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FEATURE ARTICLE: THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO THE X-FILES


Haven't watched a single episode of the X-Files yet? Or just the occasional episode or two? Afraid you'll be completely lost while watching the new big screen X-Files movie? Then don't fear - with The Sci-Fi Movie Page's Beginner's Guide to the X-Files you'll get the rundown on who's who and what's what in this popular TV show.

So here's all the basic information you'll need so as not to be completely lost while watching the movie:

THE GOOD GUYS

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FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder
Mulder (he's never called Fox) saw his older sister being abducted by aliens right from in front of him as a ten-year-old boy. Needless to say this sort of experience somewhat colors one's adulthood, so Mulder joined the FBI where he was put in charge of the X-Files. The X-Files are basically a collection of cases that was never solved by the FBI - such as Mulder's sister's disappearance for starters and usually involves all kinds of unexplained and paranormal phenomena.

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FBI Special Agent Dana Scully
Scully (in the X-Files universe everybody names each other by their surnames) was appointed by her superiors to debunk the work and assumptions of Special Agent Mulder. Having a sound scientific training as a medical practitioner, she seemed the ideal choice for this task. Nicknamed "Spooky" by his colleagues, Mulder is the believer (in UFOs, extraterrestrial, the supernatural, etc.) in the whole equation whilst Scully is the skeptic. But after having witnessed too many unexplained events (such as being kidnapped by aliens herself), Scully needless to say isn't such a skeptic anymore - so now she and Mulder makes quite a unique team even she still provides the "scientific" analysis of whatever happens in the show.

THEIR RELATIONSHIP
A unique team? How unique? Well, despite being quite a hot couple they have never so much as kissed in the entire television series, never mind jump into the sack! (Gillian Anderson who plays Scully is often dubbed "the thinking man's sex symbol" - don't be fooled by those conservative clothes she wears, man, she is HOT!) So the key concept that explains their relationship is "strictly platonic".

OTHER GOOD GUYS

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The Lone Gunmen
Supplying both comic relief and important bits of information are the Lone Gunmen. Playing like the Marx Brothers (both Karl and Groucho!) they are a trio of paranoid renegades who often supplies Mulder with key bits of information.

POSSIBLE GOOD GUYS

In the quintessentially 'Nineties universe of The X-Files it pays off not to trust others. The following characters may or may not be "good guys". Chances are that they are merely following their own agenda (which isn't necessarily the same as Mulder and Scully's) or may be in the pay of the bad guys. So who knows?

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FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner

Mulder and Scully's boss. Is he to be trusted? Do you trust your boss? In earlier episodes his loyalty to our intrepid FBI heroes was questionable, but in later episodes he seems to have turned into a friend. Or has he?

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The Various Informants

Pouncing from the shadows at opportune moments usually dressed in trench coats, the various informants in the show serves the same function as the anonymous crew members of the Starship Enterprise who beam down to alien planets: they are usually expendable.

The X-Files has played like a Biblical epic drenched in the blood of lead characters - usually the informers' blood. In fact, one scene had a dying informant write cryptic words in his own blood while lying in the hallway in front of Mulder's apartment! (Fans of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books might be gratified to learn that Mulder stays in apartment number 42.)

Supplying Mulder and Scully with hints and tips, they always seem frustratingly unwilling to supply the two agents with any definite information. The main informant in the movie is a Dr. Kurtzweil (played by Martin Landau) who may or may not know more than he is willing to let on. Informants may or may not be in the pay of the bad guys.

THE BAD GUYS

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The Syndicate
The chief bad guys are a group known simply (and ominously) as the Syndicate, a group of international government insiders and businessmen. The main conspirators are portrayed by (left to right) John Neville as The Well-Manicured Man, Armin Mueller-Stahl as Conrad Strughold and William B. Davis as The Cigarette-Smoking Man.

THE CONSPIRACY

The bad guys are obviously up to something - but what exactly? It would seem that there is a plot underfoot involving aliens, ex-WWII criminal scientists and experiments on human subjects. However, the odds are that we are talking global Armageddon stuff here . . .

In the impossibly vague smoke and mirrors world of The X-Files, there are many theories on what is exactly happening. But you don't have to sweat any of that - X-Files cases are seldomly solved and that is part of the show's appeal.

COMPLICATIONS

Mulder's father was in with the Syndicate. That is, until wracked by guilt, he decided to tell Mulder everything. He was however killed by an assassin sent by The Cigarette-Smoking Man (dubbed Cancer Man by fans because of the proclivity to light up wherever and whenever). Why don't they simply kill Mulder? In the "Unopened File" episodes of Season Three it was revealed that Mulder has dirt on the Syndicate which could destroy their well-laid plans. But this isn't a very good explanation of why the Syndicate is tolerating Mulder. Cancer Man and Mulder's father were both friends and colleagues. Some of this had led to speculations that Cancer Man has been protecting Mulder because - wait for this - he may be Mulder's actual father! As yet, there has been no "I am your father, Mulder" type of revelations. . .

MORE COMPLICATIONS

The Syndicate may be in cahoots with fellow alien conspirators, but they don't trust the aliens it would seem. Nor do they trust each other as well! So expect some members (such as Cancer Man) to be possible good guys in disguise. The Syndicate could be good guys themselves (despite their underhanded tactics) and trying to outwit their alien co-conspirators. Who knows?

Confused yet? Now you're ready to go watch the X-Files movie . . .


 



 

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