While it stopped short of being an absolute guarantee, Fargo creator Noah Hawley says the plan is to return to Alberta to shoot Season 3 of FX’s critically acclaimed, darkly comic crime series.
Hawley made the remarks Tuesday morning in a conference call with journalists alongside FX president John Landgraf and executive producers Warren Littlefield and John Cameron.
“It’s certainly our plan to,” Hawley says. “We’ve had a great production experience up there for both seasons and have trained our crew and our departments to make the show Fargo and certainly our goal is to come back and do it again.”
It’s the first time anyone has commented on whether the Emmy-winning series will return to the region. Last month, FX announced the show would return for a third season but would not confirm whether Alberta would be the location, as it was for the first two seasons.
Season 2 was shot in Calgary, Didsbury, Fort Macleod and High River, among other spots.
Hawley said production on Season 3 likely won’t start until November of 2016 and will air in the spring of 2017.
“It’s a winter show, for better or worse, ” he said. “There is not time to shoot another year before this winter is over … I think one of the strengths of the show is that we separate the writing from the production and we really take the time and we write the whole story and write eight of the 10 hours at least and we end up there knowing exactly what we’re doing and exactly what the whole story is. We are going through the writing process now.”
Hawley said he has written the first hour of the third season, which will take place in 2010. But he denied that main characters from Season 1, which took place in 2006, will be featured prominently in the new season. There had been some speculation that the first season’s protagonist, Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) might return.
“As much as I love those actors and those characters, the danger of bringing them back and putting them through their paces for another crazy case is that the artifice of the whole thing becomes too clear and suddenly it just feels we’re doing it because it’s fun and we like them, but we’ve broken our own rules,” he said. “That’s not to say that one of our stories might not intersect with characters we’ve seen before for a certain period of time. But I don’t think we can say that two years later, Molly gets a phone call and you’ll never believe what happened and here we go again.”
Season 2 of Fargo, which starred Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Jean Smart and Ted Danson, was set in 1979 and told the story of a turf war between a rural crime family and the Kansas City syndicate. Wilson played state trooper Lou Solverson, who was a supporting character in Season 1 played by Keith Carradine.
While Hawley did not reveal any plot points or cast for Season 3, he did offer a hint of what one of the themes will be.
“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 and 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,” he says. “It feels like a social dynamic that is very antithetical to the sort of Lutheran pragmatism of the region. I like the idea of setting these very pragmatic and humble people against a culture of narcissism and see what that generates story-wise.”
Judging from early best-of-2015-lists by television critics, Landgraf said Fargo is emerging as the most critically acclaimed series for a second year. The first season of Fargo was nominated for 18 Emmys and picked up three wins, including for best miniseries. Last week, the second season was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, including one for best miniseries and acting nods for Dunst and Wilson.
“The challenge is enormous,” says Littlefield. “We don’t go back to any standing sets. We don’t go back to existing cast members. Everyone comes with such excitement and dedication up to Calgary for the winter with this sense that there’s this brief period in their lives where they don’t know if the material will ever be as good as it is today. Everyone just jumps in. It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, it doesn’t matter what we’re up against. There’s this wonderful sense that everyone brings to it of ‘We’re making Fargo.'”