The X-Files Character Who May Be Immortal

By Michileen Martin | Published

X-Files theory

One of the enduring ironies of The X-Files is that even though it’s David Duchovny’s Fox Mulder who is known as the true believer, it’s often Gillian Anderson’s Dana Scully whose personal life is intruded upon by the supernatural and otherwise unexplained. One potential example is one of the most well-supported fan theories ever humored by any fandom—that FBI Special Agent Dana Scully is as immortal and unkillable as any supernatural character ever portrayed, including your average Highlander swordsman. The evidence comes chiefly from two episodes, and starts with a throwaway line from what’s widely considered one of the best stories in the series.

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose


In one of the best hours of The X-Files, Mulder and Scully are introduced to a psychic whose powers are limited to one disturbing insight—he can accurately foretell how and when you will die. In “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” the eponymous prognosticator regards his ability as a curse, is annoyed by Mulder’s fanboyish questions, and gets along better with his skeptical partner.

While through much of the X-Files episode she expresses her usual doubt about anything supernatural, Scully eventually caves and asks Clyde Bruckman how she’s going to die. Bruckman smiles and says, “You don’t.”

That could be nothing more than Bruckman trying to deflect and be charming at the same time, but something happens three seasons later that gives this throwaway line more weight.


Season 6’s “Tithonus” is in some ways “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” seen through a twisted mirror. Like Bruckman, the subject of “Tithonus” has a supernatural ability he doesn’t want—Alfred Fellig has been alive for over 200 years and he can’t die. Also like Bruckman, Fellig can foresee when people are going to die, though unlike Bruckman he can’t predict how they go.

At the same time, the humor of the earlier story is nowhere to be found in “Tithonus.” While Bruckman’s story is bittersweet, Fellig is straight up one of the most depressing figures to ever appear in the series.

Fellig’s Immortality

Towards the end of the later X-Files episode, Fellig explains to Scully that he was one of the many victims of the Yellow Fever outbreaks in New York City–which took place at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th. Fellig claims to have seen Death–the actual embodiment of Death–coming for him, refused to look at him, and so instead a nurse who was sitting by him died in his place.

Since then, Fellig claims, he has been unable to die. After over two centuries, he’s grown tired of living forever and somewhere along the way developed the ability to see when someone else is close to death.

Like the most morbid version of Peter Parker you’ve ever heard of, Fellig carries an expensive camera everywhere and follows anyone who he senses is about to die. His hope is that if he can take a picture of Death, he will be able to look Death in the face and finally be able to die.

Fellig Steals Scully’s Death

The climax of the episode comes when Scully’s temporary partner, Agent Ritter–who is convinced Fellig is murdering people rather than just taking pictures of them–shoots at Fellig and unintentionally puts a bullet into Scully as well.

At first, Fellig reaches for a camera to get a picture of Scully. Then he takes the opportunity to instead tell Scully to close her eyes and to not look at Death.

Scully closes her eyes, and–in spite of all the things he’s survived–Fellig dies of his wounds. Later, just before the X-Files episode ends, we learn the doctors are shocked at how fast Scully is recovering.

Is Scully The New Fellig?

x-files scully

The question is whether or not The X-Files‘ resident skeptic Scully now suffers from the same unintended immortality that Fellig did.

One could argue that the situation we see at the end of “Tithonus” is a lot different from what made Fellig immortal.

First, there’s the obvious–Fellig was, for lack of a better word, “overlooked” by Death, so unlike what happened with him and the nurse during the Yellow Fever, you could say his death was more of a balancing of the proverbial scales.

The other difference is that in the case of the end of this X-Files episode, both Fellig and Scully were shot and–had the former not been burdened with immortality–Fellig would have otherwise been likely to die. Whereas in the case of Fellig and the nurse, presumably only Fellig was dying when he deflected his own death to his caretaker.

Regardless, if it turns out Clyde Bruckman was right and Scully never dies then we can’t wait to find out whether or not Mulder really does check out the same way David Carradine did.