After taking a 12-year break from TV in which he surfed, climbed mountains and caught up on The Shield, The X-Files creator Chris Carter returns with his sci-fi apocalyptic theme Amazon series The After early next year. Set in Los Angeles, Carter is dealing with an ensemble cast this time around vs. the two-person team of Mulder and Scully he had on X-Fileshowever, it’s not a daunting prospect as he only churning out eight episodes of The After in its first season compared with the 25 episodes he was on the hook for on the Fox series.  Of course, like most broadcast creators who make the change over to cable, it’s breath of fresh of air in their creative process, enabling them to never jump another shark again.  However, Carter exclaimed today that he has a goal to make “99 episodes of The After. I’m serious. The influence here is Dante’s Inferno and his 99 cantos.”

“I have an idea of where we’re going by like Lewis and Clark, you don’t know what you’ll encounter along the way. You leave room for discovery.  On X-Files, I started telling the mythology. Then you start making choices and as they accumulate, you create a path where the story begins to tell itself.  Because of what one lays out, you’re either limited or liberated by your choices and luckily I was liberated,” said Carter about his process.

Louise MonotThe After tells the story of a group of people who, after being trapped in an elevator learn that L.A. is experiencing an apocalypse of sort, possibly triggered by an alien encounter. In the clip shown at the panel, everyone in the group learns that their birthday is March 7, a piece of symbolism Carter did not want to explain. French actress Louise Monot plays Gigi, one of the key characters in the ensemble. One of the key actresses in the ensemble, who Carter admits was inspired by another Gallic thesp, Melanie Laurent.

Carter’s inspiration for The After goes back to his days when he was working on the Disney lot.  “There was a box of nails dropped on Sepulveda Pass and it brought the city to a stand still.  It was from there that I imagined the chaos that could ensue from the smallest thing in the city.” Stylistically and tonally in the show, Carter isn’t out to show the typical bleak, fire and brimstone, post-apocalyptic world.

Carter will be dropping one episode at a time on Amazon. “There are interesting technologies out there to tease out the clues and we’re going to take advantage of that.”