In 2018, after 25 years, 218 episodes and two movies, The X-Files came to an end. Agents Mulder and Scully concluded their quest for ‘the truth’, having investigated countless aliens, monsters and shadowy government conspiracies.
But how did The X-Files end? In this post I explain how the show ended, which long-running characters lived, and who died.
What happened in the final episode of The X-Files?
The X-Files ended with the 218th episode, My Struggle IV. In My Struggle IV, Mulder & Scully search for Scully’s son, William.
William is supposedly the key to saving/ending the world. During the course of the episode, Mulder & Scully learn the truth of William’s existence – that he is a product of science and that he is not the result of their union.
The shadow conspiracy that threatens the existence of the human race is also shut down, at least in its current form, and the episode ends with Scully indicating that she is pregnant with Mulder’s baby. As fans bid farewell to the agents, Mulder and Scully face a more hopeful future with a new (non-supernatural) baby on the way.
Do Mulder & Scully die in The X-Files finale?
No, both Mulder & Scully survive the events of My Struggle IV.
Does The Cigarette Smoking Man die in The X-Files finale?
Yes, or at least it appears as though he is dead – The Cigarette Smoking Man has a way of cheating death.
In My Struggle IV, Mulder shoots The Cigarette Smoking Man numerous times in the chest, before his body falls into water.
Does William die in The X-Files finale?
No. William is shot in the head, but this does not kill him. At the end of the episode, William is seen to have survived the shooting.
Does Walter Skinner die in The X-Files finale?
Yes – it appears as if he does die, although Skinner’s death is not confirmed. The Cigarette Smoking Man runs Skinner over with his car and he is left for dead.
Does Alvin Kersh die in The X-Files finale?
No. Alvin Kersh makes an appearance in My Struggle IV, but he does not die. His fate is left open-ended.
Does Monica Reyes die in The X-Files finale?
Yes. Walter Skinner shoots Monica Reyes in the head, killing her instantly. Prior to her death, Reyes had been working with the Cigarette Smoking Man.
Does John Doggett appear in The X-Files Finale?
No. John Doggett (last seen in the Season 9 finale, The Truth) does not appear in My Struggle IV. The character is not even mentioned.
Does Alex Krycek appear in The X-Files finale?
No, Alex Krycek does not appear in My Struggle IV.
Krycek was killed in the Season 8 episode, Existence, before the character made one final ‘dream-like’ appearance in the Season 9 finale, The Truth. The character did not return to the series beyond this story.
Do aliens invade in The X-Files finale?
No. There is no alien invasion in My Struggle IV.
The alien conspiracy storyline was concluded at the beginning of Season 11. Aliens no longer pose a threat to the human race, it is humanity that is the biggest threat in The X-Files.
Is My Struggle IV the final episode of The X-Files?
Yes. At the time of writing this post, My Struggle IV is the final episode of The X-Files and it looks unlikely the show will return.
Could The X-Files continue after Season 11?
My Struggle IV concludes with an open ending, allowing for further episodes and/or movies should the series ever be revived. However, actress Gillian Anderson has previously made it clear that she will not return to the role of Agent Dana Scully should the show be brought back again.
Speaking to TV Insider in December 2017, Anderson said: “I’ve said from the beginning (of Season 11) this is it for me. I was a bit surprised by people’s (shocked) reaction to my announcement… because my understanding was that this was a single season.”
David Duchovny has indicated he is open to return for more episodes, should he be asked, but he is also happy to leave The X-Files where it is.
Does The X-Files conclude in a satisfactory way?
This is completely subjective, depending on what you expect from a series finale. Could a 25-year-old series ever conclude in a satisfactory way?
It’s also important to remember the show has concluded three times now!
Here’s a reminder of the show’s three endings:
The first ending
When the show finished its original run (Season 1-9), many of The X-Files’ ongoing story arcs (The shadowy conspiracy, the search for Mulder’s sister etc) were wrapped up. The Truth was the show’s first ‘ending’ and for all intents and purposes, the series was done.
The second ending
A second ‘ending’ came in 2008 when The X-Files was revived as a movie – The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
During the course of the movie, Mulder & Scully are drafted back into the FBI to work on a case. It is indicated that the characters have a somewhat strained relationship, but the film has an open ending, suggesting Mulder & Scully just continue on in a similar state to how we find them.
This second ending doesn’t upset the status quo too much. In essence, the movie is just another case for the agents to solve.
The third ending
The X-Files was revived in 2016 for a 10th season, which in turn led to an 11th season. These two seasons set up new story threads, but these threads were wrapped up by the end of Season 11 and a new finale was introduced.
Is the ‘third’ finale definitive? No.
This ‘third’ finale creates more of a resting point to the series rather than a definitive conclusion, but it does allow for Mulder and Scully to simply move on with their lives. It is then up to fans to decide what happens next – but the most likely outcome is that Mulder & Scully move away from the FBI, and spend time watching their (as-yet-unborn) child grow up.
Thanks for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post. I hope this information on The X-Files has proved useful.
For related posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.
- Thoughts about The X-Files finale
- The X-Files: Closed for good?
- What are the best episodes of The X-Files?