Although the first installment of the revival received lukewarm reviews, that's no reason to be anything but hopeful for Season 11, which consists of 10 episodes (up from Season 1's 6) that will see Mulder and Scully investigating a slew of interesting new cases -- and potentially reviving that undeniable spark between them! But that's not the only reason to be excited about The X-Files' return. Here's everything you need to know about Season 11.
It will likely be Gillian Anderson's last. The X-Files star revealed in October that she plans to leave the series after the upcoming eleventh season. "I think this will be it for me," Anderson said at the time. Of course, it's always possible that Anderson will change her mind down the line, but we wouldn't count on it.
Mulder and Scully may get back together. After breaking up Mulder and Scully in the hiatus in between the original series finale and the revival, creator Chris Carter may finally give fans what they want: Mulder and Scully back together! At this year's New York Comic Con, the creator teased that the duo gets "kissing close" in Season 11, and with Anderson's tenure on the drama likely coming to an end, we can't imagine Scully riding off into the sunset without Mulder by her side.
The events of Season 10 will cast a long shadow. Whether or not you liked the mythology of Season 10, which saw the world falling apart after the deadly Spartan Virus was released, the storyline will play an important role in the season ahead.
The season premiere, written by Carter, will reveal how Mulder was cured of the alien virus that was on the verge of killing him in the Season 10 finale and how Scully is now the one who is in danger. In the first look photo of the season, we see that Scully is now the one in the hospital and Mulder looks healthy as ever. Trust us when we say you'll never predict how this exchange of fates will be explained, but it's a doozy -- and one that will set Mulder and Scully down the path of their latest adventure.
It will be a family affair. As the first trailer for the new season revealed, the return of Mulder and Scully's son William is imminent. Chris Carter confirmed that William will play a "pivotal role" in the upcoming episodes after not being seen since Mulder and Scully gave him up for adoption to the Van De Kamps in Season 9. Anderson also revealed to TV Guide that the search for their son will bring Mulder and Scully even closer, but there's still no word yet on how close William and his parents will be if and when they eventually reunite -- or even if William is one of the good guys or not. Even as a child, William always had immense powers, so it'll be interesting to see how he chooses to use those forces now that he's a teenager.
And of course, it wouldn't be a proper Mulder-Scully family adventure without Mulder's dear ol' dad, the Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis). The season premiere will unveil more layers of the CSM's backstory, as well as unraveling his complicated relationships with Mulder, Scully and William, whom the CSM is just as invested in as the intrepid agents.
There's a powerful new player in town. Barbara Hershey (Beaches, Once Upon a Time) will recur as Erika Price, the leader of a mysterious organization that Mulder and Scully will find themselves at odds with. However, there is also no love lost between this clandestine group and the show's O.G. big bad, the Cigarette Smoking Man, so Mulder and Scully will have to navigate between these two powerful and opposing forces without losing their integrity (or their heads) in the process.
Some favorite writers will return. Glen Morgan, Darin Morgan and James Wong will all write new episodes. Darin Morgan is best known for penning "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" as well as "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster," which was easily the best episode of Season 10. Together, Glen Morgan and James Wong are responsible for writing classic episodes like "Squeeze" and "Home."
After being the subject of intense backlash regarding the complete lack of female writers and directors on the new season, Fox also announced that two of the episodes will be written by women this year: Karen Nielson will handle one, and Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin will co-write another. This season will also feature two female directors, which automatically doubles the number of episodes directed by women in the series' 200-plus episode run.
We'll learn a much-needed origin story. Mitch Pileggi will return as Walter Skinner, and this time you can expect to see a lot more of the FBI director. In fact, one episode will even be dedicated to exploring Skinner's backstory, where we'll get to learn all about young Skinner's life before he began working with our favorite believer and skeptic.
However, as details surrounding Skinner's past become clear, parsing through his intentions in the present are far more complicated. When Mulder and Scully find themselves caught in the crossfire between Erika Price and the Cigarette Smoking Man, they also find themselves questioning where Skinner's true loyalties lie.
It will be jam-packed with familiar characters. In addition to Pileggi and Davis, we'll also see Annabeth Gish as former FBI agent Monica Reyes, Veronica Cartwright as Cassandra Spender, Chris Owens as Jeffrey Spender and Dean Haglund as Langly, who was last seen sacrificing himself alongside the other two Lone Gunmen in Season 9. The new season will also see the return of Season 10 actors Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell, who will reprise their roles as FBI agents Liz Einstein and Kyd Miller, respectively.
Get ready to meet a slew of new faces too. Haley Joel Osment will appear in the Skinner-centric episode in an unknown role, and comedian Brian Huskey (Veep) will appear in the fourth episode, which is a hilariously meta, comedic hour about The Mandela Effect written by Darin Morgan. No word yet on potential casting for William, but we're keeping our eyes peeled for any gifted young teens.
It will be mainly monster-of-the-week episodes. The 10-episode season will be bookended by mythology-heavy episodes with standalone episodes in between. These middle episodes will have slivers of the ongoing storyline woven throughout to tie the whole season together, but will primarily be monster-of-the-week fare, which should be welcome news to fans who only got one truly memorable standalone episode last season. Although the premises for many of the episodes remains unknown, we do know that the third episode will be focused largely on deadly doppelgangers, while another episode will see Mulder and Scully on the run in the show's unique take on North by Northwest.
Mrs. Peacock will return -- kind of. Karin Konoval, who starred as the matriarch of the inbred, cannibalistic family in "Home," will return for the first time since the horrifying Season 4 episode. However, Konoval won't be reprising the role of Mrs. Peacock. Instead, she'll be taking on multiple roles in one of the season's earlier episodes. We don't know if it's possible for any of Konoval's new parts to be half as scary as Mrs. Peacock, but we'd love the series to prove us wrong.
The X-Files returns Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 8/7c on Fox.