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As if there was any suspense about the supposed suicide of Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) in last season's finale of "The X-Files," it was removed here at a Fox Network party.

I didn't spot Duchovny, but many of the stars of Fox's most popular show were there and they are usually a rare sighting at these events because "X" is filmed in Vancouver.

They are sorely missed, too, because Fox's other big stars, Bart Simpson and Hank Hill, are tough to interview. The star getting the most attention at the party was Michelle Pfeiffer. She showed up with her husband, writer David E. Kelley, the creator of the new Fox lawyer series "Ally McBeal."

Pfeiffer's big revelation was that her favorite TV series isn't Kelley's "Chicago Hope" or "The Practice." It's "Rugrats," the cable show that makes life easier for parents.

All the attention that Pfeiffer received demonstrated the difference between a big movie star and a TV star in LaLa Land.

"The X-Files" will be making the leap from TV to the movie world next summer, which is why creator Chris Carter, star Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Skinner) and several other "X" actors were able to make the party. The theatrical movie is now being filmed in Los Angeles.

Duchovny's participation in the movie just about removes all doubt that Mulder is alive. Not that there was much doubt anyway.

Seated in a corner away from the loud music at the Derby in Los Angeles, Carter was initially surrounded by critics but the crowd died down later and I was able to talk with him alone. Asked why he would end the season with a story no one would buy, Carter said: "It still creates interest in the show. Which I think is what the cliffhanger has to do."

He said the first two episodes next fall will resolve the story. He has sketched out the entire season for one simple reason: He had to because the movie resolves the cliffhanger of the 1997-98 season.

"I had to work out the whole big picture before the movie (fifth season)," explained Carter. Will a non-"X-Files" fan be able to embrace the movie if he or she hasn't followed the investigations of the paranormal and unexplained phenomena with Agents Mulder and Scully for the past four seasons?

"Absolutely," said Carter. "I want a lot more people than watch the TV show to watch this movie. I think while it will be honest to the TV audience, the hard-core fans, it is going to be a movie that will stand on its own."

Of course, he's counting on the hard-core fan base.

"If half of the people who watch the TV show go to the movie, it will do OK," said Carter.

Naturally, he didn't reveal too many details other than how he is avoiding revealing details.

"My scripts are all on red paper that can't be Xeroxed," said Carter. "Everybody who has signed a script out has signed a confidentiality agreement."

The lies also are out there. Red herrings are being planted where "X" fans congregate.

"There is propaganda out there," said Carter.

Here's what he would confirm. Besides Scully and Mulder, the characters include Skinner, Cigarette Smoking Man and some other minor players in the series.

Among those starring in the film besides the TV cast include Martin Landau, Blythe Danner, Lucas Black ("American Gothic") and Terry O'Quinn ("Millennium").

"In the movie, I want to explode certain things," said Carter. I want there to be revelationsand things you wouldn't havelearned . . . "

When he said explode certain things, he wasn't talking about special effects, which have overwhelmed most theatrical movies this summer.

"Like with the TV series, I don't want the movie to be the reason to have big special effects," said Carter. "I want the effects I use to be a service to the 'X-Files' stories."

The plan is for the film to be about two hours long, to be rated PG-13 and to premiere either around Memorial Day or July Fourth of 1998.

Carter isn't concerned about whether the alien films this summer, including "Men in Black" and "Contact," will help or lessen interest in his film.

" 'The X-Files,' even when it deals with aliens, always has been about so much more that," said Carter. "I hope I'm making a good enough movie that people want to see it anyway."

He hasn't had much free time but he did find the hours to watch the Jodie Foster flick "Contact."

"I was entertained by it," said Carter. "It was well-done and the subject matter, of course, is of obvious interest to me."

He said working on the "X-Files" film won't delay the start of next season's "Files" because the baseball playoffs on Fox pushes the premiere back to mid- or late October anyway.

He has read the criticism that last season had too much gore but he doesn't believe that was the truth. "I think that's people looking for a hook," said Carter. "Really, the stories dictate the images, the images don't dictate the stories. I can't do anything too gross on TV, nor do I want to. If a story needs maggots in it to tell the story, you get maggots."

Carter did admit he made a mistake last year.

"I made a big mistake when I said I'll go to year five and then I may leave the show," said Carter. "I haven't ruled anything out. . . . I'm excited, I'm energized by what we're doing."

Anderson, meanwhile, didn't look quite as pleased as Carter as she sat in a seat across from him and had brief one-on-one sessions with critics.

As far as filming the movie during her hiatus, Anderson said: "It's unfortunate. I wanted to be working during this hiatus. But ultimately I would rather be doing a different character."

Does the fact that Scully has cancer trouble the actress emotionally or is she able to dismiss it as only television?

"Sometimes there are certain things I contemplate in order to get where I need to be, and that can be disturbing sometimes. And it certainly made me think of it in a way I never had to before."

Of course, I couldn't leave the party without asking the Cigarette Smoking Man about the episode in which he took credit for the Buffalo Bills' inability to win a Super Bowl.

"You believe everything," cracked actor William B. Davis, who plays CSM. "We don't know what in that episode is true. I find it hard to believe that the character is that interested in sports that he would fix a hockey game or a football game."

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