Yeah, yeah, we know the truth is out there — but will we actually get any of it on Feb. 25 when The X-Files picks up the story of Agent Mulder's apparent abduction? After all, the character, played by David Duchovny, disappeared last spring, and viewers have been led to suspect he's being held hostage aboard an alien spaceship.

"We will figure out what's happened to Mulder — to an extent," X-Files creator Chris Carter tells TV Guide magazine, on sale now. "There will be a most shocking discovery, one we think cannot be happening — but it is." The installment also boasts revelations about Agent Doggett (Robert Patrick) and the arrival of a new FBI sleuth, Monica Reyes, played by Annabeth Gish, who may become a regular next season. That is, if there is a next season.

The Lone Gunmen, a spin-off about Mulder's three technonerd pals, takes the X-Files timeslot (Sundays, 9 pm/ET) for three weeks starting March 4. How 20th Century Fox (which produces both shows) and Fox TV choose to nurture Gunmen will help Carter decide if he'll do another year of X-Files.

"You're talking to a person that got burned on Harsh Realm," says Carter of his 1999 series, which Fox axed after three episodes. So far, he is underwhelmed: "I think the studio and the network don't really know what the hell we're doing [with Gunmen]. They don't understand three unlikely, geeky heroes being leads in a show."

Duchovny is not expected back for another season, but has agreed to do a second X-Files film. So May's two-hour season finale "will be a cliffhanger either for next season, if we return, or for the movie," says Carter. And don't expect a happy delivery for mom-to-be Agent Scully (Gillian Anderson). Instead, Carter warns, the pregnancy will be "a subject of serious consequence."