‘The X-Files’ Star David Duchovny Reveals He Almost Turned Down Playing Mulder

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Shane Harvey/TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection

It’s been nearly 30 years since The X-Files first debuted on Fox, and it’s hard to picture anyone else but actor David Duchovny in the iconic role of FBI Agent/believer Fox Mulder, but it was almost a possibility.

During the actor’s recent participation in Rob Lowe‘s podcast, Literally! with Rob Lowe, Duchovny revealed that he almost passed on The X-Files pilot when he was initially offered the part of Agent Mulder. At the time of the sci-fi show’s humble beginnings, Duchovny was supposedly set to appear in what he describes as “this movie of the week.”

“It was a director who I was friendly with, and I was going to have to…pull out of that part to do The X-Files pilot,” Duchovny explained to Lowe. “I said to my agents, ‘I don’t want to do that. You know, she’s a friend, and I don’t want to pull out.'”

While Duchovny admitted that the pilot was decent, he wasn’t entirely sold on the premise. At the time, the actor wondered “how long can it go?” when it came to the extraterrestrial subject matter. “I wasn’t interested in conspiracy theories,” he noted. “I was perfectly willing to just say, ‘I’m going to have to pass on that pilot because I said I’d do this other project.'”

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(Credit: Michael Lavine /TM and Copyright © Fox Network. All rights reserved./ Courtesy Everett Collection)

Luckily for fans, Duchovny’s agents persuaded him to take the role. He’s grateful that they did. “You talk about actors being dumb…well, that was me.” The rest was history as Duchovny’s Mulder appeared alongside Gillian Anderson‘s Dana Scully from 1993 through 2002, for the series’ original run, and later reprised their roles for an additional limited-run revival which aired from 2016-2018.

Stream all 11 seasons of The X-Files on Hulu