Gillian Anderson Is Leaving 'The X-Files" & It's OK To Cry

One of TV's most iconic characters is reportedly hanging up her flashlight for good. According to a new TV Insider interview, Gillian Anderson is leaving The X-Files after Season 11. There's no word on whether or not the series will continue without Anderson's Agent Scully, but series creator Chris Carter told TV Insider that the Season 11 finale is not meant to be a series finale. That being said, it's hard to imagine The X-Files without Scully. Anderson has starred in 11 seasons and two feature films for the sci-fi franchise, and her skeptic character is an essential part of the formula.

However, Anderson has every right to move on from Scully if that's what she chooses to do. She's been playing Scully on and off since 1993, which means she has devoted a large portion of her career to a single character. There's no denying that Dana Scully is one of the great TV characters, but an actor as talented as Anderson is always seeking out new challenges as her performances in series like The Fall and America Gods demonstrates.

This isn't the first time that Anderson suggested Season 11 would be her farewell season. She previously announced the news in October at the New York City Comic-Con, and it doesn't sound like she's changed her mind. Anderson told TV Insider,

"I've said from the beginning 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."

It's too bad Carter doesn't seem to feel the same way, because Anderson seems committed to the idea of giving Scully a proper sendoff. "Given the importance The X-Files had in people's lives, it's great to have one more opportunity to end on a high," Anderson said in her interview.

Whether or not the Season 11 finale serves up an ending to the series, the new season is set to answer some of the fans' biggest questions — namely, what happened to Mulder and Scully's son William? Previews also suggest that Mulder and Scully will be discussing their relationship, and maybe even delving into what went wrong between them romantically.

Ultimately, The X-Files may never be able to tie together the numerous loose ends of its mythology, but if the upcoming 10 episodes can do right by the characters, then Scully may get a proper ending after all. No matter what happens, nothing can change the impact that Scully has had on pop culture and the numerous fans who were lucky enough to have a determined, scientifically-minded career woman to look up to.

Scully once asked the psychic Clyde Bruckman how she would die, and he wisely answered, "You don't." That Season 3 moment seems prophetic in retrospect, because no matter what the future holds, Scully's legacy is forever. And as for Anderson? Well, she's not going anywhere either.

Anderson is currently playing Media in Starz's American Gods, and The Fall Season 4 isn't out of the question. She's also set to appear in the The Spy Who Dumped Me and Andorra — with or without Scully, her dance card is looking full. While it may seem a bit blasphemous, this news may be for the best. Anderson deserves to take on as many different roles as her heart desires, and when it comes to Scully, every story has to end eventually.

When The X-Files Season 11 begins airing Jan. 3 on Fox, you should prepare yourself for the very real possibility that this might be Mulder and Scully's last chance to discover the truth. That's a bittersweet reality, but if Anderson is truly saying goodbye to Scully, then here's hoping the character has an ending befitting TV's coolest fictional FBI agent.