Fargo was one of the most surprising breakout TV hits of the last several years. Initially dismissed as an unworkable idea (a seasonal anthology set in the same version of the Minnesota-area depicted in the Coen Brothers movie of the same name, but only barely connected to the film's events), the series has become a cult hit in its own right and a favorite of critics for richly drawn characters, unique dark-comedy storytelling and wide narrative scope including a second season set in a different era altogether.
A third season of Fargo - once again set in the recent past (the early 2010s) - is slated to bow on FX next year. However, according to the series' creator and showrunner, Noah Hawley, fans may end up facing a longer break between season 3 and a potential fourth season than they have between seasons past.
Fargo season 3 is playing its storyline cards close to the vest, but the producers have teased an ambitious narrative that will feature Ewan McGregor in two roles and will see the isolated "Minnesota-nice" culture made iconic by the film and the first two seasons imperiled by the invasive rise of social media culture. However, when asked by Vulture about the series' future after season 3, Hawley was non-committal:
"I guess [accumulated backstory]‘s assuming there are going to be more than three years of it or more. Every time I’m in the middle of one I go, I don’t know if there’s another one. I know that big corporations don’t usually do a mic drop after a success, but one of the things I really respect about John Landgraf and FX is we did the first one andit was a huge success, and we wouldn’t have done another unless we both felt like we could equal it or top it."
"It was the same with this one — the bar is very high, and I don’t think there has to be ten years of something to make it great. If usually you get, what, five seasons in five years? I’ll probably have three seasons in five years given the first one was 16 months between seasons and this one will be 18 or 20 months between seasons. So at that point… I don’t know."
However, Hawley isn't fully closing the book on a return - instead looking to make sure the series comes back in the right way rather than out of obligation, and pointing to other recent successful uses of that model. Notably, the busy writer/producer also has the X-Men-inspired Legion and the Kurt Vonnegurt-inspired Cat's Cradle among his in-development upcoming projects. As Hawley put it:
"I mean it’s gotta work. But the other thing is, maybe then you go, “Okay, great, we had three, those came relatively easily,” and you do the Louis C.K. thing and say, “Hey, it’s four years later, I have another one,” and then you just make that. If it isn’t an anthology or a limited series in that way, you can event-ize it and not stick to that TV schedule."
As for the soon to launch season 3, Hawley offered Vulture few new details on the season. Still, when it comes to the overall thematic sweep of the season, Hawley reiterates that it will center on a clash of cultures between the cheerfully-isolated culture of Minnesota and its surrounding areas and a world where no one is ever alone and every thought (even the impolite ones) wind up online:
"Joel and Ethan Coen described it as Siberia with family restaurants. There’s this overly friendly sense of community built up by very isolated people, and there's this Lutheran humbleness that keeps people from talking about their own feelings and asking about yours. What does that do in this modern age where everyone takes pictures of their food, and they share every thought they've ever had in real time? What happens to Minnesota-nice when people start interacting with screens instead of each other?"
Fargo season 3 airs on FX sometime in 2017.