Source: Big Light

XF_IWTB_Posters

As a hardcore X-Files fan (yes, after all these years I still love the show), when I watched the show back in the 90s, I have always noticed that Mulder’s “I Want to Believe” Poster changed in season four of the show (probably because I’m the only one geeky enough to notice such a small detail). So, I decided to contact Frank Spotnitz, one of the main writers/producers of the show, to find clarity on the issue.

Here’s what Spotnitz had to say:

“My recollection is that there was a problem with the legal rights to the photograph used in the original ‘I Want To Believe’ poster. It was resolved by changing the image.”

Not a big deal that this change was made, but since there was never an “in universe” explanation for the change, I have been curious for years as to why it happened. The reason why I noticed this change was because this poster is one of the most iconic and memorable things about the show. You can forget every other detail about Mulder’s basement office, but everyone remembers the “I Want To Believe” UFO poster hanging up on his wall. It really embodied who Mulder was in one simple image.

It is nice to have closure on this matter. I can finally sleep at night. :)

  • T. Ross

    One of the best shows on TV for years.

  • Tony R.

    The poster appears to be a severely cropped and manipulated excerpt from a film camera photo identified as “Photo Nr. 494″ by Billy Eduard Albert Meier. By performing an image search on “Billy Meier photo 494″, you can find various examples of the image in up to 1200×900 pixel resolution.

    At the time The X-Files series started in 1993, the World Wide Web wasn’t accessible to most people and was nowhere as richly populated with graphics, so the prop artists for the series most likely were working from a small print of Meier’s photo. With the cropping and subsequent enlarging, it would have produced a fair amount of blurring, as evident in the background of the image at top left. The UFO appears extraordinarily sharp, so that may have been pasted into the poster from another source. I tried overlaying the poster image on Photo Nr. 494 as partially-transparent image, but even though some of the tree silhouettes are clearly a match, the entire treeline cannot be made to line up. The bulge on the bottom of the UFO in the poster is more pronounced than in the photo. I suspect the graphics for the photo are actually a near-photo realistic illustration inspired by the Meier photo. In a strict technical sense it isn’t Meier’s original photo, but still close enough to constitute a copyright infringement.

  • dangeer

     This is not what I was referring to in the article. “Patsy” said the same thing here in the comments, and I replied as follows:

    “If you watch any episode in Seasons 1-3 where the poster appears on
    screen in Mulder’s office, the trees and UFO are different than in
    Seasons 4-5. When you get to Season 4′s “Tunguska/Terma” episode arc,
    you will see that there is now a big tree on the left of the poster, and
    the trees below the UFO are different as well. Not only that, but the
    UFO is tilted at an angle with red lights showing on the bottom. It’s
    all right there in the article above.

    Mulder DOES get a new poster in Season 6 from the dog lady to replace
    the one that got burned up in his office, but it’s the same poster as
    in Seasons 4-5.”

  • Mad_Dojo

    In the episode “The End” the Cigarette Smoking Man burned down Mulder’s office, along with the poster. In the episode “Alpha” a female canine expert who Mulder met on the internet was infatuated with him and had a very similar poster in her office. She dies at the end of the episode and the poster is shipped to Mulder, and he hangs it up in his new office. There is an in-universe explanation and it is cleverly tied in to avoid the legal issues with the old poster to introduce the new one.

  • Djamygdala

    Sorry not sure if the pictures posted so I’m trying again.

  • Djamygdala

    Just want to post one more time for fraudulent posters. As you can see from the image above, which is the original poster the left point of the disc is aiming at a very specific branch on the tree. When you look at the one I’ve posted it’s aiming lower, as well as the lights underneath the disc have shifted. That’s what I’m talking about if you’re trying to find the right one. You can also see Carter with the original at the Smithsonian to compare for yourself. 

  • Djamygdala

    Hi, I’ve recently discovered as well that the original poster in the office had a copyright issue and Carter was dealing with a lawsuit so they changed it. The original photograph of the UFO was taken by Billy Meier in Europe. The Original poster is now in the Smithsonian as well as the original pilot. I’ve been doing a lot of research on it because there are a lot of fake posters out there being sold. I want to purchase the identical to the teeth replica for my wife and I to put in out new home for Christmas. X-files geek all the way!

  • http://www.popcornmonster.com Dan Geer

    Patsy, I am aware of when he gets that particular new poster in Season 6. But that is not what I’m referring to.

    If you watch any episode in Seasons 1-3 where the poster appears on screen in Mulder’s office, the trees and UFO are different than in Seasons 4-5. When you get to Season 4′s “Tunguska/Terma” episode arc, you will see that there is now a big tree on the left of the poster, and the trees below the UFO are different as well. Not only that, but the UFO is tilted at an angle with red lights showing on the bottom. It’s all right there in the article above.

    Mulder DOES get a new poster in Season 6 from the dog lady to replace the one that got burned up in his office, but it’s the same poster as in Seasons 4-5.

  • Patsy

    hihi :) Mulder gets his new poster after the old burnt with his office as a present by a woman, that lives together with dogs and gets killed in the end of the episode by something like a werewolf :)

  • Lynn

    That’s really funny, because I have never noticed that change … and I call myself a big x-phile since 17 years… :D

  • http://www.popcornmonster.com Dan Geer

    The left is the original, and the right one first appeared in Season 4 of the show (in the episode, “Tunguska” I think)

  • Jeroen

    The left one has way better designed typography, the right one has a more interesting picture. Which one was the original?

  • Spyder Virus

    Well, since it gets torched in “The End”, he had to get a new one, and through some manipulation of The Space-Time Continuum, the new one ended up in the past as well! It’s all there in Case No. X-S5E20……LMAO! Sorry, couldn’t pass up the opportunity! ;-) But in all seriousness, glad to see I wasn’t the only one who noticed and thanks for the enlightenment as to why! :-)

  • vinicius sobieski

    hi, ‘im nuts too…I also noticed the change of the poster, because I am very detail oriented, what could be bad or good, still do not know .. anyway the copyright of the original poster belong to whom? the picture is real? or simply an illustration?best regards from Brazil

Recent Posts: