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“X-Files” Creator Says He Faced Pushback from Studio After Casting Gillian Anderson: 'Where's the Sex Appeal?'

Though it's "ancient history," series creator Chris Carter claimed that Fox wanted a "bombshell type, ideally someone like Pamela Anderson"

<p>Michael Lavine/Fox Network/Everett Collection</p> Gillian Anderson on

Michael Lavine/Fox Network/Everett Collection

Gillian Anderson on 'The X-Files'

Though Gillian Anderson became a huge success on The X Files, Fox allegedly had a different Anderson in mind when casting the role.

The sci-fi series' creator, Chris Carter, opened up about the casting process for the original cult classic and how the show's network had different ideas about who should land the role of leading lady.

Anderson and David Duchovny starred as FBI special agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, respectively, in the beloved series, which premiered in 1993 on Fox, before bowing out after nine seasons in 2002.


Related: Mulder and Scully! Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny Have a 'The X-Files' Reunion

When Carter cast Anderson and Duchovny for their iconic roles, the actors were both relatively "unknown." While going over his old audition roles, Carter recalled wrote a simple "yes" under Duchovny's name.

“For Gillian I wrote ‘Test,’" he told Inverse. "Which means I wanted to take her before the studio and the network."

Though it's "ancient history," the series creator claimed that Fox wanted a "bombshell type, ideally someone like Pamela Anderson" to take on the role of Scully and pushed back on casting Anderson.

<p>Vinnie Zuffante/Getty; S. Granitz/WireImage</p> Gillian Anderson (left) in 1993 and Pamela Anderson in 1993

Vinnie Zuffante/Getty; S. Granitz/WireImage

Gillian Anderson (left) in 1993 and Pamela Anderson in 1993

Related: David Duchovny Doesn't Mind His Kids' Indifference to 'X-Files' Fame: 'I'd Rather Be Impressed and Proud of Them'

“Where’s the sex appeal?” Carter recalled of what executives told him in their meeting. “Even though Gillian's beautiful, she wasn't their idea of sexy. First, because they didn’t understand what I was trying to do with the show. And she was an unknown, so that never helps.”

PEOPLE has reached out to Fox for comment.

After fighting hard for his picks in Duchovny and Anderson, the network eventually conceded and the duo landed their big breaks. They went on to appear in The X Files feature film spinoffs in 1998 and 2008, before returning for a two-season revival, which ran on Fox from 2016 to 2018.

Related: From Ryan Reynolds to Kathy Griffin, 15 of Our Favorite 'X-Files' Guest Stars

In 2018, Anderson announced that she was done playing Scully, after her character was unceremoniously written off the final season of the revival.

"It's time for me to hang up Scully's hat. It just is," she said at the time. "I'm finished and that's the end of that."

<p>Merrick Morton /Fox Network/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny on 'The X-Files'

Merrick Morton /Fox Network/Courtesy Everett Collection

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny on 'The X-Files'

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Her decision came after she previously called out season 11's all-male writing team in a statement shared to X (formerly known as Twitter.)

"I too look forward to the day when the numbers are different," she said, pointing out that only two of the 207 episodes in the original series were directed by women.

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