A Letter to Philes and MSR Shippers

Dear Philes,

I, like many of you, have been an X Files fan for more than half of my life. I’m 30 years old now and began watching when I was 12. I was a shipper from the first episode I saw (Irresistible hug, I’m looking at you). I was a diehard fan shortly thereafter. I loyally watched every episode live and taped it. I saw FTF 5 times in the theater and bought the VHS tape the day it was released. I remember taking the series finale I taped the night it aired with me to high school the next day so my friends and I could watch it during the finals we exempted. I saved magazine covers, I clung to any news of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and hoped beyond hope that the X Files story would continue.

I was overjoyed at the news of IWTB and saw the midnight showing alone. I was in a different city in the middle of teaching summer camps, but nothing would have stopped me from seeing my show on the big screen again. I had resolved myself to that ending and my own headcanon of Mulder and Scully’s adventures. There is something to be said for picturing them in their own universe, fighting the good fight side by side as partners, friends, and soul mates. I had totally accepted that as the end of their story.

7 years passed with me growing older, finding my place in this world, and always finding comfort by a return to my show and OTP whenever the impulse arose. (Thank you Netflix, Amazon, and my DVD season sets).

I know you all can understand my level of excitement when the Revival was announced. They’re back! Mulder and Scully are back!  They’ll be in our homes, on our TVs, back in our lives for all too brief and wonderful a time. We get them for 6 episodes. It’s unbelievable.  It is a gift that we fans should HUMBLY accept and bear the weight of the responsibility it entails.

As Philes, we have a long history to protect and uphold. We started “Shipping,” for crying out loud! Together with our show, we’ve been thrust into the digital and social media age. Do any of you remember the internet forums back in the 90’s? When SPOILERS was a thread you had to click into to read? How about waiting for the STAR TRACKS section of People magazine to catch a glimpse of David or Gillian out and about? Well, now all of that info is available 24 hours a day – we need only reach into our back pockets. Social media has changed everything, for better or worse.

Through social media, I’ve met some truly passionate and talented Philes. I LOVE my experience with the folks involved in The X-Files Global Rewatch and TheXFiles201Days (If you’re missing this, it’s a blast! Join us tonight! We’re on Season 2, episode 18: Fearful Symmetry). Live-tweeting an episode is like a nightly slumber party with your friends who all happen to be diehard X-Philes. It is a beautiful thing that should not be missed.

Having said this, I’ve also come across some truly alarming things. Case in point, I was scrolling through my feed over lunch and came across the heat that was thrown at an actress who not two days ago posted an adorable picture with our two leads on the set. Not unlike any of the other co-stars who have posted pictures from the set. They’re excited and proud to be part of the XF team. Who wouldn’t be?! We should be happy for them and excited about these rare glimpses into the making of our favorite show.  So when this same actress posts a picture of herself on Instagram and tags a co-star, she gets verbally attacked? It’s bullying, Philes, plain and simple. It’s wrong on so many levels, and we’re better than this.  This fandom, who’s worked tirelessly to keep the X-Files alive and who is ever as deserving of comfort from “Don’t Give Up” as Mulder and Scully are, is better than that. We should be welcoming new co-stars into the fold, not grabbing proverbial baseball bats and gearing for a fight. Which none of us would do, btw, if we were dragged out from behind our smartphone and computer screens.

I challenge all of us to this mantra: What Would Mulder and Scully Do?

Dana Scully: our Queen. She made smart sexy. She’s the woman who spent over 10 years proving that a woman can be both strong and feminine. She proved to all of us that it is indeed possible to survive the boy’s club. She’s the inspiration to so many women out there to pursue the sciences and any other traditionally male-dominated profession. Scully was, and is, always on the side of the victim.

What would she say if she read the attacks on that actress?

Fox Mulder: Defender of the innocent, ESPECIALLY women and children. He’s the man who never gave up looking for his sister. The man who spent every day for the better part of 10 years working alongside a beautiful woman who he never objectified. He dubbed her “Scully” within seconds of meeting her in order to make her feel welcome and part of his team. Scully, a woman, became his best friend and touchstone.

What would he say if he read the attacks on that actress?

What would their actors say about this verbal abuse?

 We have a responsibility as fans of our show. The creators, writers, and actors are all doing their part to bring it to life for us in January. Our job is simple: Love our show. We can do our part to keep the excitement alive — participate in the rewatch, await behind the scenes pictures and magazine spreads and squeee! when cast members tweet each other (and us!), and we can do so humbly and peacefully.

We’re a good fandom, an old fandom, and new Philes and cast members deserve to see us as such. The X Files was a gift, and the Revival is the best kind of surprise. We need to do our part to keep it fun for all involved – fans, cast, and creators. After all, doesn’t seeing them happy make us happy?

mulder scully

I mean, LOOK AT THEM!!!!

Please, fellow Philes, stay calm, hang in there, and let’s keep it peaceful through January and beyond!

Mulder and Scully are The Truth,

River T. Leaman