Max Fenig (played by Scott Bellis) was a repeater and a member of NICAP who befriended Fox Mulder. Fenig, suffering from a form of epilepsy brought on by multiple alien abductions from a young age, spent much of his life wanting to be left alone but never being given peace. He became fanatical about finding proof of extraterrestrial life. (TXF: "Fallen Angel", "Tempus Fugit", "Max")
Meeting Fox Mulder
Max Fenig first encountered Fox Mulder when the two were in adjoining military cells at a preliminary base-camp, set up after the crash of a UFO. Both individuals had gone there to obtain photographic evidence, although Max had been caught by military personnel before getting inside. Max was released during the night, having been declared harmless.
The next day, he went to Mulder's hotel room in search of evidence as to the alien crash site, as his trailer was parked across the road. However, Mulder and Scully returned to the room and caught him trying to escape out of a window.
After quizzing him on the subject, Max announced that he had something to show them and took them over to his trailer. The highly modified vehicle, with surveillance equipment and other gadgets, quickly made an impression on the agents. He showed them police radio logs from the night of the crash, and of both the deceased Sheriff and a fire crew in danger.
When he later went to visit Max, Mulder found him on the floor of his trailer, having a seizure. Putting him on his bed, a confused Max told him that he had been suffering from such episodes throughout his entire life. While removing his cap, Mulder noticed an incision behind Max's ear, which matched scar tissue of alien abductees he had researched. While resting (following the seizure), an invisible alien life-form entered Max's trailer and manipulated him in some way, compelling him to wander down to the military-controlled docks and making his ear bleed.
On foot, Max was confronted by a squad of soldiers. He pleaded with them not to intervene but the alien force immolated them. With the army cordoning him off, Max found his way into a warehouse, where he suffered agonizing headaches. He was found by Mulder, who attempted to get him away but was then thrown through the air himself by the alien. Recovering and returning to his feet, Mulder saw Max being suspended in mid-air, shaking. In a flash of light, Max was gone. He was found later by the military in a cargo container. (TXF: "Fallen Angel")
Following his efforts to go public with his abduction stories, Max was institutionalized, during which time he met Sharon Graffia, a fellow UFO fanatic. After the pair was released, Max formed a close friendship with her and she recorded some of his autobiographical tapes. (TXF: "Max")
Stealing Alien Artifacts and Death
After Sharon Graffia managed to find employment within the US Air Force, she stole three extraterrestrial artifacts, which she passed on to Max. He had the intention of taking two with him to meet Mulder for the first time in four years, and using them as proof that his stories were true.
He booked a ticket on board Flight 549 under the name Paul Gidney. There, Max became fearful that he was being followed by a G-Man who had the intention of killing him and taking the artifacts; Max's fears were actually true. Before the man could get to Max, however, the plane was taken under the control of an alien craft, which took Max and his artifacts and intended to safely return him. However, an F15 fighter shot down the UFO and unwittingly downed Flight 549 in upstate New York, in the process. Max was thrown from the plane as it fell and died in the impact. His body was later positively identified by Mulder. (TXF: "Tempus Fugit", "Max")
Mulder's investigation into the crash that had claimed Max' life led him to the artifacts and he uncovered what had happened to Max since their last meeting. Mulder managed to obtain the third artifact but, as he traveled via airplane to Washington D.C., a very similar incident to Max' final abduction occurred. This abduction, however, was successful, as the artifact was recovered by an alien craft and the G-Man on board was also taken. (TXF: "Max")
Chris Carter once said the character of Max Fenig "represented a kind of kook that we all believe is out there saying, 'Look up in the sky; it's up there, it's out there.'" (The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series, the Myths and the Movies, p. 43) In the history of The X-Files, Max Fenig was introduced several episodes before The Lone Gunmen but somewhat represents a precursor to the trio, particularly to Richard Langly. (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 124)
Max Fenig was played by Scott Bellis, a Vancouver actor who won the role at a time when there was a bias toward casting actors from Los Angeles in lead roles. Lynne Carrow, one of two casting directors working on The X-Files at that time, was particularly proud of finding Bellis for the role. According to Supervising Producer Howard Gordon, Bellis was cast as Max Fenig after he "came in and just knocked our socks off." (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 124) Gordon said about Bellis, "He was just a fine, fine actor. He read for us and we said, 'He's the character. He's the guy.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/1, p. 41)
Impressed with the performance Scott Bellis delivered as Max Fenig, the writers of The X-Files thereafter spent a long while talking about inviting him back to the show, such as by reprising the role of Max Fenig. This made sense to Howard Gordon, considering that "abductees get returned." (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 125)
- The X-Files