in memory of the Lone Gunmen. Mulder, as the sole heir of his parents, probably has significant personal wealth (which is why he used to wear those ultra-expensive suits all the time). They could even set themselves up as a private investigation agency and charge clients for solving paranormal cases.
In the final analysis...
1. We can still expect the invasion to take place in 2012, if nothing is done to prevent it.
2. Remnants of the Consortium still exist. There are still factions within the survivors of the Consortium working to oppose Colonization.
3. The aliens themselves also have operatives infiltrated into all levels of government and wielding power.
4. Scully and Mulder can now pursue their work with significantly fewer restrictions than under the former FBI regime.
This sets the stage for a possible series of future theatrical X-Files movies. They can do "stand-alone" movies or conspiracy arc stories, just like the TV series did. Producers can still bring in Skinner and even Doggett and Reyes, as needed by the scripts, but the characters are free of most of elements (like the FBI bureaucracy) that would slow down a movie script.
From a storytelling point of view, and if you think of The X-Files as a "franchise" that needs to be continued by FOX and 1013 Productions, the characters of Mulder and Scully are now in the ideal position for future stories, including future "stand alone" movies, novels, video games, etc.
Copyright (c) 2000, 2003 by Michael Marek