News broke last week that X-Files star Gillian Anderson was initially offered half the pay as David Duchovny. The sexist Fox scandal is surprising and not surprising. Female leads have historically been offered a fraction of the pay of their male counterparts. This is the norm in the film and TV industry despite female actresses having just as much screen time, working just as hard to look screen-ready, and being all around badass. Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully is no exception to this.
For those interested in some more details on Fox’s idiocy, The Mary Sue published a rather on-point article.
Now X-Files fans know there’s no show without Dana Scully. Without Scully Mulder would just be a lunatic rambling on about UFOs, and all the other paranormal stuff he believes in. Chris Carter, the series creator, took a female character and made her a pinnacle of the show. The X-Files 1993 pilot actually starts with Dana Scully walking into the Division Chief’s office at the FBI. At first Scully’s brought in, as all fans know, to debunk the X-Files with scientific fact. Ever the skeptic, she decisively shuts down all of Mulder’s wild theories. In The X-Files Scully puts the ‘science’ in science fiction. Yet, at the end of the pilot Special Agent Scully can’t logically explain half of what she’s witnessed in small-town Oregon. What makes Scully interesting, as a character, is how she’s developed over the course of the show. Mulder will always play as the radical, irrational, loud guy who believes in aliens. Scully will always play as the calm, intelligent, badass who autopsies corpses like a pro. New and interesting facets also get added to Scully like how she rediscovers her Catholic faith, or how she discovers her desire to have children. All of these things not only change Scully as a character, but also play into the plot of the series.
In The X-Files revival, the first episode feels like a return to the pilot. The show opens with the usual call to the X-Files mythology, continues with the iconic opening credits (complete with beloved theme music), and finally the story starts with Dana Scully. Scully is in her scrubs, readying to assist in an important surgery when she’s once again called to action by the FBI. Much like the skeptic fans know and love, Scully continues to question what Mulder throws at her. This includes everything from Sveta’s claim as alien abductee, to Tad O’Malley’s government conspiracy theories. Only with Scully’s drive for scientific confirmation can her and Mulder get to the real truth. The X-Files revival does a good job at setting up the series again, and really it feels like going back to square one conspiracy-wise. The series will bring back William Scully, and this is a serious step forward in finally solving the mythology component of the series.