The Best 'X-Files' Episode Never Made Ended Up a $666M Horror Franchise

The Best 'X-Files' Episode Never Made Ended Up a $666M Horror Franchise
Image credit: Legion-Media, globallookpress

An episode idea turned into far more than had initially been intended.


  • One of the most popular horror franchises began as an idea for The X-Files.
  • It received mixed reviews but was a box office hit.
  • It wasn't the first work Jeffrey Reddick submitted to New Line.

This franchise has grossed over $666 million worldwide. There's no doubt that it's one of the most innovative supernatural horror series out there, even if the folks at Rotten Tomatoes don't seem to be big fans of it.

It received mixed reviews

Despite being praised for its fresh approach to the genre and well-constructed death scenes, Final Destination's scores on RT are a bit of a mixed bag. The lowest score on the site is reserved for Final Destination 4 (2009), which was actually the highest grossing film in the series, pulling in over $186 million.

Final Destination (2000) was only slightly higher with 36%. Final Destination 2 scored 50%, 3 scored 43% and 5 was the most popular with a score of 63%. Metacritic shows largely similar scores.

Maybe it was just a little too experimental for some fans. The idea of death manifesting itself as opposed to the typical slasher movies that were popular at the time was something the cinema world wasn't quite ready for. But would the concept have worked as an episode of The X-Files? Arguably, yes.

The X-Files was a groundbreaking show when it came out in 1993, and it became known for pushing boundaries when they were still pretty much respected on TV. The adventures of Mulder and Scully were ideally placed for the time, being just on the right side of believable while taking viewers on some pretty hairy rides.

The success and longevity of the show suggests that had it been an episode of The X-Files, the premise of Final Destination would have been a fan favorite. Maybe even the best episode ever.

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Why wasn’t it used on The X-Files?

That is a good question. But it seems that New Line Cinema saw something in the script that made them believe it could stand on its own.

It was Jeffrey Reddick who conceived and wrote the X-Files episode that became the Final Destination franchise. Not that he intended it to go that way.

Reddick wrote the script in an effort to get an agent. It wasn't the first time he'd pitched his work to industry executives. At the age of 14, he sent a 10-page idea for a prequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street to New Line Cinema.

They returned it unread, citing a policy of not accepting unsolicited material. But Reddick was undeterred. He later became an intern at the company, which gave him a route into screenwriting. And his persistence paid off when New Line accepted his idea for an X-Files episode. Instead of making it part of the show, they teamed Reddick with two of the X-Files writers and set the wheels in motion for what would become a successful movie franchise.

The Background to the series

Reddick said the idea for the episode/series came to him when he read a story about a woman whose daughter asked her not to take a flight home because she had a bad feeling about it. The woman complied, and the plane she was supposed to take crashed.

The idea of Death actually taking umbrage at being defeated and setting out to take the lives it missed was the seed for the original movie, in which Nick O'Bannon (Bobby Campo) had a premonition and set out to save his friends.

Of course, when he wrote it, Jeffrey Reddick had no idea what it would become. But it's always nice to see someone's dream come true. And he'd had it since he was 14.