Post Mortems

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

Fargo Season 2 Hanzee Identity

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.