Critically-acclaimed FX drama Fargo surprised many when it premiered last year to rave reviews from viewers and critics alike. It managed to match the tone of the 1996 Coen brothers films of the same name that it is loosely based on, while creating a rich universe of its own with a roster of intriguing (and often quirky) characters. Naturally, the cable network found itself compelled to order a second season, which somehow managed to exceed expectations once again.
Hawley recently teased that the show would leap ahead to be set a couple of years after the first season. He was vague about whether some characters from past seasons would make return appearances, but now he’s revealed much more about the third season’s setting, its new cast, and just when season 3 is expected to premiere on FX.
Despite never being a ratings hit, Fargo once again found itself being renewed for a third season much to delight of its hardcore group of fans and the critics who have heaped accolades upon it - including, three Emmy awards for season 1 and recent Golden Globe nominations for season 2, including Kirsten Dunst for her breakout role as the murderous Peggy Blomquist, and the show itself in the miniseries category.
According to Variety, Hawley revealed in a conference call with reporters after the Fargo season 2 finale that the upcoming third season of the drama will likely debut in 2017 - a development that may leave fans who were left wanting more after the last season 2 episode feeling none too pleased. He explained that the delay is mostly weather-related, but is also to ensure that they write most of the scripts for the entire season before beginning production:
“It’s a winter show for better or worse. There is not time to shoot another year before this winter is over. It's also very important to me and my other producers, I think one of the strengths of the show is that we separate the writing from the production and we really take our time and we break the whole story and we write eight of the 10 hours at least and we end up there knowing exactly what we're doing, exactly what the whole story is.”
Season 3 will be set in 2010 and keep with the “based on a true story” format that was used in the movie and the first two seasons of the TV series. Bringing the story back to modern times will enable Hawley and the show’s producers to explore such topics as selfie culture, which seems to clash with the dynamics of the region:
“I like the idea that we’re now living in a very selfie-oriented culture — people photograph what they’re eating and put it up for other people to see — it feels like a social dynamic that is very antithetical to the Lutheran pragmatism of the region. So much of our crime stories are based around the difficulty people have expressing themselves and communicating.”
Hawley went on to praise FX for showing patience with the show’s format, noting that they allowed a year and a half gap between the first and second seasons. The network also deserves credit for taking chances on complex, character-driven dramas like Fargo and The Americans that don’t necessarily produce the high ratings that other networks may demand.
Hawley kept most of the action in Bemidji, Minnesota in Fargo season 1, but decided to go back in time from 2006 to 1979 with season 2 to revisit the tale of the Massacre at Sioux Falls that was recounted by Keith Carradine’s character Lou Solverson during the first season. Solverson became the common link between the two seasons as Patrick Wilson succeeded Carradine in the role as a young police detective in season 2. His daughter, Molly, was the only other returning character, taking a secondary role in season 2 after being heavily featured throughout the first season in an Emmy-winning portrayal by Allison Tolman.
Viewers who have seen the entire second season of Fargo are aware of certain twists found in the finale that seem to link the first two seasons together, including certain characters beyond the Solversons, but Hawley warns that you won’t find any clues about season 3 hidden within the second season. He also cautioned that none of the main characters from the first season are likely to be back for the show’s latest run.
Fargo season 3 will go into production in November of next year for a spring 2017 premiere.