A few weeks before The X-Files season 11 writers’ room was open for business, I had the opportunity to sit down with X-Files executive producer Glen Morgan on the set of his Amazon anthology Lore. The self-described historian explained that often the root of his ideas for X-Files episodes back in the day came from science newsletters and magazines. Morgan and his writing partner James Wong would then turn those nuggets into some of the scariest stuff on television at the time.
Though Morgan was coy about the specifics during the interview in his Lore office, he dropped a few hints. Mulder and Scully would go on the run, an ode to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest. Morgan and I discussed our fondness for Black Mirror, to which he bashfully said he didn’t think he could live up to. Those inspirations led Morgan to season 11’s “This,” which combined a contemporary sci-fi concept with real-life projects like the NSA’s Titanpointe building in New York to create a digital afterlife that might be just as scary as any of the monsters he’s made bump in the night.
Morgan, who wrote and directed “This,” took some time to answer our burning questions on the episode. And, like all of us, he still just wants to know what is going on with William.
Den of Geek: Did you originally envision the episode as a standalone? At what point did you decide it would incorporate major puzzle pieces in this season’s mythology?
Glen Morgan: I figured it would be a half and half that would bridge from the first mythology episode into the more stand alone episodes to follow. Chris placed Barbara’s character into “My Struggle III” after we pitched each other our stories and gave “This” a stronger mythology feel.
Having the Ramones blasting in the background of the cold open shootout was awesome. Was there any significance behind that music selection other than Langly’s love of classic rock?
The Ramones are the greatest creation in the history of Human life on Earth. Starting the episode with Dee Dee’s “1-2-3-4” declared that “This” means business.
The Lone Gunmen were pretty close to each other. Did Byers and Frohike also make it to the cloud?
IMHO, Frohike should’ve been assassinated by CSM at the end of “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man.” Only Langly made it to the simulation because he had seen The Ramones and thus was rewarded.
The concept of cloning and uploading a person’s consciousness is very Black Mirror-esque. Was that part of the inspiration?
I admire Black Mirror a great deal and its insights into our present and future relationship with technology is an inspiration. I had followed the theory of computer simulation for some time. It would take a season of TV do to the discussion justice.
The intelligence community has changed big time since the show left the air and it’s been fun seeing the show poke at that. Where does the FBI stand right now in The X-Files? With executive orders out, would they have even been able to do anything if Erika Price and those servers were still in the building?
To answer this question would assure my assassination by dark forces within our government and I have to find out if William is really Smoking Man’s kid.
For more on “This,” Den of Geek deputy editor Chris Longo joined The X-Files Declassified radio show. Listen below: