Last updated:  09/23/2009

THE LONE GUNMEN'S 'Pilot' Episode

FOX TV show depicts a U.S. government plot to crash a

hijacked Boeing into the WTC six months before 9/11!


"They're going to crash the plane

into the World Trade Center."

Episode #1AEB79
Original airdate 03/04/2001
Written by Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Rob Bowman

Filming Locations: New York City, NY & Vancouver, BC

Shooting from: March 20 - April 7, 2000

(Click pic for official site)




"The pilot episode, which first aired on March 4, 2001, concerned a terrorist

plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the World Trade Center towers."

- Trivia for "The Lone Gunmen" (2001) - IMDb




TV spinoff The Lone Gunmen comes to DVD with its prescient 9/11 episode
"The Lone Gunmen, the Complete Series (Fox) - Back in 2001, when The X-Files was breathing its last prime-time gasp, this oddball spinoff series hit the airwaves for 13 episodes. The three unlikely conspiracy investigators built their own little cult following with the show, still shot in Vancouver after the original fled to sunny California.
The most remarkable episode... aired just a few months before 9/11 with an incredibly prescient plot about terrorists hijacking an airliner and threatening to crash it into the World Trade Center. Except, in this plot, the terrorists were a cabal within the U.S. government itself.
On the episode's commentary track, the creators themselves cannot believe the irony. They recall how, in the immediate hours after the event when it wasn't known who was responsible, they feared their story might have inspired the real terrorists." (03/28/05)




"In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities." -ABC (5/01/01)




► "THE PRESIDENT: No one could have conceivably imagined suicide bombers burrowing into our society and then emerging all in the same day to fly their aircraft - fly U.S. aircraft into buildings full of innocent people - and show no remorse.
Never did anybody's thought process about how to protect America did we ever think that the evil-doers would fly not one, but four commercial aircraft into precious U.S. targets - never. But never did I dream we would have been under attack this way." -White House (09/16/01)

► "In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties.
One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon..." -USA Today (4/18/04)

► "I don't think anybody could have predicted that...they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile," said National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice." -CBS (05/17/02)

"Exactly two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal report warned the executive branch that Osama bin Laden's terrorists might hijack an airliner and dive bomb it into the Pentagon or other government building." -CBS (05/17/02)

► "You hate to admit it, but we hadn't thought about this," Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said. -DoD (10/23/01) ► "What's disturbing about it to me is, you think as a fiction writer that if you can imagine this scenario, then the people in power in the government who are there to imagine disaster scenarios can imagine it, too." - Frank Spotnitz, Co-Producer of The Lone Gunmen




"On March 4, 2001, during Season 8 of “The X-Files,” the three spun off in a seriocomic series of their own, created by “X” producers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, and co-starring Zuleikha Robinson (“Hidalgo”) and Stephen Snedden (“Coyote Ugly”).
Despite the concern of some fans, the pilot of “The Lone Gunmen” is indeed part of the boxed set. This would seem like a no-brainer — until you realize that the central conspiracy in the episode involved the high-tech electronic hijacking of a commercial airliner with the intent of crashing it into the World Trade Center.
Although the episode was conceived and shot in 2000 and aired six months before the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the eerie coincidence sent shockwaves through cast and producers.
“I'll never forget that,” says Spotnitz, calling in from the set of the pilot for his remake of “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.” “That was such a disturbing thing. It was very upsetting. As I say in the DVD featurette, you write something like that, and you assume that if you can think of it, being a Hollywood writer, then somebody in the government has thought about it already.
“Obviously that wasn't the case. Just the idea that a plane could fly into a building, and the building would be unprotected was just … anyway, it was upsetting.”
Although their scenario involved using sophisticated electronics to remotely control the plane and had nothing to do with suicidal terrorists, Spotnitz had some long moments on the fateful September morning.
“I was directing an episode of ‘The X-Files' when that happened,” he recalls, “so I woke up a little late because we'd been shooting the night before. It was the first thing I saw on TV, one of the trade towers burning. The first thing that went through my head was, ‘I hope this doesn't have anything to do with what we did, that it wasn't somehow inspired by anything we did.'
“Nobody knew who had done it or what had happened, but we knew it was an airplane. It became obvious that it didn't have any connection to what we did.”
Haglund, a frequent guest at sci-fi conventions, had noted a brisk business in “Gunmen” bootlegs over the years. He attributes some of that to the pilot.
Once the pilot and the 9/11 thing came together,” Haglund says, “all the conspiracy theorists started passing around that pilot at conventions and UFO conventions and started propelling that forward. These guys are all asking questions about, ‘How much did we know?' ‘Who wrote the script?' — that kind of thing.
“Other than small, middling details, what's odd about that ‘Gunmen' pilot is the larger details they got right. I assume somebody will look through the rest of the episodes and see what other details may be right. I can assure you, I don't think there is a legion of super-smart military chimps out there.” -Kansas City Star (03/21/05)



'Gunmen' from left to right: 

Tom Braidwood (Melvin Frohike); Bruce Harwood (John Fitzgerald Byers); Dean Haglund (Richard 'Ringo' Langly)




The Lone Gunmen Pilot episode.



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BYERS SNR: What the hell are you doing? Why can't you stay out of this. Leave me buried.

BYERS: What is scenario 12-D?

BYERS: We know it's a war game scenario. That it has to do with airline counter-terrorism. Why is it important enough to kill for.

BYERS SNR: Because it's no longer a game.

BYERS: But if some terrorist group wants to act out this scenario, then why target you for assassination?

BYERS SNR: Depends on who your terrorists are.

BYERS: The men who conceived of it the first place. You're saying our government is planning to commit a terrorist act against a domestic airline?

BYERS SNR: There you go again. Blaming the entire government as usual. In fact, a small faction ...

BYERS: For what possible gain?

BYERS SNR: The Cold War's over, John. But with no clear enemy to stockpile against, the arms market's flat. But bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you'll find a dozen tin-pot dictators all over the world just clamoring to take responsibility, and begging to be smart-bombed.

BYERS: I can't believe this. This is about increasing arms sales?

BYERS: When?

BYERS SNR: Tonight.


BYERS: Find anything?

BYERS SNR: Well the luggage hold's clear if this thing can be trusted. What did you do - make with your Erector Set?

BYERS: Are you absolutely sure this is the targeted flight?

BYERS SNR: This flight was chosen primarily for its visibility. It's schedule to pass over Manhattan on its way to Boston.

BYERS: You said they intend to bring this down in the middle of New York City?


BYERS: What if there is no bomb.

BYERS SNR: Well, how they going to bring it down?

BYERS: The same way a dead man can drive a car.


FROHIKE AND LANGLY: What do you mean, no bomb?

BYERS: Langly, I need you to hack into the airline's onboard navigation system.  We need to know where we're headed.

FROHIKE: OK. Going to headsets.

FROHIKE: I'll clone the airphone's carrier. Make them think we're sending a ground-to-air fax.

LANGLY: Just get me on that plane and I'll get you auto-pilot access.

FROHIKE: How are you going to do that?

LANGLY: Airline telemetry systems use processors similar to those found in CB radios.

FROHIKE: I'm in. We've got ourselves a convoy.


BYERS: What's your progress.

LANGLY: I've hacked into the flight control system output.


FROHIKE: With a little bit of help.

LANGLY: It's what the brains of the plane is telling the little black box.

FROHIKE: Course, heading, attitude, hold, yaw, axis, stabilization . . . what?  What the heck's that?

LANGLY: Is that what it looks like?

FROHIKE: I think it is what it looks like.


BYERS: What does "what" look like?

LANGLY: Modem protocol. Remote access. Somebody on the ground's flying your plane.


DOD OPERATOR: Bogey, sir.

HELM: Keep your course.


BYERS: We need to know our flight plan.

FROHIKE: I'm mapping the data now.

LANGLY: Byers. Your flight's going to make an unscheduled stop. In exactly 22 minutes.

FROHIKE: Corner of Liberty and Washington, Lower Manhattan.

BYERS: World Trade Center.  They're going to crash it into the World Trade Center.

BYERS SNR: I'll tell the flight crew.

(World Trade Center)

BYERS: Langly, can you override the flight control system?

LANGLY: Working on it.


PILOT: What is this?

BYERS SNR: My name is Bert Byers. I work for the government. I believe this plane has been commandeered.

PILOT: Sir, passengers are not allowed in the cockpit. I need you to return to your seat now.

BYERS SNR: You don't have control of this plane and I don't know what we can do to get it back. Turn off your auto-pilot. There may be a chance we can override it.

PILOT: Sir, I'll be happy to contact your superiors in the government -

PILOT: Sir! Dammit!

CO-PILOT: He's right!


LANGLY: Dammit! Frozen again.  They've encrypted the manual override commands.

FROHIKE: Well, decrypt them then.

LANGLY: I don't have enough power ...


LANGLY: ... my CPUs are pegged.

BYERS: Langly, what's happening?

LANGLY: I'll try decrypting in background mode.

BYERS: How long will that take?

LANGLY: On my calcs per sec? I estimate . . . seven to ten days.


PILOT: All right, try cutting electrical power.

BYERS SNR: They've thought of that. They've thought of everything.

PILOT: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are experiencing some, uh, technical difficulties up here. At this time we would like you all to return to your seats.

BYERS SNR: And kiss your asses goodbye.

BYERS: Langly, we're getting close.

LANGLY: I know. I know.

PILOT: New York Center? This is Atlantic National flight 265 heavy. We are declaring an emergency. We have 110 souls on board, 16,000 pounds of fuel, and no dangerous goods or cargo to report.

LANGLY: Come on, Frohike.

BYERS SNR: Your friends have failed, haven't they?

BYERS: There's still hope.

BYERS SNR: I hope my next funeral is as nice as my last one.

(Boeing 727 closing in on the WTC.)

(Pilot in the cockpit as the Boeing 727 approaches the WTC.)


BYERS: If we can't get the FBI we'll go public. With your testimony, we can break this conspiracy wide open. Bring Overlord down. The whole operation.

BYERS: Dad. What is it?

BYERS SNR: God, I see myself in you. The same youthful enthusiasm, idealism.  I was so angry at you for so long because I didn't want you to waste your life tilting at windmills. But I can see now, you've got something I never had.  You're a brave man, John.

BYERS: You're not going to testify. You're going to let them cover this up.

BYERS SNR: They almost killed me twice. They won't fail a third time. My silence will keep me alive.  And you. I know you and your friends are fighting for the American dream. Just don't expect to win.






Interview with The Lone Gunmen co-producer Frank Spotnitz about the 'Pilot' episode after 9/11...


Gunmen Foreshadowed 9/11
"Fans of the short-lived X-Files spinoff series The Lone Gunmen may recall that the pilot episode ended with an eerie foreshadowing of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Center. Though the show aired six months before the attack, its final scene featured a commercial airliner aiming at the [World Trade] center, veering away at the last minute, TV Guide Online reported.
But for some reason, the show's images escaped notice in the months following the real-life attacks—something that mystifies one of the show's writers, longtime X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz. It wasn't until the industry newsletter The Myers Report ran a story about the show this week that it caught the notice of TV Guide.
"I know! That's what I've been wondering," Spotnitz told TV Guide. He, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban wrote the episode. "I thought, 'Nobody noticed!' I guess so few people saw the show. But it's strange, too, because that was the pilot, and the ratings were actually quite good for [that episode], and yet we didn't hear anything."
Myers Report columnist Ed Martin wrote that "this seems to be collective amnesia of the highest order. The final act of the Gunmen pilot, which seemingly made no impact last year, now contains some of the most deeply disturbing images ever created for an entertainment program," according to TV Guide.
"I woke up on Sept. 11 and saw it on TV, and the first thing I thought of was The Lone Gunmen," Spotnitz told TV Guide. "But then in the weeks and months that followed, almost no one noticed the connection. What's disturbing about it to me is, you think as a fiction writer that if you can imagine this scenario, then the people in power in the government who are there to imagine disaster scenarios can imagine it, too." -Sci Fi Wire (6/21/01)


Chris Carter Says 9/11 Killed X-Files, But America is Ready for It Again

"...director Chris Carter, writer Frank Spotnitz, and stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny were in attendance. Here's what they had to say about X-Files and 9/11, as well as what it's been like to return to the story after all these years.

A fan asked asked about the X-Files and 9/11 controversy. (For those who don't know, the pilot episode of X-Files spinoff The Lone Gunmen is about a plot to crash a hijacked plane into the WTC.) Carter passed the question to Spotnitz, who said:  'We were really upset, and worried that somehow we had inspired the plot. But we were relieved to discover that the plot pre-dated The Lone Gunmen, and that 9/11 had nothing to do with our work. And then once we realized that, my next thought was how the government hadn't known about this plot. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories about the connection between 9/11 and The Lone Gunman, but none of them are true.'" - (02/23/08)



- Alex Jones interviews X-Files/Lone Gunmen star Dean Haglund who believes 9/11 was an inside job!

(Quicktime:  Broadband / Dial-up; Windows:  Broadband / Dial-up)

Actor Dean Haglund On the CIA, Hollywood and 9/11 - Prison Planet

Dean Haglund's official website.




Watch:  google, youtube 1, youtube 2, Yahoo

Propaganda Matrix (Streaming video of the "Pilot" trailer)

Plague Puppy (Downloadable "Pilot" scenes)

Gov Sux (Downloadable "Pilot" trailer)

Active Opposition (Downloadable "Pilot" trailer)

Media Mogul’s Sinister Links to September 11 - American Free Press


Did Rupert Murdoch Have Prior Knowledge of 9/11?

Lone Gunman TV Show Parallels WTC PLot - Conspiracy Planet

Jetliners Smashing into Tall Buildings?  No Surprise - The Seventh Fire


Lone Gunmen Fan Sites:

The Lone Gunmen - Unofficial Fan Site - (Unofficial "Pilot" Transcript)

TWIZ TV - (Unofficial "Pilot" Transcript)

 Road Runners - [Page 3 - Page 4]

Mighty Pony Girl



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