After facing (rightfully) harsh criticism for its complete lack of female writers and directors on the upcoming season of The X-Files (including from star Gillian Anderson), it was revealed over the summer that two female directors and three female writers had joined the latest installment of the revival. However, the recent hires don't change The X-Files' long history of gender inequality behind the camera — something creator Chris Carter hopes fans won't hold against the long-running Fox drama.
"The show is 25 years old, so you're really speaking about the past to the show," Carter told TV Guide at New York Comic Con on Sunday, responding to the much-cited fact that only two out of the first 207 episodes were directed by women.
Carter went on to explain that when they made the original series, which ran from 1993 to 2002, the expectations — and more importantly, the barriers — when it came to gender equality were much different than the world we're living in now, where there is an active push for better representation both on- and off-camera. "I had originally tried to hire a female director of photography on the show in 1993 and they wouldn't let me," Carter revealed. "So there were impediments to women working in my business then that there aren't now."
Although Carter did insist The X-Files is "currently trying to live in a more diverse world," that doesn't change the fact that the two seasons of the revival were written and directed almost entirely by men. And while the series did hire five women to write and/or direct on Season 11, Anderson knows there's still a long way to go before inclusivity becomes the norm, rather than a news story, but she's grateful for the conversation the recent controversy surrounding The X-Files has inspired.
"I think it's an important conversation that is finally happening on a much bigger scale than it ever has. And I think that Fox is attempting to step up to the plate, certainly in terms of racial diversity everywhere, particularly in casting," Anderson told TV Guide.
The actress, who has repeatedly had to fight for equal pay to co-star David Duchovny, noted that there is a "learning curve" when it comes to these things, but she's cautiously optimistic about where this may lead. "Some shows are devoting 50/50 female hires and being quite adamant about that being something that they will stick to," Anderson said, pointing to her other gig, American Gods, as an example. "We'll see where the conversation leads and whether it's a trend or it actually sticks, but it's good that it's out there."
The X-Files will return to Fox in 2018.
Additional reporting by Keisha Hatchett