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'Fargo' Season 2 to Be a Period Piece Inspired By Coen Brothers' 'Miller's Crossing' & 'The Man Who Wasn't There'

Photo of Ben Travers By Ben Travers | Indiewire July 22, 2014 at 10:37AM

Three Coen Brothers films will inspire the second season of "Fargo," which is expected to air in the fall of 2015.
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Billy Bob Thornton in FX's "Fargo"
Billy Bob Thornton in FX's "Fargo"

We only just learned Monday morning that there would even be a second season of FX's hit miniseries "Fargo," but by the end of the day we knew when it would take place, some of the returning characters, the inspirations and much more about the second season. Noah Hawley shared many details on the anticipated follow-up to this year's Emmy-nominated thriller at a "secret" panel discussion with executive producer Warren Littlefield at the TCAs (it wasn't announced until FX revealed the existence of Season 2). Check out everything we now know below:

READ MORE: FX Passes on Charlie Kaufman TV Pilot 'How & Why': Is He Too Smart For TV?

Season 2 will focus on the story of Sioux Falls.

"If you were paying attention to Season 1, you know we made a lot of references to Sioux Falls," Hawley said. "That was deliberate. That wasn't an accident. So what this next 10-hour movie is going to be is the story of Sioux Falls."

In the first season, we learned Gus' (Colin Hanks) boss, Ben Schmidt, had an unfortunate incident in Sioux Falls that was never explained, where bodies stacked up "two stories high." Who was he with? Well, Lou Solverson, Molly's father who managed the diner after he retired from the force. Could the bloody event be what the '70s set story is all about? In a word, yes.

The story will take place in 1979 and include characters from the first season.

"The movie will take place in 1979," Hawley said. "It will take place mostly around Laverne, Minnesota, Fargo, and, of course, Sioux Falls." 

The main character Hawley confirmed would return for Season 2 is Lou, played by Keith Carradine in Season 1. The actor won't be returning, seeing as the time setting is almost 30 years before the events of the first season, but it will prove interesting to see what casting will go through to find a look-a-like who can also imitate Carradine's hardened, but lovable persona. And hardened he most likely will be, seeing as Hawley said the police officer will be recently returned from duty in Vietnam.

Other characters confirmed to return are Lou's father-in-law and Duluth police lieutenant Ben Schmidt, played by Peter Breitmayer in Season 1, who Hawley said "will factor in there somewhere" (obviously, since he was part of the aforementioned event). Molly Solverson and her mother will also be characters, but don't expect to see Allison Tolman reprise her star-making role: Little Molly will only be four years old in Season 2, which means...

Allison Tolman won't be returning (and neither will the rest of the cast).

Obviously, many characters died in the first season of "Fargo," a fact not worth noting when we all thought it was going to be a one-off miniseries. Now that there's going to be more events near the Great White North, critics were curious if anyone would be coming back. Hawley said Season 2 would feature a whole new cast, but some characters would return as younger versions of themselves. Conversation quickly turned to newcomer and crowd favorite Allison Tolman.

"She should be in everything anybody ever makes as far as I'm concerned," Hawley said, echoing the sentiments of many who watched Tolman's empathetic performance in the first season of "Fargo." He went as far as to call Tolman Monday morning before the announcement to tell her, before saying her lack of involvement in Season 2 "is a crime and a tragedy and you all should be very angry [about it]."

Later, a critic asked if Hawley had considered using Tolman to play Molly's mother. "It seems a little gimmicky to me," Hawley said. "I would like nothing more than to see the continuing adventures of Molly and Gus, but I felt it would be disingenuous [...] to give her another crazy case." 

"Fargo" Season 2 will be inspired by "Miller's Crossing," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and, of course, "Fargo."

Noah Hawley said the first season was inspired by three movies from the Coen Brothers, and he confirmed Season 2 would follow suit. "So if the three movies that influenced Season 1 were 'Fargo,' 'No Country For Old Men,' and 'A Serious Man,' this year we are in 'Fargo,' 'Miller's Crossing,' and "The Man Who Wasn't There.' So let the internet speculation begin."

Obviously, the period piece nature of Season 2 alludes to the two new films (though it's funny Billy Bob Thornton won't be returning in Season 2, despite starring in one of the season's inspirations). What other elements could be of note? "Miller's Crossing" told the story of warring mobs, indicating a possible explanation for all those bodies stacking up in Sioux Falls. "The Man Who Wasn't There" dealt with another poorly-conceived plan regarding a husband and wife who aren't exactly a loving couple. Hmm...sounds vaguely familiar. 

Noah Hawley will not write every episode of Season 2.

"You know, I'm not going to write all the episodes this time," Hawley said. "I had four writers I worked with on the first go round who helped me break all the episodes, and then I went off to write them because I had the time to write all 10 of them. But, you know, these writers I worked with -- Bob De Laurentiis, Steve Blackman and Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert -- these are great writers who contributed so much to the first season it would be unfair not to let them write episodes in the second season."

"I'll probably write five or six," Hawley added. "We're just starting to break that story for Season 2 now."

We may get to see what "Fargo" looks like in the summer.

"I'm not writing another blizzard episode, that's for sure."

Production on Season 1 was incredibly difficult on the cast and crew, with conditions reaching wretched temperatures for anyone not raised in the Arctic. So will the second season see a seasonal change?

"I think we're beginning to earn the right to explore that," Hawley said regarding seeing the Fargo area during a different time of year. "I think moving forward it would be fun to start in a wintery environment and then maybe switch over during the course of the season. Or, if we do a third one of these [seasons], come back and see summer in Fargo." 

"Believe you me, we would do Fargo, Honolulu, if we could," Hawley said. 

Don't expect to see Season 2 until Fall 2015 (at the earliest).

As stated earlier in the day when FX renewed "Fargo" for a second season, the FX team reiterated when fans should expect to see the second season -- and it won't be for at least a year. Production is slated to begin in January 2015 and go "deep into May," meaning a Fall 2015 release would be right on schedule. The timing would still coincide with the winter months, as the first season did, even if we may see another season in the Fargo universe this go 'round. 

FX is seriously jealous of "True Detective."

There were so many references made to HBO's smash freshman series, you would think FX was competing directly against it for most of its Emmys.

Earlier in the day, CEO Jon Landgraf, who's admitted to losing out on his bid for "True Detective" to HBO, referenced the show by saying its creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto has to prove he can write a second season as good as the first whereas Hawley does not, a not-so-hidden dig at Pizzolatto's work on the disappointing first season of AMC's "The Killing" (though that show remarkably has made it to a fourth season thanks to Netflix). 

During Hawley's presentation, he joked that "Fargo" was close to casting Colin Farrell for Season 2, another obvious jab at rumors surrounding casting on "True Detective" -- casting that's not nearly as exciting as previous rumors made it out to be. Is the network preparing for a face off at next year's Emmys, where HBO's non-miniseries could switch categories if it's unsuccessful in its bids to win as a drama series in 2014? Or is Landgraf's company still smarting from its failed bid for the landmark crime drama? It certainly added another dramatic element to Monday's FX presentation. 

This article is related to: Fargo, Fargo, Noah Hawley, FX, FX, Television





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