Post Mortems
Fargo Season 2 Hanzee Identity

Fargo Boss Talks Hanzee's Season 1 Identity, Defends the Use of UFOs and Narrows Down Setting for Season 3

After making murderous mayhem in the years 2006 and then 1979, Season 3 of FX’s Fargo will be set in 2010, showrunner Noah Hawley has confirmed.

Inching closer to the present, he said during a Tuesday press call, will allow the series to juxtapose itself against today’s “selfie-oriented culture where people photograph what they’re eating” — “a social dynamic that is antithetical to the Lutheran pragmatism of the [North Dakota] region.”

As for whether there will be connective tissue between the new season and any preceding ones — akin to how Lou (and Molly) Solverson figured into the first two runs, how the “Sioux Falls Massacre” referenced in Season 1 played out in Season 2, and how Season 2’s Hanzee evolves into Season 1’s Mr. Tripoli — Hawley said, “We didn’t really tee up the story of Season 3 within the body of Season 2,” then added: “None of the main characters from our first year will be back for our third.”

Season 3 will likely premiere in April 2017, allowing the series to film on location for a full winter, staring late next year. (And while it seems a long ways off, it actually matches the 18-month span between the Season 1 and 2 premieres.)

Other topics covered during the Season 2 finale “post mortem” call:

* On the decision to have Hanzee get “a new face” and one day become crime boss Moses Tripoli (who is glimpsed during Season 1), Hawley said, “I liked the idea that Hanzee emerges from this story as a winner on some level, that this is an origin story for him as much as it is for Molly. And if we did our job right, there could be a sort of double-realization… that this character grows up to be a character from the first season, and… is [now] dead.”

* One theory batted around by a few — that Hanzee was Otto Gerhardt’s son via the cook — was “never my idea,” Hawley made clear. Rather, after being taken out of his home and “educated in a Western style,” “Hanzee probably rebelled against that and gravitated toward the frontier streets of Fargo.” Some time later, “Otto had come across him” and took Hanzee off the streets.

* Defending the decision to not only evoke but outright show an alien spacecraft in Season 2, Hawley said, “There’s something about the idea — certainly as we used it in the ninth hour — that the violence and the chaos of our story and of the period became so deadly and absurd on a real level that the UFO manifests that sense of absurdity.” Plus, he said, “There are two things that I felt gave me permission: the first was that the Coens [who created the movie Fargo] had used a UFO in The Man Who Wasn’t There, so  a lot of that imagery had been there. But also the fact that in 1979, two years after Close Encounters and Star Wars, it was very much in the zeitgeist. And after the crazy political upheavals of the ’70s, where everyone realized that a conspiracy really did go all the way to the top, you realized you couldn’t trust anything — even the skies.”

FARGO-season-2-finale-tolman-hanks* Rounding up Season 1 stars Allison Tolman (who “was on another continent making a Christmas movie”), Colin Hanks (now on Life in Pieces) and Keith Carradine (Madam Secretary‘s POTUS) for the finale’s dreamy cameo “wasn’t that complicated,” Hawley said. “There were some logistics, but everyone was really eager” — though they were “forced” to first watch the first episode of Season 2, “because it is so different,” Hawley explained. Once reunited in front of the camera, “They fell back into their old rhythms… and I think there was a nostalgia for ‘putting the band back together,'” the show boss reported.


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  1. Prish says:

    Brilliant! Nothing is perfect, and it is better to choose the flaw as an artist, something that reflects real life. The husband never watches scifi stuff, and he was blown away by that scene as the greatest entertainment he’s gotten all year. Flinging up his arms, he said, “They saw this earth and its people and didn’t want anything to do with it!” Myself, I saw some courage to include something that so many people experienced, whatever the source or the brain’s interpretation. Of course, I’m the one that has read thousands of scifi stories. I saw common sense, and he saw another world. Funny isn’t it?

  2. Paul says:

    This season started out good, but I lost interest around episode 5 or 6. Probably won’t watch season 3.

  3. g says:

    for anyone reading this who hasn’t seen Fargo – s1 or s2 – definitely watch both seasons – they’re great and as the article states both seasons are independent of each other with different casts & stories and it actually doesn’t matter what order you watch either season

    it’s genius really & definitely one of the best shows on tv right now

  4. Marie Hutchinson says:

    Kirsten Dunst should get an Emmy for her performance this season. I loathed her! Not sure about the spaceship. It certainly surprised me. I don’t think it really added anything, unless you’re going somewhere with it next season. As for the season in general, once again it was my favorite show. I love dark humor, am the Coens’ biggest fan, and am excited for next season. BRAVO!!

  5. Chloe says:

    I was really hoping Molly would be back for Season 3. :(

  6. smartysenior says:

    I wish the network would give us re-runs of both seasons during the next year. l8 months is a long time and I would love to see season one again. A lot of shows wind up re-running somewhere why not this one?

  7. Kansas Blutbad says:

    I loved this season. The finale was a disappointment. Nothing really happened. Peggy Jail. Lou home. Wife OK for now. Milligan gets Vic Makey(The Shield) desk job. Ted Danson ok. Hanzee new face and beyond.Eh?

  8. Paulette says:

    I haven’t seen anyone referencing the “Selectric” typewriter on Milligan’s desk when he makes it to corporate.

  9. Rick says:

    No way awesome, very disappointing, terrific up to the last episode.

  10. CL Patches says:

    So ummm where’d Lou’s limp come from? He alleged it happened in Sioux Falls but apparently not this time. I was on pins and needles when he decided to get out the patrol car to phone home to his wife. I just knew he’d get a long range bullet in the leg or something. Nope. When Peggy rushes out of the freezer and Lou detains her but, fails to secure her ice pick I thought “Did they ever say it was a gunshot? Maybe he was ice picked!” Nope. Season three won’t reveal it who knows maybe it was all that UFO radiation gave him knee cancer or something

    • The Dave says:

      It’s mentioned in Season 1 in a scene with Lou and Molly at the diner I believe (don’t quote me on that), but one of them states that Lou got the injury during a traffic stop, not during the Sioux Falls massacre. I was waiting to see this event as well until catching the traffic stop comment report watching s1. Idk how I got in my head it happened at sioux falls

  11. afan says:

    People who were adults in 1979 know that UFO stories were considered news enough to end up on page one. Likely below the fold, but still, there was still a general feeling that it just might be real. I saw the UFO as similar to the great 1979 license plates- something to ground the season in the ’70s.

  12. PeterCann says:

    Loved the series, however the last episode was disappointing. Left me feeling flat which the final episode of series one did not.

  13. Joe says:

    What happened to Peggy at the end? Prison or Hollywood ?

  14. John Bridge says:

    If being a “true story” justifies [now there’s the best on TV] such a urine-poor ending, then “okay.” Nahhh, nothing justifies the crappy ending, making me feel sorry I wasted a whole season on this dreg!

  15. Bret says:

    I enjoyed the season very much, but the UFO backdrop, and full manifestation in episode 9, was just a little too bizarre to enjoy. It was annoying that it was never explained or given a clear context, the way the Sheriff”s made-up language was, and the story was plenty good, and enjoyably quirky, without the bizarre and cryptic UFO theme. I hope season 3 doesn’t have something like it, and just focuses on the entertaining, original characters and story.