Fargo Season 3 Will Take Place in 2010 and Deal With Our ‘Selfie-Oriented Culture’

A flash-forward in the season-two finale of Fargo, "Palindrome." Photo: Chris Large/FX

On Tuesday, FX president John Landgraf and Fargo executive producers Noah Hawley, Warren Littlefield, and John Cameron held a Q&A with the press that covered everything from the third season of the anthology series to, yes, those UFOs. Co-creator Noah Hawley said he has already written the first episode of the next season and is currently working with his writing staff on outlining the rest of the episodes. Because the series is set in the winter, production will begin next November in Alberta, Canada, and the series won’t premiere until spring 2017. Read on for more from Hawley on season three, and some closure on season two.

The third season will move forward to 2010 and deal with our “selfie-oriented culture.”
“It’s a more contemporary story, and I think that’s exciting. Our first year was set in 2006, but we didn’t really deal with what it was like to be in that region in a more contemporary world. I like the idea that we’re now living in a very selfie-oriented culture where 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 many of our crime stories are based on the difficulty that people have expressing themselves and communicating. In a lot of ways, the tragedies that are at the heart of these crimes could all be averted if Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) could have asked his father-in-law for the money or if Lester (Martin Freeman) could have been honest about who he was, or Peggy (Kirsten Dunst) as well. I like the idea of setting up these pragmatic and humble people against the culture of narcissism and [seeing] what that generates for us, story-wise.”

The main characters from season one will not be in the third season.
“None of the main characters from our first year will be back for our third year. The risk we take, obviously, is that we say at the beginning it’s a true story. It’s what Joel and Ethan Coen did in the movie, and what made the movie so powerful and poignant is that it ended. The danger of bringing them back and putting them through their paces for another crazy case [is] the artifice of the whole thing becomes too clear. That’s not to say one of our stories might not intersect with characters we’ve seen before for a certain period of time."

In the first season, Lou Solverson (Keith Carradine) told his daughter about the 1979 Sioux Falls massacre, which became the story line for the second season. The writers did not plant clues for the story of the third season in season two.
“We didn’t really tee up the story of season three within the body of season two. That said, it’s very exciting to now think once more, what else can you do with Fargo? What other kind of movie can it be? It proved in its first year it could be a similar but different story to the actual film. And in the second year, it proved that it could be a much larger epic that somehow managed to turn 1979 into a crime story. And then in the third year, the question becomes, structurally and stylistically, what’s left to say, what do we do that feels similar but is different so we’re not repeating ourselves? That said, we’re always looking for connections and things that fit into the larger body of work that we’re building. “

The last time we saw Charlie Gerhardt in season two, he was in jail — but he didn’t stay there long.
“I think he served about four years in prison and got out as the sole surviving Gerhardt and had to make a life for himself. On a lot of levels, he’s left behind as the last man standing of the Gerhardt family. I’m sure he took a long hard look at himself and his nature, which was much more gentle and in conflict with his upbringing.”

And about those aliens …
“As we used it in the ninth hour — at the point [where] the violence and chaos of our story and of the period became both so deadly and absurd on a real level — the UFO manifests that kind of absurdity in our story. There are two things that I felt gave me permission to use it: The Coens had used a UFO as a conceit in The Man Who Wasn’t There. A lot of the imagery had been there. That movie, of course, took place in a much earlier time period. But also the fact that in 1979, two years after Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars, it was very much in the Zeitgeist — after the kind of crazy political upheavals of the '70s where everyone realized that the conspiracy really did go all the way to the top, and that sense of paranoia in American life was so heightened. It literally felt like you couldn’t trust anything, even the skies.”