Whatever Happened To The Cast Of The X Files?

"The X Files" premiered on Fox in September 1993, centering around two FBI special agents assigned to investigate odd and paranormal cases the bureau would all but cast aside, unofficially written off as hoaxes. Throughout the series, we follow Special Agents Mulder and Scully as they investigate paranormal oddities, a great majority surrounding alien encounters and abductions. It wasn't long after the premiere that it became evident that along with Mulder, the viewers too, "wanted to believe" — so much so that the series' success spawned two feature-length films, a spin-off, and a two-season continuation of the series 15 years after its initial finale. 

While Mulder and Scully's investigative findings often ended with faith and speculation, it's fair to say there's hard-core proof in the truth that viewers couldn't get enough of this show. While there are no current plans for further seasons, viewers often wonder what the cast has been up to since hanging up their FBI badges. The truth is out there; we'll be looking at what the award-winning cast is up to today.

David Duchovny/Fox Mulder

Special Agent Fox Mulder — portrayed by David Duchovny — made his career his life-long work. With an infallible zest to search for the truth about extraterrestrial life, Mulder was driven into near obsession, working long hours in the basement annex of the FBI headquarters. His unusual passion for the paranormal and antisocial tendencies quickly earned him a poor reputation among his peers, with the nickname "Spooky" bestowed upon him throughout the FBI halls. Still, viewers were instantly drawn to this protagonist and rooted for him to find answers in his quest for the truth.

Regarding his time playing Mulder, Duchovny reflected with Vanity Fair (via YouTube). "At that time ... a TV actor was like a second-class citizen ... I didn't want to get wrapped up in a TV show." However, when he saw the show's success, he recalled, "I want this show to win, I want this show to keep going." Since packing up his "I Want to Believe" poster, Duchovny stayed on television and starred in Showtime's hit comedy/drama "Californication." This role would lead him to win his second Golden Globe award.

Gillian Anderson/Dana Scully

Special Agent Dana Scully — portrayed by Gillian Anderson — was assigned to be Special Agent Fox Mulder's investigative partner, primarily to keep him relatively quiet and in check as he embarked on his quest to find the truth. Grounded in science and fact, Scully served as the perfect counterpart to Mulder, as she'd often challenge his beliefs with medicine and science to back her claims. Scully would eventually soften to Mulder's ideas, and soon enough, viewers were rooting for the romantic dynamic of this odd partnership.

Anderson, a long-standing advocate for industry pay equality, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter regarding her departure from the show. "I had a good couple of mini breakdowns during that, and at the end, could not talk about it, could not see it, could not see pictures, could not. I needed to immerse immediately in theater in another country." She did just that and went on to star in theatrical plays in both New York and native London. Her most recent prominent credits include the role of Margaret Thatcher in Netflix's award-winning series "The Crown."

Mitch Pileggi/Walter Skinner

Assistant Director of the FBI Walter Skinner — portrayed by Mitch Pileggi — oversaw several units of the jurisdiction of the FBI, including the X-Files unit. Mulder and Scully would report their investigative findings, or often lack thereof, to Skinner. Skinner was typically plagued with having to spin their official investigative reports to better fit the FBI's standards, as well as explain their bizarre expense reports to the deputy director. Skinner's tolerance for Mulder and Scully's antics was met with well-earned sympathy from the viewers, and soon enough, he was a fan favorite.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Pileggi shared his gratitude for "X-Files" creator Chris Carter. "I owe a huge portion of my career to Chris Carter ... if he asked me to come back and play this character, I'd do it in a second," he said. Since "The X Files," Pileggi played a notable role on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," and also featured in hit shows such as "Supernatural" and "Sons of Anarchy."

Robert Patrick/John Doggett

FBI Agent John Doggett — portrayed by Robert Patrick — was assigned to be Scully's partner in Season 8 after aliens presumably abducted Mulder. Scully initially didn't take this partnership kindly, as she was bitter about the swift reassignment from the FBI, which provided little to no help finding Mulder. However, Doggett swiftly proved that he was not there to replace Mulder, and along with Scully, viewers relaxed into this new dynamic. Doggett would remain in the production as a recurring character until the finale.

Patrick has said he feels "blessed" to have had a long and healthy career in both films and television. "I've been able to play people with really great hearts. You know, genuinely good people and then some of the most ugly human beings ever," he shared with The Digital Fix. "I would have loved for The X-Files to have continued. That was my most beloved character, John Doggett. I loved playing that part." Patrick's other prominent television credits include "True Blood" and HBO's "Perry Mason."

Annabeth Gish/Monica Reyes

Special Agent Monica Reyes — portrayed by Annabeth Gish — was assigned to the X-Files unit around the same time as Doggett. Her quirky personality, new-age spiritualism, and disregard for the health detriments of smoking cigarettes clearly annoyed Scully. Still, the viewers couldn't help but be drawn to her Bohemian ways and sense of humor. Reyes would stay with the cast until the series finale and reprise her role in 2016 for the reboot.

Speaking with CBR, Gish reflected on her time working on "The X Files." "The fact that the show has left such an imprint upon multiple generations is a testament to its depth and breadth of resonance. It had science and mystery and faith and doubt. It had action and horror and love and yet a mixture that left much to imagine and desire," she recalled. Since the show ended, Gish has been able to keep herself occupied in her line of work, with television credits such as "The West Wing," "Sons of Anarchy," and "Pretty Little Liars."

James Pickens Jr/Alvin Kersh

FBI Deputy Director Alvin Kersh — portrayed by James Pickens Jr. — prided himself on hard work. A no-nonsense boss, Kersh was reluctant to let things slide — and especially Skinner's attempts at passing off Mulder and Scully's investigative work. A Marine and patriot to the country, Kersh led his agents to produce superior investigative reports grounded in truth: Words like "alien," "abduction," and "paranormal" weren't in his vocabulary. It goes without saying Kersh's promotion from assistant director to deputy director was mainly bad news for Mulder and Scully.

Pickens Jr. reflected on his time playing Kersh during a 2022 interview (via YouTube). "You never knew where his allegiance lied ... he never really knew how to read Mulder or Scully, so it set up this adversary relationship," he shared. After departing the show, Pickens Jr. wouldn't stray far from the limelight of award-winning shows. Arguably his most notable television credit to date is his long-term role as Dr. Richard Webber in ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," where Pickens Jr. would reunite with "X-Files" alum Mitch Pileggi for a few episodes.

Nicholas Lea/Alex Krycek

Sly and slick, Alex Krycek — portrayed by Nicholas Lea — would appear in multiple seasons. Introduced as an FBI peer and colleague of Mulder, viewers initially may have believed that Krycek had pure intentions. The speculation soon seemed far from the truth, as Krycek would eventually be seen running in the same circles as the men who sought to destroy all of which Mulder was working. Despite his shady behavior, this friend-or-foe character proved himself to be a fan favorite, as we were all but manipulated into thinking he ultimately had Mulder's good interests at heart.

"He's a little morally misguided, but he's doing what he thinks is right, even though it might not be," Lea told Eat the Corn. "Initially the duplicity of the character was exciting and I liked the chance to do two different things and now it's just fun because it's the character people love to hate." Since the ending of "The X Files," Lea would go on to earn television credits in shows such as "Once Upon a Time," "NCIS," and "Arrow."

William B Davis/Cigarette Smoking Man

Perpetually puffing at a cigarette in a dark alleyway while softly speaking threatening words, "Cigarette Smoking Man" — portrayed by William B. Davis — was arguably the show's main antagonist. Much like Krycek, his loyalty was often unknown. He'd often go to great lengths to disrupt Mulder's quest to find the truth, and it was widely speculated that he held all the answers for which Mulder spent his life searching. With apparent romantic ties to Mulder's mother, it was easy for Cigarette Smoking Man to manipulate and distort Mulder's perception.

Unlike his character, however, Davis is a spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society, per YouTube. With a history of losing family to cancer linked to smoking, Davis has made it clear that he doesn't condone the puffing behavior of his conniving alter ego. In addition to dedicating a portion of his life to this cause, Davis founded the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts' acting department. "Don't go to be famous," he stated via YouTube, advising all eager to enroll to consider their love for their craft above the pursuit of fame. In addition, he's written a book titled "On Acting ... and Life."

Bruce Harwood, Tom Braidwood, Dean Haglund/The Lone Gunmen

The loveable geek-tech trio comprised of Byers, Frohike, and Langley served as Mulder's only friends. Computer-hacking and tech-savvy, these "counter-patriot" conspiracy theorists often provided some much-needed comic relief to an otherwise dark setting. The trio — otherwise known as The Lone Gunmen" — was soon signed on for a short-lived spin-off with the same title, which was an apparent nod to the investigations of JFK's assassination. Though their spin-off didn't get much love from the network and viewers, the trio would then return for the 2016 reboot of the series.

Since the end of the show, the boys have kept themselves busy. Bruce Harwood, who portrayed Byers, has since collected television credits such as that on "Supernatural" and "Psych." Tom Braidwood, who portrayed Frohike, has primarily worked behind the camera in various television shows as a unit director. Dean Haglund, who portrayed Langley, has immersed himself in his art and hosting a podcast. Occasionally, all three will get together for fan conventions, such as Galaxy Con (via YouTube).

Sheila Larken/Margaret Scully

Margaret Scully — portrayed by Sheila Larkin — was a stoic and stern mother to Dana Scully. Though she had her daughter's best interest at heart, she couldn't help but periodically question her daughter's life trajectory as she would observe her steadily parting ways with her love of science and medicine, all the while growing closer to Mulder, for whom Margaret didn't much care. She would make a few appearances throughout the series and again during the reboot of 2016.

Larken has mainly stayed away from television since then. When asked what her dream role would be if she'd made a return, she shared, "Ideally, not to play the drama queen, to do something that is kind of kooky, and not a straight line. I never really got a chance to do that," she stated via YouTube. When asked about tips for up-and-coming actors, Larken shared, "Make friends with the producer, learn the casting person, send 'thank you' notes ... all the things I didn't do!" She then shared in the same interview that she has since retired from acting and now dedicates her time to practicing psychotherapy.