To fans of any of 1013’s hit shows, Frank Spotnitz requires no introduction. In time honoured fashion, it is customary to proceed to give one once those immortal words have been uttered but allow me to make an exception. Introduction aside, it was Frank Spotnitz who, probably unwittingly, gave rise to this campaign. His prophetic prediction that ‘the time is near’ prompted the Millennium Fan Community to wear their hearts on their sleeves and exercise their voices on paper. Of all 1013’s luminaries Frank Spotnitz is an extremely busy man, yet finds time to give back to the fans as much as he receives and this interview was no exception. We thank Frank for somehow finding a window in his busy schedule and taking the time to talk to us.
BACKTOFRANKBLACK: Firstly, on behalf of all the fans of Frank Black and Millennium, may I offer our thanks and gratitude for taking the time to talk to us. In 1998, production on the X-Files moved to LA and Millennium remained in Vancouver. As a writer and producer on both shows did that present a challenge and result in a hectic production schedule or did business continue as usual?
FRANK SPOTNITZ: It was a challenge, to be sure, but not as big as the challenge we’d faced the previous year, when we not only launched Season One of “Millennium,” but produced Season Four of “The X-Files” and “The X-Files: Fight the Future.” That was by far the most difficult year of my professional life. Fortunately, when Season Two of “Millennium” began, Glen Morgan and Jim Wong agreed to take over showrunning duties, which eased the burden enormously for Chris and me.
BTFB: Millennium fans consider the franchise beyond compare and during our correspondence with the cast and crew many have echoed the sentiment that their contribution to the show represented some of the finest work of their careers. What was it about the show that allowed so many individuals to deliver such a high quality work output?
FS: I think you’d have to say it begins — as it did with “The X-Files” — with Chris’ singular vision. There was such a clear and powerful idea at the center of the show and, like “The X-Files,” that clarity allowed a lot of very talented people to come and elaborate on it, taking the show in directions I’m sure Chris never imagined. I think “Millennium” benefited and suffered from being in the shadow of “The X-Files” — suffered, because the network was doubtless disappointed that it never achieved the popular success of “The X-Files,” but benefited because Chris’ success with “The X-Files” gave “Millennium” a lot more creative freedom than it would’ve had otherwise.
BTFB: At the conclusion of Season Three, we believe, the issue of cancellation was not immediately decided. If this was the case, were plans afoot for a fourth season and what do you believe was the direction the show would have taken during the season?
FS: Yes, we were all on pins and needles, hoping the network would decide to proceed with a fourth season. It seemed awful to us that the show would be canceled before it even had a chance to reach the turn of the millennium. Chip Johannessen and Ken Horton were really driving the series at that point and had a lot of ideas they never got to realize.
BTFB: Millennium fans have existed as an organized concern ever since the conception of the franchise. One thing this campaign has necessitated is for our community to bring its existence into the spotlight with the same vigour and commitment displayed by our friends in the X-Files universe. Has it been pleasing to discover that such a body of passionate fans exists?
FS: It’s wonderful to see how many people still watch and appreciate the series.
BTFB: During our conversations with Lance Henriksen he has echoed our own sentiments that, whilst the goal of this campaign is clear, we are flexible in what we consider a successful return of the character. Should the Movie prove unattainable would you consider exploring other avenues such as television movies, direct to DVD instalments, audio book adaptations etc. in order to give the fans more of their hero?
FS: That’s really Chris’ call, but I would support whatever Chris and Lance wanted to do.
BTFB: Both Chris Carter and Lance Henriksen have hinted that ideas have been discussed about the format a Millennium Movie might adopt. What type of story do you envision, would it return to the mythos of the TV show or concentrate on Frank devoid of the trappings of his televisual backstory?
FS: We haven’t really discussed what Chris would want to do, but I suspect it would have to serve new audiences while at the same time honoring the fans who’ve championed it all these years by recognizing and continuing Frank Black’s journey.
BTFB: Millennium fans were delighted to see Frank Black make a brief cameo in the X-Files comic that is currently on release. You have stated that the comic is a way for you to explore aspects of the X-Files mythology that you were unable to expand upon during the course of the show. Would you like the opportunity to explore Millennium in a similar manner?
BTFB: You have hinted at two new TV shows that are currently in development, one of which is with NBC. Is TenThirteen related to either of these projects and when should fans expect to see them unveiled?
FS: The projects I’m doing are solo. But I look forward to working with Chris when and if he’s so inclined.
BTFB: Thank you so much, Frank, for taking the time to speak to us!