The X-Files Chronology is an attempt to chronicle all of the episodes in the show's nine seasons, as well as all the books, adaptations and comics that were released in the years the show was on the air and since, along with its two spinoff shows, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen.
A strong attempt has been made to keep as accurate as possible to the dating found in the shows itself, and, when not possible, to estimate as closely based on surrounding evidence. There have been contradictions and mistakes made along the way, of course (as the producers are as fallible as anyone else). Where possible, I have sought to reconcile continuity gaffes concerning dates and have provided the reasoning behind certain decisions.
As to the question of "canon," it should be noted that all of the spin-off material, including the books, comics and video games were commissioned and approved by Chris Carter (the video games were even scripted by him). As per his wish, the majority of these offshoots have been kept consistent with the chronology and mythology of the show (which, like the show, also suffers from occasional dating errors). Only the 2014/15 comic book series, Seasons 10 and 11 contain apocryphal material that contradicts the series Season 10, and this has been noted. Wherever possible, stories that can be retconned have been.
To my knowledge there is no other timeline available which details the placement of all these materials, and thus the reason this chronology was born.
I have written brief episode summaries, and just for fun, also included a code for the basic themes of each episode, be it the Alien/Conspiracy (which makes up the main mythology of the show), werewolves, bugs, serial killers, cults or shape-shifting transvestites...
Including Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
The Lone Gunmen
11/14/16 Season 8
At long last, Season 8 is complete! This was a difficult season to date because of the real-life events surrounding Duchovney's indecision as regards whether he'd stay or leave the show, which led to the unusual way in which the season was written and filmed, and some mistakes on their part. Mulder's abduction period is now understood, and fits within a reasonable nine-month pregnancy for Scully, who conceived in mid-May 2000 and gave birth in mid-February 2001. Mulder was abducted at the end of May and found dead at the beginning of October 2000. He came back to life roughly three months later in late December. The understanding of these two factors allows us to place the dates of other episodes correctly.
Update: Season 9
The season with the least amount of clues as to specific days and months, Season 9 is essentially complete, though in many cases, the year alone was all that was made available, with guesstimates for the months in question. There are two concrete month dates provided, the first two episodes, which make it clear it takes place immediately after the final Lone Gunmen episode, "All About Yves," in mid-May 2001, and 9x04: "Hellbound," which is on March 13, 2002. The season spans a little over a year from 2001 to 2002, with the movie taking place five years after that.
The timeline for Millennium is complete, including the three seasons, which take place over the course of seasons 6 and 7 of The X-Files, and the recent comic-book miniseries, which takes place during the X-Files season 10.
11/6/16 Season 8
Work has finally begun on getting dates for The X-Files Season 8. I still have some work to do plotting the remaining dates for Millennium, which I hope to get to at some point, while progress on Season 8 and The Lone Gunmen, which takes place during this season, will take place over the course of the next few weeks.
At long last, I've begun to add dates for the Chris Carter spinoff series Millennium. There are some date anomalies. See "Dating the X-Files and Millennium" below.
Thanks to David O'Neill for pointing out that the Season 10 and 11 comics, particularly the conspiracy-related ones, cannot be made to fit within the context of the Event Series. While the monster-of-the-week stories are salvageable if the dates are ignored, the William Gibson story arc, along with the crossover series, has been relegated to the Parallel Dimensions section underneath the main one in Season 10.
I've added the episode number above the production number because I found having just the latter was confusing to people (who were mistaking it with the episode number), particularly after season 3 when the production number no longer necessarily reflected the episode number. So, I find it's better to include both, and this way fans can view the three different pieces of information:
1. The order in which each episode aired.
2. The order in which each episode was produced.
3. The order in which each episode takes place.
When 1 and 2 differ, it's generally due to the politics of television and ratings. Production factors, such as cost and availability of locations often dictate the second. The third is determined by the writers when crafting the season, and is in my opinion the most interesting way to watch the show.
2/24/16 Original Date Order Update
For Season 10, I intended to keep the original production order for the show intact. F0x had requested Carter to change the order for broadcast. While the first, third and sixth episodes remain in their originally intended order, the original second episode ("Home Again") has been broadcast as the fourth. The original fourth episode ("Babylon") has been broadcast as the fifth. The original fifth episode ("Founder's Mutation") has been broadcast as the second. In other words, the episodes (using the currently broadcast episode numbers) were originally intended to be seen as follows:
1. My Struggle
4. Home Again
3. Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster
2. Founder's Mutation
6. My Struggle II
The blu-ray will most likely conform to the broadcast order. Carter apparently added and excised some dialogue to make the broadcast order work, and claims it's fine this way. But for purists, it's helpful to know what the original intent was. Because of the dialogue changes, it doesn't work well to have "Home Again" come second, as "Founder's Mutation" now works better in that slot.
To stave off confusion for those who only watch the show, but don't read the books or comic-books, I've decided it makes more sense to consolidate the two IDW comic-book series, called "Season 10" and "Season 11," along with the upcoming television season, "Six Episode Event" into what is more properly called Season 10. While this doesn't entirely solve issues of confusion, particularly due to IDW having named their current series, "Season 11," it does eliminate needless clutter. All three projects, the two IDW series, as well as the "Six Episode Event" are short and basically cover a period of two years. It's unfortunate that IDW chose to title their second comic-book series "Season 11," instead of just continuing to call it "Season 10," particularly since it wraps up the storyline from their first series, but it's even more unwieldy to call the "Six Episode Event" season 12, or to consider it anything other than the 10th season of the show.
Whether IDW's "Season 11" will properly lead into the "Six Episode Event" remains to be seen, and there are yet questions as to whether it will be left in canon, or overwritten. Time will tell.
I've also decided to move the second film, I Want to Believe, to the end of Season 9. In at least one way--the Mulder/Scully relationship--it caps off the series. If the IDW comic-book series serves as a lead-in to the 10th season of the X-Files, it should result in the (admittedly controversial) breakup of Mulder and Scully's romantic relationship, which is how the 10th season of the upcoming television show establishes things.
11/30/15 201 Days of the X-Files
The X-Files official Facebook page has been releasing fan-art for their 201 Days of the X-Files marathon. There's some really cool illustrations that I've archived here. You can click on any episode in the first six seasons and see that season's page of art and imagery. I've also added a page for the upcoming season, which is being called a "Six Episode Event" rather than Season 10. I have to admit, I'm glad they did this, as it eliminates any confusion with IDW's recent comic-book series, Season 10 and Season 11 series. Of these six episodes, we know only that the first and last are Mythology episodes. The rest are monster-of-the week standalone episodes.
8/27/15 Titles for the Upcoming TV Season
While we don't yet know what they're numbering the upcoming season (since the canonical comic-book series were called Season 10 and Season 11), or whether they're adding a subtitle to The X-Files name, we now know the names of the individual episodes, and they're quite intriguing!
Episode 1- "My Struggle"
Episode 2- "Home Again"
Episode 3- "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster"
Episode 4- "Babylon"
Episode 5- "Founder's Mutation"
Episode 6- "My Struggle 11"
8/12/15 Season 10 and Trust No One are Complete!
Season Ten has been added, along with the X-Files Annual 2014, X-Mas Special, Year Zero and Conspiracy miniseries (which is non-canon) have all been added to the timeline. All the stories from the anthology The X-Files: Trust No One have also been added! Also wanted to give a shout-out to X-Files fan Rusty Hausmann for giving me a gentle nudge towards updating this site. Thanks Rusty!
8/7/15 The X-Files Chronology has Moved... and there are updates!
Hard to believe, but yes, the X-Files Chronology can now be found at its own site, under the URL www.xfilestimeline.net. I've also added Season 10, stories from the Trust No One Anthology, which take place in various seasons, updated each entry with publisher info, and better clarification (and room) and made other minor cosmetic adjustments. A proper update at long last! I still need to add Seasons 8 and 9, which I may do for now by simply listing the episode names and numbers. When I get to those seasons again as I begin to rewatch the show, I'll be sure to jot down dates and continuity notes.
3/24/15: A New Season!
Those of us who wanted to believe had our faith rewarded with today's announcement of a new six-episode season of The X-Files! Duchovney and Anderson are onboard, but no word yet on appearances of Mitch Pileggi (Skinner), the iconic team who played the Lone Gunmen, or even Dogget and Reyes (yes, they have their fans). Would love to see them all back. In the meantime, check out Season 10 of the X-Files, now being released in quite good-looking graphic novels. How this series--which Carter has acknowledged is canon--will relate to the upcoming television season isn't known. Also no word yet on the blu-ray set, which will hopefully be released as a complete season set.
Update 7/8/13: Best Laid Plans...
Season 10 of The X-Files is now being released in comic-book form, and is supervised X-Files creator Chris Carter, so, yes, this is the official continuation of The X-Files saga! Season 10 takes place a short time after the last film. Despite best intentions, I won't be updating this site with Seasons 8, 9, 10 and The Lone Gunmen until the new blu-ray boxed-set is released in the coming year (no release date as of yet), as I've been too busy working on non-X-Files related projects (this and this), but I am committed to updating and completing this timeline, and expect to return with some updates during the latter part of the year.
Update: Seasons 7 and 8 and The Lone Gunmen are forthcoming. There are some chronological issues which make dating the final two seasons of the X-Files difficult at best, and which requires me to make another viewing (which is not a problem as I enjoy the show's last two seasons).
Dating the X-Files and Millennium
The dating of this timeline is based on internal, external and subjective chronological interpretations, and is sometimes based on scant and otherwise absent information. At times, the producers themselves altered established dates (such as Scully's abduction) to give a more accurate interpretation of events (or perhaps for their own nefarious purposes). These updated figures are what I've shown, although original dates are noted as well.
I've made every attempt to stick to as accurate a historicity as is possible based on the internal evidence presented in each episode or its adaptations. Help in the form of Official Guides and the CD-Rom program Unauthorized Access (listed as UA) have been utilized.
Two series of X-Files novel adaptations were released, a 1995 and a 1997 series, as well as several comic-book adaptations. I've indicated the differences in the listings. I have also indicated trade paperback collections and reprint editions of comic book titles for the sake of completists, or for those looking for the simplest means of locating the stories.
Note that while I have tried to avoid placing any episode after its airdate (or publication date) for obvious reasons, this has not always been possible. The X-Files strives hard to present its supernatural events in as realistic a setting as it can. For the events of a show to take place after the air-date would prove quite a paradox! Nevertheless, there are incidences in which this occurs, for instance, the epilogue of "The Erlenmyer Flask" which is definitively dated twelve days after that episode aired, and Gethsemane (4x24), which takes place five months after its airdate. Granted, we all recognize that the show is fiction. Nevertheless, for any fictional setting to work there is a necessary suspension of disbelief which must occur on the part of the audience. This is the reason authors and filmmakers have taken to utilizing fictional devices to pretend their works were not just something they created from their imaginations but something they discovered (or uncovered as is the case here). L. Frank Baum, Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, and others have all utilized this device to good effect.
There is a good fix which allows the necessary suspension of disbelief and which explain the dates occurring after the show has aired or even right up to the airdate (which given how long it takes to film an episode of a TV show would be unlikely). While viewers could argue they're watching documentary footage, filmed by person or persons unseen, I believe a better understanding is available. The Pilot aired in September 1993, but was provided with a base date for the events: 3/6/92. This date is confirmed in later episodes and seasons. Yet immediately following this episode, events suddenly jump to the summer of 1993 with no explanation as to what transpired in the previous year. More significantly, Mulder and Scully behave as if they're new partners. A strong indication that something is amiss occurs in the dialogue and internal events of later shows and seasons which suggest that the Pilot (and thus the start of Mulder and Scully's partnership) occurred on 3/6/93, one year later than the given date. This, of course, is based on the assumption that the later episodes take place in the years they claim to. But what if they're not? What if the 1992 date is correct and all the show's later dates are off by one year?
Setting all of the show's dates (following the Pilot) back by one year not only reconciles the problems between the Pilot and Season One, but fixes all of the later statements (such as Scully asserting several times in various episodes (particularly Season 4 and 5) that she and Mulder began working together "four years ago"). Essentially, this then allows for one year for the events of each episode shown to have "actually" occurred in "real life." It allows Chris Carter and his writers to get their hands on classified FBI documents and turn them into scripts which they film and air. The Truth is out there, and it's being disseminated to you, the discerning X-Files viewer!
This also helps unravel Millennium's date anomalies. With the start of Season 2, Frank Black and the Millennium Group's computers provided a countdown to the new millennium that would begin on Jan 1, 2000. This gives viewers a running chronology, beginning in the first episode of the second season "The Beginning and the End," as September 19, 1997. But herein lies the problem. That episode follows immediately from the first season's final episode "Paper Dove," in which Frank's wife Catherine Black is abducted. That episode aired on May 16, 1997. To say that it took place in September would mean that the events happened over four months after we witnessed them!
My postulation is that the computer dates that countdown to the millennium are provided for viewers, but don't accurately reflect when the events "actually" took place, which at the very least had to be a year prior. This explains other discrepancies within the show.
While I could set all the dates back a year prior, I think that could prove arbitrary and would only add to the confusion for viewers, particularly in Millennium, wherein the second season provides a running chronology with almost each episode. As most viewers have forgotten the airdates, they don't see the discrepancy of episodes taking place after the airdate (as do those of us who study these things). So as to not cause needless confusion, I've stuck with the timeline dates that appear closest to the show's internal ones, and have moved the Pilot episode of the X-Files to the 1993 date. Because we don't have accurate "real" dates for most of these stories, but only a rough guesstimate, it makes sense to simply follow the official story in most cases.
Within this fictionalized context a question arises as to why the conspirators hadn't shut down the shows or demand the Fox Network cancel them, but perhaps they were allowed because they knew it simply wouldn't be believed. Then again, the X-Files, Millennium and the Lone Gunmen were all cancelled... Thus, for those of you who want to consider when these events might "actually have occurred," set all those dates back at least one year ... and Trust no one!
The X-Files are sometimes mistakenly viewed as just a show about monsters and UFO's, conspiracy theories and spooky legends come to life. Indeed the sci-fi, horror and dramatic elements are what make the show enjoyable to watch (that and the fine performances of the actors, the excellent production values, the well-written stories and first-rate directing). But beneath the surface is where the heart of any artistic endeavour lies and there the truth can be found. For The X-Files is really a show about the search for truth and the snare of deception; the deception perpetrated by the government on its citizens for power; the deception individuals perpetrate on each other to get away with things, and the deception we play on ourselves in order to see what we want to see. In stark contrast to these dark elements are the show’s heroes, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, two characters who deeply care about the Truth and are willing to risk life and limb to find it. Their courage, integrity and willingness to fight unknown and oftentimes sinister forces to unveil the shadows of deception are what make them heroes and what elevates the series above its genre trappings to make it not only the best television has ever had to offer, but a true classic in its own right.
Mulder can be described as a man ‘looking for the truth in all the wrong places.’ The tragedy of losing his sister, coupled with his drive to find the truth behind her abduction and his intellectual brilliance make him the prime candidate to become a pawn in a vastly larger game, a scheme put in place by powerful manipulative forces solely concerned about their own Machiavellian agendas. Mulder is the ‘believer’ of the show, the one who accepts alternate, highly controversial and sometimes genuinely crazy ideas as explanations. This willingness to believe the unbelievable is both his strength and his tragic flaw for it’s the very tool his enemies use against him.
Scully, of course, is the balance. The practical one; a scientist and doctor who trusts in the known and established facts. Yet, she's also the more spiritual of the two, deeply faithful and concerned about the morality and ethics of a situation. Coupled with her own keen intelligence and ethical scruples, she serves as the perfect complement for Mulder, figuratively reining him, in as well as providing him with an anchor to the real world. Yet despite these outward differences, the two share a common bond that is both profound and rare: they care about the truth. They also care about each another. Theirs is a partnership built on respect and trust, a friendship that is both refreshing and surprising due to its platonic nature, but a relationship that transcends that of most television (and real life) couples. This too serves as a double-edged sword as it places upon them a vulnerability, a weapon to be used by hidden enemies in ever unfolding covert agendas.
Mulder and Scully can be seen as representing the viewer; the seeker and the skeptic; the believer and the doubter; the idealist and the pragmatist. Beset by a host of lies, counterfeits and conspiracies, they are in essence the forces of Good struggling to understand and weave their way through the web of dishonesty, even if at times it's only themselves they tangle in the spider’s lair. Yet even then, it is because they have turned themselves into martyrs for Truth. Their struggle matters, and the fact that they continue to fight and seek answers in the darkest corners elevates them to a higher and more noble plane. Regardless of failure or success, they are survivors and winners, for no hero is ever truly lost. And because of that willingness to exert the effort, to take the journey, to sift through the shadows for answers, they are–combined–what we ourselves can be…
The X-Files is about much more than monsters and aliens and government conspiracies and things that go bump in the night. Those are just the fun aspects of it. In probing the themes, one finds that The X-Files really represents the search for God; the struggle to attain enlightenment; to trust and rely on others outside ourselves; and the need to continually fight against the leering whisperers in shadow, to identify falsehood, injustice, cruelty, greed and hate in the powers-that-be, opposing the purveyors of darkness in whatever shape or form choose to confront us.
Be sure to head to your local comic-book shop for the official (Chris Carter produced) Season 10 of The X-Files, which takes place a short time after the film The X-Files: I Want to Believe. As noted above, I will be incorporating this new season, along with the last two, and the few comic-book miniseries that appeared along the way, before the end of the year. Stay tuned...
Another update, this time in regards to my adding listings of the recent three-volume trade paperbacks by Checker. In the process, I also reformed the way the "Adaptations" column appears, differentiating between reprint (as in another comic reprint) and trade pb (trade paperback) to make it easier to understand what's being listed. Unfortunately, Checker stopped with volume 3, yet another trade paperback series that failed to complete collecting the entire run, or even all of the rarities. Note, that this three volume series continued where the older trade paperbacks, The X-Files Collection and The X-Files Collection Vol. 2 left off. Those two were published by Topps and went up to issue #12. Checker's Volume 1 picks up at #13.
Also, keep in mind that on November 17th, Wildstorm is releasing the trade paperback of the excellent recent series,The X-Files issues #0-6, which I bet a lot of you missed in its initial run. This is great mini-series, written by two of the shows writers, and featuring the best artwork an X-Files comic has ever received. Definitely grab this one!
I haven't updated this site in some time. That's no reflection on my love for the show, but rather my lack of time and a heavy involvement with other things. Well, it was time to do something or let the site become fully dormant. And Chris Carter's show deserves better. So here are some minor site updates. I've added a new section. Since the latest film isn't part of a season and takes place six years after the close of season 9, I've simply called it The Future. And yes, the future is now and up to 2012, which we all hope will see the third X-Files film in theaters.
I've also added Wildstorm's new comics, which unfortunately only ran seven issues. But they were good issues, four of which were written by the show's regular writer Frank Spotnitz (and the other three by comics veterans Marv Wolfman and Doug Moench). Dating these comics is problematic. Four of the six have no discernable dates, though the first two have a clue that they probably take place prior to Season 6. Two of them, however, issues 3 and 4, place the date in 2009 (though the month and day of the week don't match in that year). Issue 0 makes the same mistake. Unless Mulder and Scully are back to being FBI agents working on X-Files cases, this has to be a mistake on Spotnitz's part. Anything's possible, of course, but until I learn otherwise, it seems suspect to me. Nevertheless, the six issues were great and expertly illustrated by Brian Denham. Update: In fact, in the back of issue #0, author Frank Spotnitz specifically says the series is meant to take place in the past, roughly between seasons two and five. If so, then we have to ignore the dates (external and internal placements) that place the stories in 08 or 09.
And as you can see, I added this 'latest news' section. I'm not yet sure if it warrants its own page yet (let me know what you think), though I certainly will try to do a better job of updates than before. As you can see, I still haven't done anything with Seasons 8 and 9 (and The Lone Gunmen series), and unfortunately I won't be able to for a little while yet (at least until I finish the book I'm writing). But it does remain a goal.
Finally, my short and sweet thoughts on the controversial film I Want to Believe. First off, it was not a summer blockbuster kind of film (unlike the first) and should've been released in the Fall when a more pensive, brooding film might better have been received. I enjoyed its somber tone, as well as seeing where Mulder and Scully's relationship had gone. As many have said, it was like an extended episode of the series, one of the standalone ones, and that was both its strength and weakness. With its small budget, it came across to many like a slightly mysterious cop drama, with a twist. I think, however, that fans and critics were perhaps expecting something more... out there. I noticed the unfavorable and rather bigoted gay subtext, which depicted the ruthless and sick villains as gay and transgender. That was unfortunate and beneath Chris Carter and everyone involved in the film. That side, I think the film will be seen in a better light over time. Its issues of faith and science were beautifully juxtaposed. Billy Connelly is simply brilliant, as are Duchovney and Anderson. Probably my biggest disappointment was not seeing the Lone Gunmen, and I know I'm not alone in wanting to see that they survived after all. They're just TOO cool to kill off. Maybe the next one will reveal they're alive and well.
Till next time, signing off. Trust no one!
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