The X-Files loved to employ the old horror movie tradition of hinting the bad guys would be back. Indeed, The X-Files had its share of great recurring villains, but there were far many more antagonists who never returned but should’ve. Here are seven villains from the franchise who only showed up once, but absolutely deserved a second appearance.
7. Cecil L’Ively of “Fire”
The first season introduces us to Cecil L’lvely, a pyrokinetic with abilities similar to those of the eponymous young hero of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Unlike the young Charlie McGee, L’lvely uses his fiery powers for fun and profit — causing fires just for the hell of it, as well as hiring himself out as an assassin.
Fire” may not be the best episode of The X-Files, but as L’lvely, Mark Sheppard plays a great villain. While he’s badly burnt, L’lvely survives the episode. He never returns, though Sheppard would go on to play fan-favorite recurring characters on both Firefly and Supernatural.
6. The Mothmen of “Detour”
In Season 5’s “Detour,” Mulder, Scully and some unfortunate guest stars run afoul the Mothmen of Florida’s Everglades. The X-Files villains have glowing red eyes and an ability to camouflage themselves that would impress the alien hunters of the Predator franchise.
These so-called Mothmen are able to make short work of anyone who wanders into their territory, and they’ve started striking out beyond their stomping grounds. Scully seems to have killed one of them at the end of the episode, but the body is never found.
Not only does the fact that the Mothmen survive lend itself to a return, but as is often the case with X-Files villains, we never definitively find out who they are. Mulder theorizes they’re long-lived men who succeeded in finding the legendary Fountain of Youth, but this is never confirmed.
5. The fear contagion of “X-Cops”
Season 7’s “X-Cops” is best known for the unexpected and hilarious move of mashing together Cops and The X-Files, but its villain is also notably intriguing. Mulder initially believes he ‘s hunting a werewolf, but eventually learns he’s instead investigating some kind of formless entity that acts like a contagion attracted by fear.
The entity can appear to its victims as physical threats, or as an actual illness like the Hantavirus. This X-Files villain never takes physical shape on the screen and there would be wonderful potential to a return in which we could learn a name and perhaps even see an intelligence at work.
Season 3’s “D.P.O.” both introduces a great X-Files villain and is blessed with two early appearances by young actors who would later be much more well known. The titular D.P.O. (which stands for Darin Peter Oswald) is played by Giovanni Ribisi (Lost in Translation) and a very young Jack Black (School of Rock) plays D.P.O.’s buddy Zero.
The X-Files villain D.P.O. could give Jamie Foxx‘s Electro or even Zeus himself a hard time. After being struck by lightning, he gains a great deal of psychic control over electronics, including being able to summon lightning strikes from the sky.
3. Eddie Van Blundht of “Small Potatoes”
First Darin Morgan wrote some of the best The X-Files episodes, and later he played the villain Eddie Van Blundht in “Small Potatoes.” Born with the ability to look like whoever he chooses, Eddie uses that power to pretend to be just about every married man in town and sleep with their wives.
Born with a small tail, Eddie exposes himself when many of the women he assaults wind up conceiving babies with tails.
In spite of some dark subject matter, “Small Potatoes” survives as one of the funniest episodes of The X-Files, as well as one of the most telling in regards to Mulder’s character considering how the villain comes close to seducing Scully.
2. The vampires of “Bad Blood”
One of the best things about the X-Files villains of the Season 5’s “Bad Blood” is that they’re not really villains. When a small community of green-eyed vampires is exposed by the murders committed by pizza delivery boy Ronnie Strickland — played by Patrick Renna of The Sandlot fame — the other vampires ultimately protect Ronnie, but only because he’s one of their own.
You could argue that since they do stop Mulder and Scully from arresting Ronnie, they’re knowingly harboring a murderer, but they only do it to protect their people. Not to mention they do it without killing or seriously harming either of the FBI agents.
It would be great to see the return of these presumably non-lethal vampires, if for no other reason than to learn Ronnie’s fate.
1. John Lee Roche of “Paper Hearts”
In Season 4’s “Paper Hearts,” Tom Noonan plays John Lee Roche — an imprisoned serial killer and child molester who Mulder helped catch years earlier. The X-Files villain somehow develops an ability to influence Mulder’s dreams, which he uses — as part of an elaborate escape plan — to convince the FBI agent he was the one who kidnapped Mulder’s sister.
Of all the X-Files villains on this list, Roche’s return would seem the most implausible since Mulder shoots and kills him before “Paper Hearts” is over. But since when has death alone stopped a character from reappearing in a TV series, much less The X-Files?