January 20, 2015
by Bryne Yancey

News of a possible reboot of The X-Files began swirling all over the Internet this past weekend. Fox, according to reports, have had some informal logistical talks about the availability of the series’ three most important players (series creator Chris Carter is busy developing other projects, as are stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson; Duchovny’s new detective neo-noir, Charles Manson-centric series Aquarius is set to premiere on NBC later this year, while Anderson will be a series regular on the upcoming third season of Hannibal). It would seem that all three are keen to return, if the timing and circumstances are good, which is great news for fans of the show who may have felt that, well, it could’ve ended a lot better than it did.

Should the series return, though, it’s unlikely that the Lone Gunmen will return with it. Frohike, Byers and Langly were [SPOILER ALERT FOR A 13-YEAR OLD EPISODE OF TELEVISION] killed off in the ninth and final season of The X-Files’ original run (though this was retconned in The X-Files Season 10 comic book series, which I think is canon, so who knows, and to be fair most of Season 9 should just be retconned anyway). It’ll be sad if they don’t return; their recurring appearances often brought much-needed comic relief to the darkest parts of the series’ mythology episodes. Even sadder, though, would be never knowing which t-shirts Langly held onto in the interim years. Langly, portrayed by Dean Haglund, was a lanky computer hacker from Nebraska with long, stringy blonde hair and thick-rimmed glasses who donned an often impressive collection of oversized band t-shirts. Haglund apparently grew up a punk fan; in a 1997 interview with the Vancouver Sun, he discusses playing drums in an “awful punk-rock band” called called the Truncheon Scars as a kid in Winnipeg.

So, in honor of Haglund’s/Langly’s punk roots and the show’s potential return, here are the t-shirts Langly wore on The X-Files, correctly ranked from best to worst. 

(All images are owned by 20th Century Fox and Ten Thirteen Productions. Please don’t sue me.)

1. Ramones (Mondo Bizarro edition)
Worn on: “Paper Clip,” season 3, episode 2; “Kill Switch,” season 5, episode 11; “Three of Kind,” season 6, episode 20 and possibly others

Mondo Bizarro is not a good Ramones album. But it came out in 1992, a year before The X-Files premiered on Fox, and I can appreciate Langly’s desire to wear the band’s most current t-shirt and continue to wear it, as if the entire nine-year run of the show takes place in the span of a couple years or something. Dude is not a fairweather fan and I respect that.

2. Ramones (Unidentifiable portraits edition)
Worn on: “Existence,” season 8, episode 21

This appears to be a fairly rare shirt of the four Ramones’ (hopefully the originals) portraits with the Ramones text logo in blue. I can’t find this shirt anywhere on the Internet. Did Fox have the shirt specifically commissioned for this scene? The world may never know.

3. Joey Ramone [Joey Lives! edition]
Worn on: “Jump the Shark,” season 9, episode 15

This episode aired in April 2002, near the end of the show’s run and a year after Joey Ramone had tragically passed away. I like to think of this as Langly’s tribute to his fallen hero. It’s also a really, really cool shirt.

4. Motörhead (red logo edition)
Worn on: “Three of a Kind,” season 6, episode 20; “Negativa,” season 8, episode 7

The Motörhead logo is already a stone cold classic rock band logo, but in red, it takes on a whole other personality. It really pops off of Langly’s shirt and out of the television in this episode.

5. Dead Kennedys (classic DK logo edition)
Worn on: “Redux,” season 5, episode 1-2

The DK logo shirt is a classic. Hell, the very year this episode aired (1997), I’m pretty sure I had seventh-grade classmates who wore it. Langly is a conspiracy theorist and really, just seems like a Bedtime For Democracy guy.

6. D.O.A. (To Hell ‘N Back edition)
Worn on: “Nisei,” season 3, episode 9; “Within,” season 8, episode 1

Other than the Mondo Bizarro shirt, this D.O.A. tee probably had the longest shelf life of any of Langly’s ratty shirts. Haglund hails from Winnipeg and spent a lot of time in Vancouver, both while filming early seasons of The X-Files and as a standup comedian. It’s hardly a stretch that he’d want to represent the legendary D.O.A.—who hail from Vancouver—in his collection.

7. Cardiacs (Seaside edition)
Worn on: “Requiem,” season 7, episode 22

This is Langly’s pull for cred. Cardiacs were a somewhat obscure, slightly psychedelic, avant-garde post-punk band from London who formed in 1977. The shirt he wears here is a take on the cover of their most acclaimed album, 1984’s Seaside. This episode was David Duchovny’s last as a leading cast member before becoming a recurring character in season 8 and 9; maybe Haglund wanted to impress him into staying.

8. Tuxedo t-shirt
Worn on: “Field Trip,” season 6, episode 21

OK, this isn’t a band t-shirt, but wearing a tuxedo t-shirt to Mulder’s “funeral?” That’s so Langly.

9. Plain white, food-stained tank top
Worn on: “The Gift,” season 8, episode 11

Also not a band shirt, but felt the need to point out how grossly out of character this is for Langly. The X-Files got weird in its later seasons.

10. Bob Marley (Get Up, Stand Up edition)
Worn on: “The Unusual Suspects,” season 5, episode 3

This was the Lone Gunmen origin episode, opening in media res in 1989 at an electronics show in Baltimore where a series of events leads to the three meeting not only each other, but a handsome young hotshot FBI agent named Fox Mulder. Was Langly really into reggae in the ‘80s? Perhaps.

T-11. Korn (Red logo edition)
Worn on: “Dreamland II,” season 6, episode 5

I’ll be the first to admit that I wore Korn t-shirts in middle school just like all the confused adolescents. At some point in my life, like, when I was 12, my still-developing brain thought they were a good band. I outgrew it. But Langly? At this point of the show, he has to be in his mid-to-late 30s. And he’s purportedly a genius! Maybe his huge brain was creating undiagnosed skull pressure.

T-11. Korn (Cartoon band edition)
Worn on: “Jump The Shark,” season 9, episode 15

“Jump The Shark” served as a finale of sorts for the Lone Gunmen’s own spinoff series, which ran for 13 episodes in the spring of 2001 before being cancelled. But one loose end that went untied was Langly’s sudden affinity for nu metal. He even wore that great Joey Ramone t-shirt in this very same episode! Did Langly have an undiagnosed multiple personality disorder that, had The Lone Gunmen ran for more than one season, would’ve been explored as an important plot point? We’ll only know if he comes back in The X-Files reboot with a new collection of Issues and Emmure t-shirts.