When Noah Hawley announced he was going to make Fargo, a TV show based on the Coen Brother's 1996 film, people were intrigued to see how well it would translate to an episodic drama on the small screen. As it happens, it worked incredibly well, and Hawley enjoyed critical and commercial success with season one, which starred Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, as well as with season two, which featured a larger cast including Patrick Wilson, Kristen Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Ted Danson.
FX quickly ordered a third season of Fargo, which will go into production later this year and, following on from the new that Ewan McGregor is to play two roles, of brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy, Hawley has been talking about exactly how those characters will fit into the season. As with previous seasons, this third outing to Fargo can be viewed as a standalone season, but it will also be linked to the previous two. Season One took place in 2006, with cop Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman), trying to pin down Lorne Malvo (Thornton), while season two went back to 1979 and focused on Molly's father, Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) and his work as a small town cop.
Hawley confirmed to EW that season three will take us up to three years from the present day (so, around 2013/14), and that the warring brothers Emmit and Ray, both played by McGregor, will be the catalyst for the whole season:
“The fun thing with the show is that for whatever reason I had to figure out how to tell what purports to be a Coen brothers story, and it always tends to start with a catalyst. The first year was two men in an emergency room, the second year was a woman driving home with a man stuck in the windshield of her car, and this year it starts with these two brothers.”
Emmit is described as “The parking lot king of Minnesota” and a “self-made family man” who prides himself on being an American success story. Ray, meanwhile, is the younger of the two and is described as someone who “peaked in high school.” Balding, pot-bellied, and employed as a parole officer, Ray has a huge chip on his shoulder over the hand he’s been dealt, and he blames his brother for his misfortunes.
As Hawley explained to EW:
“There is an old wound between [Emmit and Ray] that sort of gets reopened and re-litigated, and that rivalry becomes contentious and that sort of puts all the events in motion. The fun soup of it is you have to have enough moving parts that everything is on a collision course, but which parts are going to collide? There’s this element of randomness to it, which I think adds to the truthiness of our fake true story. So, it starts with Ewan and Ewan as brothers. It’s not as big character-wise a story as the second year, but I’m really excited about it.”
As to whether the up-to-date time period might pave the way for characters from seasons past might appear, Hawley remains elusive, but does acknowledge that that could potentially happen.
“I don’t know if we’re going to see any. We might drive by a couple on the road. What’s fun about the show is that it always connects in some way, either to the movie or to one of our other seasons and I like that those connections are sometimes very literal like with the backstory of Lou Solverson, and sometimes they’re more tangential.”
Hawley's comments, about the show having an element of randomness, and possibly driving by past characters on the road, hints toward Fargo season three following the same pattern of dark humor that both the film and the preceding two seasons have set. Coupled with the graphic violence we all associate with Fargo, plus the casting of McGregor and no doubt more strong casting announcements to come, it seems a safe bet that Hawley will once again score a massive hit when Fargo returns next year.
Fargo season three is expected to air on FX sometime in 2017.