“Due to the postponement of production related to the coronavirus, the fourth installment of FX’s award-winning limited series ‘Fargo’ will no longer premiere on Sunday, April 19th,” FX Networks said in a statement. “A new premiere date will be determined once production resumes.”
The news comes as a blow not just to fans of the series (inspired by the eponymous 1996 comedy thriller from the Coen Brothers) who’ve patiently waited nearly three years for the show to return, but also to awards pundits expecting the Noah Hawley project to contend at the Emmy Awards this year.
It’s a huge blow for the series, which has lined up a dynamite cast for its fourth go-round, with Chris Rock headlining, alongside Jason Schwartzman, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw, and Timothy Olyphant. FX’s official synopsis summarizes the season to come as follows: “In Kansas City, Missouri, two criminal syndicates have struck an uneasy peace. One Italian, one African-American. Together they control an alternate economy — that of exploitation, graft and drugs. This too is the history of America. To cement their peace, the heads of both families have traded their youngest sons.” All in all, a seemingly perfect set-up for a show always precariously balanced on a knife’s edge of sardonic nihilism and unflinching sincerity.
While there’s nothing that confirms that “Fargo” will definitely miss the eligibility window come May 31, it would take an act of God (which would be in full keeping with the show’s larger thematic elements) in May to make it happen.
The series was pushing the limits of the eligibility window already, with its original April 19 release date meaning it would have aired seven of the season’s 10 episodes before the deadline. So, per Emmy eligibility rules, as long as the other three were made available to TV Academy voters — if not the general public — by May 31, the whole of the season would have been eligible to compete in this year’s Emmy race. Given that COVID-19 has ground production in Hollywood (and around the world) to a stop, it’s unclear when “Fargo,” with two episodes left to film, would be able to complete filming on its season, much less begin finalizing those later episodes for Academy distribution.
It’s an announcement from the industry likely to be repeated in the days and weeks to come, as the aftershocks from the global pandemic continue to rumble. Any non-completed contender that aimed to finalize filming in the next few months is now between a rock and a quarantined place, a heretofore unrealized obstacle to those trying to synchronize their release schedule with the Emmy calendar.
It’s a matter of less concern for those projects that have completed filming and are primarily occupied with post-production, much of which can be done safely within the lonely confines of social distancing.
And while “Fargo” is likely not for this Emmy season, there’s plenty of reason to believe that fans will still see it at some point this year. With eight episodes already filmed, it’s not so much a question of if it will be released, so much as it is a matter of when.