Icons Did Indeed Prototype X-Files Props for a planned line of products but they never made it out of the planning stage.....
The X Files Fox Mulder FBI Alien abduction prop replica test prototype (never released) by Icons (1996)
Here’s probably the most unusual early Icons prototype that we have ever seen, or had the pleasure of sharing. This never before seen or photographed, one-of-a-kind early prototype, produced by the pioneering collectibles company Icons Authentic Replicas, was a X Files prop replica concept, developed to submit to 20th Century Fox and X Files creator / producer Chris Carter, as a possible licensed, limited edition Studio authorized and authenticated product. The following story relating to this piece was told to us by various sources familiar with its background. This is all verifiable information.
The Story behind the replica:
The story behind this very unique 1:1 scale prop replica concept is almost as bizarre as the design concept of this display piece. In 1995-96, the popularity of the hit television series The X Files was at an all-time high. 20th Century Fox wanted to capitalize on the tremendous success of the show, so it endeavored in discussions with Icons to create unique limited edition product.
Though the TV program featured a variety of imaginative creatures, aliens, monsters, etc. Icons were still challenged with creating something recognizable and marketable that would appeal to the high-end limited edition collector. Another hurdle was the understandable but highly protective nature of Chris Carter when it came to his creation. Carter was very concerned about over-exploiting the X Files when it came to merchandise. A source of constant frustration to Fox licensing.
One of the most distinctive props seen each week on the series were the FBI identifications and badges that Fox Mulder (David Duchovney) and Dana Sculley (Gillian Anderson) flash whenever they were out on a case. It appeared that these props would be very interesting and desirable to fans of the series. The main issue was replicating authentic looking FBI identifications and badges and marketing them to the general public, might be a problem with law enforcement authorities.
20th Century Fox licensing approved of the FBI ID & Badge Icons prop replica concept.
Hey… let’s contact the U.S. Government:
Icons Research & Development and Creative executives set about finding out what exactly could be done legitimately. They contacted the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC. And inquired about the legalities involved in replicating FBI badges and ID’s. Remarkably, the FBI agents whom Icons spoke with were, not surprisingly, big fans of the X Files. So, Icons was actually able to gain the cooperation and make headway with Department of Justice officials. They expressed concern over the “display aspect” of the limited edition replica of Mulder & Sculley’s FBI Identification and badges… was there anything that could be done that would prevent the general public from misusing these props as actual forms of identification. Could the pieces be permanently attached or affixed in some way to their display cases? Icons was faced with this challenge and quickly went to the drawing board.
It was common knowledge at Icons that its collectors liked to be able to handle certain film and television replicas. Analysis of this was conducted at various conventions around the U.S. If a consumer approached a Star Wars Lightsaber replica, they would immediately want to pick it up with no hesitation to examine it, if a consumer approached prop weapon that resembled a gun, they would carefully examine the piece initially with some respect and then immediately go to pick it up. Any prop that was of “alien origin” such as a Predator II Combi stick spear was also an item that a consumer would wish to handle instantaneously. Miniature replicas of space vehicles such as the Star Wars X-Wing or Tie Fighter were treated with reverence and rarely touched. The problem with the X Files prop FBI badge was that it was displayed in a standard wallet that consumers were used to handling all the time. It was a practical accessory of everyday life.
Wow! The FBI Approves:
After a lot of head-banging in Icons HQ, the concept of utilizing clear acrylic Lucite displays was discussed. The concept was the X Files badge and ID would be replicated just like the ones utilized on the television series and then permanently sealed in a clear Lucite display. Which is in liquid form, but then rapidly sets to a solid form. This is often done with fragile items such as insects, marbles, coins, etc. This concept was immediately discussed with officials of the FBI and amazingly, Icons received formal approval to proceed with the licensed prop replica X Files FBI badge and ID project.
But one of Icons chief creative staff was concerned with the fact that it seemed like the collector would be somewhat cheated out of interacting with the prop replica. Icons had always strived to utilize imagination in their display methodologies. This is quite evident with the dynamic displays seen in the company’s 1:1 scale replicas of the Predator I helmet alien-style wall rack, the Predator II disc & Combi stick spear matching alien style wall racks, the Batman & Robin Batarang frozen ice display, the Xena: Warrior Princess split-rock Chakram display, etc. It was decided to try to come up with some sort of story behind Fox Mulder’s FBI badge and identification wallet being completely sealed in a solid block of Lucite. What could have occurred, in a fictional setting within the world of the X Files, that lead to Mulder’s ID appearing like this? So, the Icons creative staff went back to the drawing board yet again…
Back to the drawing board:
A day later, the Icons creative chief suggested that perhaps an Alien abduction of Mulder was responsible. Mulder had been taken captive during an abduction, was incapacitated and his FBI badge and ID were examined and preserved by an alien race…, which then sealed it, in some form of advanced translucent compound. It was further suggested that this compound be greenish in color, to create the display ambiance of an alien science process. Everyone agreed that this creative concept might work. But like all endeavors in the film and television industry, you really don’t know what you have until you complete the project.
As Icons continued to consider the possibilities of this new angle on the Lucite display, the imaginations of the R & D staff switched into full gear. It was decided to enhance the alien abduction Lucite display by making the alien compound encasement be contained in an “Alien Petrie Dish”. Petrie dishes are utilized in hospital operating rooms to contain portions of the body that are removed during an operation. Fox Mulder’s wallet would have been removed by the aliens, opened, placed in the alien Petri dish and the advanced translucent compound poured over it for preservation purposes until it could be examined later… perhaps at their home world… This was beginning to appear like a reasonable story behind the necessity of the solid Lucite display of the prop replica. Perhaps this could even add value to piece.
The alien Petrie dish concept fascinated Icons creative staff and it was decided to go even one step further. The Petri dish would feature alien calligraphy and symbols based upon supposed UFO abduction research that had been carried out over the years by various sources. Icons immediately accessed as many books on UFO’s as they could find and was able to access a number of interesting examples. These were combined to create a menu of alien calligraphy and symbols that would be embossed in raised lettering along outer edge of the alien Petri dish.
But now we have to make it:
The next step was to have the brilliant and talented artisans of the Icons Fabrication and Design Group, which was comprised of many film and television craftsmen who were skilled, reverse engineers, machinists, sculptors, electricians, woodworkers, molders, casters, painters, etc. actually execute an prototype of the concept. These folks were used to working in the movie & TV business and had many strange requests over the years, but it was still not uncommon for them to raise an eyebrow or two at the requests of Icons R & D. One obstacle was the green alien hue to the Lucite. The Lucite would have to be poured in 2 colors, green on the bottom and clear over the top so that the prop replica would still be able to clearly seen once encapsulated.
The alien Petrie dish was fabricated using various materials, and the alien calligraphy and symbols were created using Icons quality plaque machine etching company. This calligraphy and symbols were affixed to the outer rim of the Petri dish. This display frame was then molded, cast and one final step was decided. Icons had the alien Petri dish dipped in nickel and then copper utilizing the same plating company that was responsible for the company’s amazing Terminator 2: Judgment Day Endo skulls, Endo arms, and Full-size Endoskeletons.
Prior to creating the one-of-a-kind prototype sample that would be submitted to 20th Century Fox licensing and Chris Carter, a test was done utilizing green tinted and clear polyurethane resin. A mock-up of the X Files Fox Mulder FBI badge and identification was created by Icons. A quickly tailored wallet was fabricated; the Icons art department created a rendering of the ID portion of the prop, and the badge portion of the mock-up was cast directly off of an actual FBI Studio prop badge.
This item is the prototype mock-up test, for the X Files 1:1 scale Fox Mulder FBI Badge and ID Icons prop replica.
But will Chris like it?
After the test piece was completed and examined, Icons Fabrication and Design Group moved swiftly to complete the finished prototype. And, the results were extraordinary. The piece was submitted to 20th Century Fox licensing who immediately approved the piece and in turn submitted to X Files creator Chris Carter. Everyone waited on pins and needles for Carter’s decision… but what came back was what was expected from Fox Licensing. Chris loved the piece, but would not approve it for manufacturing and release to the general public. Case closed. But he wanted to keep the prototype because he was so impressed with it.
Thus ended another colorful experiment and dynamic chapter in Icons history.
This unique prop replica auction:
The 10-year-old display is still remarkably preserved and holding up well. It feels like a solid piece of very strong Pyrex. There doesn’t seem to be any deterioration whatsoever. It is very heavy. It measures 8½” high by 6¼“wide by 1¼” deep.
Included is the original Icons alien calligraphy and symbol paper mock-up and research designs for the Alien Petrie Dish, as well as a very unique, translucent Icons authenticity decal, which would have been utilized on the final Lucite display if it had been approved for licensing by Chris Carter. This type of authenticity certificate design was never utilized again at Icons. The 8 1/2" by 11" sheet of 3 authenticity decals is printed on quality Mylar, with the graphics silk screened in very nice quality, featuring the X Files official logo. These were experimental and never used.
To this day, 10 years later, no one has ever seen again the original Icons finished prototype of this replica that remains in the possession of the illusive Chris Carter…, which only seems fitting as the creator of the X Files. But this one-of-a-kind historic Hollywood artifact is then next best thing.
This item is also accompanied by a hand-signed letter of authenticity by a former co-founder / executive of Icons Authentic Replicas.
FYI This X-Files prototype was hand-made by the skilled and talented Vice President of the original Icons Fabrication & Design Group (initials MM), who was also one of Icons co-founders and senior partners.
His extensive and impressive Film and TV credits include Prop design and fabrication for Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek IV, VI, VII, VII feature films, Dance with wolves, Gattaca, Water World, Total Recall, Space above and beyond, The Shadow and Batman Forever..... Just to name a few.
This helps explain the incredible over all authenticity and quality of Icons products. As well as the strange, alien looking nature of the prop being offered here as well. With years of working on various incarnations of the Star Trek Television series and many Feature Films? This prototype was actually a piece of cake for MM.
And just in case your wondering.....
But drop by and check out this rare piece of Prop History!
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.