"X-Files": The 13 Most Surprising Guest Stars

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 03 Feb 2016

The “X-Files” revival has (so far) given us Joel McHale as a conspiracy theorist and Doug Savant as a mad doctor experimenting with alien DNA. In the show's original run, unexpected guest stars were as nearly as common as alien sightings and Scully autopsies. Here are some of the biggest names – from Burt Reynolds to Ryan Reynolds – who've ever appeared on the show, many of whom didn't get famous until long after their brush with the paranormal. – Sharon Knolle

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1
Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds ("Improbable")

In this 2002 episode, Reynolds is a mysterious man who is also (apparently) God, who plays checkers with Scully and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish). Reynolds was a big fan and told Robert Patrick that he wanted to guest on the show.

2
Ryan Reynolds at an event for The Captive (2014)

Ryan Reynolds ("Syzygy")

In this 1996 episode, the future Deadpool stars as Jay "Boom" DeBoom, a high school jock who meets an early demise thanks to what appears to be a satanic cult. One minute he's delivering a eulogy at a friend's funeral, the next he's dead meat himself.

3
Bryan Cranston at an event for Mad Men (2007)

Bryan Cranston ("Drive")

Long before he was cooking meth in New Mexico as Walter White, the future Emmy winner guest starred as a man who kidnaps Mulder and insists on driving west, convinced his head will explode if he doesn't. It proved a pivotal moment for both Cranston and writer Vince Gilligan, who later cast him as the lead in the award-winning "Breaking Bad."

4
Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster ("Never Again")

When a man who's unlucky in love (Rodney Rowland) gets a Bettie Page tattoo that starts talking to him, her voice is provided by The Silence of the Lambs Oscar winner. Foster herself is briefly glimpsed as one of the man's frightened coworkers.

5
Jack Black in King Kong (2005)

Jack Black ("D.P.O.")

The comedian-musician played a video arcade owner who witnesses the bizarre electrocution death of a friend. The culprit: Darin Peter Oswald (Giovanni Ribisi), who can channel lightning in this 1995 episode.

6
Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura ("Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'")

This tongue-in-cheek entry from 1996 features the "Jeopardy" host and former wrestler-turned-governor as Men in Black. Ventura threatens to kill a man who claims to have seen a UFO while Trebek tells Mulder, "You're feeling very sleepy."

7
Lily Tomlin

Edward Asner & Lily Tomlin ("How the Ghosts Stole Christmas")

The veteran actors have fun pranking Mulder and Scully in this Season 6 episode as mischievous ghosts in the haunted house the agents unwisely decide to investigate just before Christmas.

8
Felicity Huffman

Felicity Huffman ("Ice")

The future "Desperate Housewives" and "American Crime" star is one of a small (and steadily shrinking) team investigating the strange events at a research station in Alaska in this first-season homage to John Carpenter's The Thing.

9
Jerry Springer in Ringmaster (1998)

Jerry Springer ("The Post-Modern Prometheus")

The talk show host appears as himself in this quirky, black-and-white 1997 episode about a man called, "The Great Mutato," who looks oddly like Frankenstein. Although the episode ends at a Cher concert (where Mulder and Scully dance together), Cher is played by impersonator Tracey Bell.

10
Luke Wilson at an event for The 87th Annual Academy Awards (2015)

Luke Wilson ("Bad Blood")

Wilson is either a hot Southern sheriff whom Scully swoons over or a slow-witted bucktoothed yokel, depending on who's telling this story in this very funny 1998 episode about vampires in a small Texas town.

11
Richard Belzer at an event for Mistaken for Strangers (2013)

Richard Belzer ("Unusual Suspects")

It makes perfect sense that the other most obsessive conspiracy theorist on television, Det. John Munch, would meet up with the brainy Lone Gunmen. Belzer, who played Munch on both "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Law & Order: SVU," also appeared as Munch on "Arrested Development."

12
Shia LaBeouf at an event for Fury (2014)

Shia LaBeouf ("The Goldberg Variation")

The future Transformers star was just 13 when he played a dying young boy whose bizarrely lucky neighbor (Willie Garson of "Sex and the City" and "White Collar" fame) is trying to raise money to save his life.

13
Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin ("Fight Club")

In this Season 7 outing that was ranked the worst episode ever by Vulture (ouch!), Griffin plays twins who cause catastrophe whenever they're near each other, culminating in Mulder getting sucked down a storm drain and a massive stadium crowd fight.