17 Future Stars Who Appeared on The X-Files

© 2002 FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY/FOX
© 2002 FOX BROADCASTING COMPANY/FOX

It didn’t take long for The X-Files to make household names of its stars, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, after its original premiere in September 1993. But take a look back at the beloved sci-fi series’ original run and you’re bound to see a lot more familiar faces.

1. BRYAN CRANSTON // PATRICK CRUMP IN “DRIVE” (NOVEMBER 15, 1998)

Thirteen years before he starred in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, Bryan Cranston starred in a sixth season episode of The X-Files with the same title. He plays Patrick Crump, a desperate man who has been infected with a deadly pathogen and takes Mulder hostage while Scully rushes to find an antidote. Though cast in the role of antagonist, Cranston quickly established his knack for balancing virtues with vices—a talent the episode’s writer, Vince Gilligan, recalled when he was casting the role of Walter White in Breaking Bad years later. “I worked with a lot of great people on The X-Files, but one of the absolute highlights was Bryan, and I knew I wanted to work with him again,” Gilligan told The Star-Ledger. “So when [Walter White] came along, I knew he had the chops.”

2. AARON PAUL // DAVID WINKLE IN “LORD OF THE FLIES” (DECEMBER 16, 2001)

After one-off roles on Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, and 3rd Rock from the Sun, Cranston’s future Breaking Bad co-star made a memorable appearance during The X-Files’ ninth (and final) season as the leader of a Jackass-like crew of pranksters who may have a monster-of-the-week among them.

3. JANE LYNCH // ANNE LOKENSGARD IN “LORD OF THE FLIES” (DECEMBER 16, 2001)

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Jane Lynch appeared in the same episode as Aaron Paul, playing the mother of Dylan Lokensgard, Paul’s frequent bullying target. But both Lynch and her on-screen son have a secret, which is the episode’s big twist.

4. AND 5. JACK BLACK AND GIOVANNI RIBISI // BART LIQUORI AND DARIN PETER OSWALD IN “D.P.O.” (OCTOBER 6, 1995)

Jack Black and Giovanni Ribisi played friends and video game virtuosos in The X-Files’ third season, one of whom may have learned how to harness the power of lightning. Mulder and Scully make their way to Oklahoma to investigate.

6. RYAN REYNOLDS // JAY “BOOM” DEBOOM IN “SYZYGY” (JANUARY 26, 1996)

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In season three, Ryan Reynolds made a brief appearance as a high school jock who learns the hard way that bad things can happen when you hang around with teenage Satanists.

7. FELICITY HUFFMAN // DR. NANCY DA SILVA IN “ICE” (NOVEMBER 5, 1993)

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Early on in the premiere season, Mulder and Scully are sent to Alaska to investigate the unexplained deaths of a team of geophysicists. They’re accompanied by a team of doctors, Felicity Huffman among them. In a very The Thing-like turn of events, it’s determined that someone in the group may have been infected by the same parasite that likely killed the team of researchers.

8. SHIA LABEOUF // RICHIE LUPONE IN “THE GOLDBERG VARIATION” (DECEMBER 12, 1999)

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Long before he trapped himself in an elevator in the name of art, Shia LaBeouf was a cute kid actor with some surprisingly sophisticated chops. In season seven’s “The Goldberg Variation,” he plays Richie, a sickly kid whose neighbor (played by Sex and the City star Willie Garson) endangers his own life in order to help pay for Richie’s medical bills.

9. BRADLEY WHITFORD // DR. DANIEL TREPKOS IN “FIREWALKER” (NOVEMBER 18, 1994)

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In season two’s “Firewalker,” Bradley Whitford plays the somewhat unhinged head of team of scientists who are studying the inside of a volcano. But weird things start happening after a former team member intercepts a transmission which shows the project’s chief seismologist being killed inside of the volcano, and a shadowy figure inside the cave with him (which would be impossible—at least humanly—given the uninhabitable temperatures).

10. LUCY LIU // KIM HSIN IN “HELL MONEY” (MARCH 29, 1996)

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A series of mysterious deaths in San Francisco’s Chinatown find Mulder and Scully (unsurprisingly) divided on exactly what's happening: Mulder thinks it’s paranormal, Scully thinks it’s the work of a cult. Their investigation leads them to Lucy Liu, the leukemia-stricken daughter of an immigrant the agents are looking to question.

11. JOHN HAWKES // PHILLIP PADGETT IN “MILAGRO” (APRIL 18, 1999)

Rumor has it that The X-Files creator Chris Carter had this sixth season episode written specifically for Oscar-nominated actor John Hawkes, and it’s easy to see why. His trademark ease in front of the camera—even when the script calls for him to rip out his own beating heart—can elevate any material.

12. BOKEEM WOODBINE // SAMMOM ROQUE IN “THE LIST” (OCTOBER 20, 1995)

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In The X-Files’ third season, Fargo star Bokeem Woodbine played a prison inmate who is keeping a list of the five people a recently-executed inmate promised to come back and kill after his death. His attempt to use the list as collateral for being transferred to another prison doesn’t work out the way he planned.

13. LUKE WILSON // SHERIFF HARTWELL IN “BAD BLOOD” (FEBRUARY 22, 1998)

In the same year that he appeared in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, Luke Wilson co-starred in what Gillian Anderson called one of her favorite episodes of The X-Files. “Bad Blood” was a comedic take on the very different perspectives of Mulder and Scully, most memorably seen in the way that Gillian Anderson saw the episode’s guest star versus Mulder’s view of him (as seen in the video above). Bonus points for Wilson being a vampire.

14. OCTAVIA SPENCER // NURSE OCTAVIA IN “MILLENNIUM” (NOVEMBER 28, 1999)

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Blink and you might just miss Octavia Spencer. Thirteen years before she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Help, the actress had a tiny role—playing a nurse, also named Octavia—in The X-Files’ seventh season.

15. SETH GREEN // EMIL IN “DEEP THROAT” (SEPTEMBER 17, 1993)

Seth Green guest starred on the second episode of The X-Files as a teenage stoner who has his own theories about what the UFO he saw really is.

16. KATHY GRIFFIN // BETTY TEMPLETON/LULU PFEIFFER IN “FIGHT CLUB” (MAY 7, 2000)

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Kathy Griffin had audiences seeing double when she played doppelgängers who create mayhem whenever they’re in close proximity to each other.

17. DONAL LOGUE // SPECIAL AGENT TOM COLTON IN “SQUEEZE” (SEPTEMBER 24, 1993)

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Early on in the series, Donal Logue—as FBI Special Agent Tom Colton—pays a visit to Scully, his former colleague, to warn her what working with “Spooky” Mulder could do to her professional reputation. She seems to have survived the ordeal.

Mental Floss's Three-Day Sale Includes Deals on Apple AirPods, Sony Wireless Headphones, and More

Apple
Apple

During this weekend's three-day sale on the Mental Floss Shop, you'll find deep discounts on products like AirPods, Martha Stewart’s bestselling pressure cooker, and more. Check out the best deals below.

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Apple

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Sony

For the listener who likes a traditional over-the-ear headphone, this set by Sony will give you all the same hands-free calling, extended battery power, and Bluetooth connectivity as their tiny earbud counterparts. They have a swivel folding design to make stashing them easy, a built-in microphone for voice commands and calls, and quality 1.18-inch dome drivers for dynamic sound quality.

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Sony

This Sony headphone model stands out for its extra bass and the 30 hours of battery life you get with each charge. And in between your favorite tracks, you can take hands-free calls and go seamlessly back into the music.

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Martha Stewart

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a new pressure cooker, this 8-quart model from Martha Stewart comes with 14 presets, a wire rack, a spoon, and a rice measuring cup to make delicious dinners using just one appliance.

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Jashen

If you're obsessive about cleanliness, it's time to lose the vacuum cord and opt for this untethered model from JASHEN. Touting a 4.3-star rating from Amazon, the JASHEN cordless vacuum features a brushless motor with strong suction, noise optimization, and a convenient wall mount for charging and storage.

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Evachill

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7. Gourmia Gcm7800 Brewdini 5-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $120

Gourmia

The perfect cup of cold brew can take up to 12 hours to prepare, but this Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker can do the job in just a couple of minutes. It has a strong suction that speeds up brew time while preserving flavor in up to five cups of delicious cold brew at a time.

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Townew

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FenSens

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Noerden

Reusable water bottles are convenient and eco-friendly, but they’re super inconvenient to get inside to clean. This smart water bottle will clean itself with UV sterilization to eliminate 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. That’s what makes it clean, but the single-tap lid for temperature, hydration reminders, and an anti-leak functionality are what make it smart.

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Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

14 Facts About International Talk Like A Pirate Day

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iStock

Ahoy, me hearties! As many of you know, September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual phenomenon that’s taken the world by storm, having been observed by every continent, the International Space Station, and even the Oval Office since it first made headlines back in 2002. So let’s hoist the Jolly Roger, break out the rum, and take a look back at the holiday’s timber-shivering history.

1. Talk Like a Pirate Day was originally conceived of on D-Day.

Talk Like a Pirate Day creators John Baur and Mark Summer (who’ve since acquired the nicknames “Ol’ Chumbucket” and “Cap’n Slappy,” respectively) created the holiday while playing racquetball on June 6, 1995—the 51st anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. Out of respect to the battle’s veterans, a new observance date was quickly sought.

2. September 19th also happens to be the birthday of the ex-wife of the holiday's co-creator.

“[September 19th was] the only date we could readily recall that wasn’t already taken up with Christmas or the Super Bowl or something,” the pair later claimed. Summers claims to harbor no ill will toward his former spouse, who has since stated, “I’ve never been prouder to be his ex-wife!

3. Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry is largely responsible for popularizing the holiday.

Dave Barry was so smitten with the holiday after having been introduced to it via email in early 2002 that he dedicated an entire column to its publicity that September, turning an inside joke into a global sensation. He later went on to make a cameo appearance in one of Baur and Summers’s buccaneer-themed music videos in 2011 (look for him in the video above at the 3:25 mark).

4. Real pirates spoke in a wide variety of dialects.

Despite some extensive “English-to-Pirate” dictionaries that have cropped up all over the Internet the idea that all pirates shared a common accent regardless of national origin is historically absurd, as National Geographic pointed out in 2011.

5. Actor Robert Newton is hailed as the "patron saint" of Talk Like a Pirate Day.

So where did the modern “pirate dialect” come from? Summers and Baur credit actor Robert Newton's performance in Treasure Island (1950) and have accordingly dubbed him the “patron saint” of their holiday. Tasked with breathing life into the scheming buccaneer, Newton simply exaggerated his native West Country accent and the rest is history.

6. John Baur's family was featured on a pirate-themed episode of Wife Swap.

The reality show’s highly-anticipated 2006 season premiere pitted the Baurs (in full pillaging regalia) against a family which, according to John’s wife Tori (a.k.a. “Mad Sally”), “behaved as though ‘fun’ was something that had to be pre-packaged for their protection.”

7. John Baur was also on Jeopardy!

Baur was described to the audience as “a writer and pirate from Oregon” in his 2008 appearance. “I didn’t win,” Baur said, “but the introduction made Alex blink.”

8. International Talk Like a Pirate Day has become a cornerstone of the Pastafarian movement.

Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, cited Earth’s dwindling pirate population as the clear source of global warming in his 2005 open letter to the Kansas school board which established the religion. Since then, Talk Like A Pirate Day has been observed by devout Pastafarians worldwide. 

9. A Florida mayor once ignited a local controversy for making an official Talk Like a Pirate Day proclamation.

In 2012, Lake Worth, Florida Mayor Pam Triolo lightheartedly urged her constituents to embrace the holiday last year, writing, “The City … is known to possess a spirit of independence, high spirits, and swashbuckling, all traits of a good pirate.” Her actions were criticized by the city’s former commissioner, Jo-Ann Golden, who took offense to the association with murderous seamen.

10. Day of the Ninja was created in response to Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Not to be outdone by their hated rivals, the pro-ninja community was quick to execute the first annual Day of the Ninja on December 5, 2002. For Summers and Baur’s take on the warring factions, see the clip above.

11. Astronauts once celebrated Talk Like a Pirate Day aboard the International Space Station.

In a 2012 interview, Summers recalled being “informed that the astronauts on the International Space Station were awakened to ‘A Pirate’s Life For Me' and joined in the pirate talk from space.”

12. President Obama once celebrated with a costumed buccaneer in the Oval Office.

In 2012, Barack Obama tweeted this image on Talk Like a Pirate Day with the caption “Arr you in?”

13. A congressman later used the holiday to slam President Obama's tax plan.

In 2011, Florida’s 12th congressional district representative Dennis Ross used the festivity as a political punchline after Obama made a speech detailing his tax plan, tweeting, “It is TALK like a pirate day … not ACT like one. Watch ye purses and bury yr loot, the taxman cometh.”

14. It's an official holiday in the state of Michigan.

On June 4, 2013, state senator Roger Kahn’s proposal to grant International Talk Like A Pirate Day official acknowledgement from the Michigan government was formally adopted, to the chagrin of some dissenting landlubbers. 

This story originally ran in 2013.