The X-Files Almost Had a Very Different Dana Scully

Who could play Dr. Dana Scully better than Gillian Anderson? Back in the 90s, Fox Executives had a wild idea.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files
Photo: FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

Yes, The X-Files became a pop culture sensation in the 1990s thanks in part to some of the best monsters in television history — the sewer-haunting Flukeman and the mutant Tooms just to name two classics. But even more than that, the show worked because of the repartee between its leads, steadfast believer Fox Mulder and his skeptical partner Dr. Dana Scully.

Each week, we tuned in to watch the duo trade barbs and philosophical ideas as well as flirt. We loved to watch the rumpled David Duchovny mutter hilarious observations while Scully, played to perfection by Gillian Anderson, raised important and skeptical questions. Part of the fun of the show came from the romantic tension between the two, even before a 1996 Rolling Stone cover blew everyone’s minds.

But if the Fox Network had had its way, the make up of the iconic duo would have been very different. In a recent interview with Inverse, X-Files creator Chris Carter recalls the casting process for the show. Duchovny, who has a memorable supporting part in The X-Files forerunner Twin Peaks, was an easy decision for both Carter and the network.

Even today, Carter’s casting sheet for the series reads “Yes” next to Duchovny’s name, according to Inverse. The note next to Anderson’s name reads slightly differently.


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