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Why Gillian Anderson Is Leaving The X-Files

It's time to say our final goodbyes to Agent Dana Scully.

If you've been keeping up with the television news world lately, it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that Gillian Anderson is exiting the beloved sci-fi series The X-Files after the current season (season 11) comes to an end. The actress twice confirmed her departure, stating that she has "said from the beginning this is it for me," and that her "understanding was that this [the revival] was a single season."

Now, we have a bit more insight into the circumstances that spurred Anderson's decision.

Speaking during a panel as part of the Television Critics Association's press tour (via Deadline), Anderson explained that there's so much she hopes to do moving forward, and The X-Files was, in a way, keeping her from doing those things. "There's lots of things I want to do in my life and in my career," the actress said. "It's been an extraordinary character, but there's lots of things to do and I don't want to be tied down doing one thing."

Anderson also reiterated her belief that the X-Files revival was a one-and-done project and not something new in and of itself. "It wasn't suggested that now is a new series," she stated. "But I'm serious. I'm finished."

So, how does Anderson feel about walking away from a character she first started playing way back in 1993? "I'm not sure how to answer that," the star admitted." "That's a good question."

When Anderson initially announced her intent to turn in her FBI badge for good, she spoke about why she agreed to reprise her iconic role for season 11. "It felt like it wasn't over. It didn't feel like we necessarily deliver[ed] everything the fans were expecting of us last time, and so it was that," Anderson said, adding that she couldn't give a definitive answer on her feelings about never playing Dana Scully again. "You may need to talk to me in a few years about that once I finally shut the door. You know, there's always been this may[be] one more thing hanging over, but when the door is finally shut, call me up and ask that question again," she noted. 

The X-Files creator Chris Carter recently addressed Anderson's choice to go her own way, revealing that he's never thought about the series without the actress in it. "The show has always been Mulder and Scully. So the idea of doing the show without her isn't something I've ever had to consider," Carter wrote during a Reddit AMA, in which a fan asked if he would still be "interested in continuing the show beyond the new season without Gillian Anderson."

We'll most definitely have to savor Anderson's Scully while she's still on the small screen. Thankfully, season 11 of The X-Files is currently airing on Wednesdays on FOX.