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.

“For Gillian I wrote ‘Test,’ which means I wanted to take her before the studio and the network,” Carter explained. A reasonable person would take a very Dana Scully approach to that bit of news and assume the studio wanted to see more before casting a person with very few film or TV credits as the co-lead of their new series.

But Carter wasn’t dealing with normal people. In fact, he was dealing with creatures even weirder and more disturbing than those he would put on his show. He was dealing with television network executives.

“Where’s the sex appeal?” Carter remembered them asking. “Even though Gillian’s beautiful, she wasn’t their idea of sexy. First, because they didn’t understand what I was trying to do with the show. And she was an unknown, so that never helps.”

In fact, executives had a very specific person in mind, a person named Anderson but with a different career than Gillian. In a 2007 interview with The Times, Anderson recalled, “They didn’t want bigger actresses, they wanted more of a Pamela Anderson type. You know, breastier … It wasn’t just breasts. It was taller, leggier, blonder, and breastier. The whole works.”

Obviously, Carter’s choice won out and the rest is history. The X-Files became a hit, with Mulder and Scully always at the center. Well, except for that time when Doggett and Reyes took over for a bit, with the former played by Robert Patrick and the latter played not by Pamela Anderson but by Annabeth Gish.

Now, with a new X-Files reboot in the works from Ryan Coogler, it’s time again to wonder what kind of actor should raise logical questions about the most illogical cases. But that’s not Carter’s problem.

As he told Inverse, the matter of casting his leads is just “Ancient history.” Or maybe the better phrase would be “case closed.”

The post The X-Files Almost Had a Very Different Dana Scully appeared first on Den of Geek.

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