The story took a huge leap forward on Fargo Season 1 Episode 8, as the FX drama transitioned forward a full year.
Executive Producer Noah Hawley spoke to reporters on a call to discuss the decision behind the time jump, Molly's pregnancy, an important homage to the movie... and what a second season would look like.
Read on for edited excerpts from the conference call.
What went into the decision to do the time jump forward? Why was that important to finish out the story?
I liked the idea that it felt like a real-life thing because obviously if these cases aren't solved quickly, often they're not solved at all or the case goes cold and then something new happens. I liked that idea, but it wasn’t until I literally slept on it and woke up the next morning and thought, "Well, she's pregnant, that’s why we're doing it."
We're doing it because in that year, things have happened to her personally where she and Gus are now married and she's pregnant and suddenly it is the movie in a way, like you watch this whole thing thinking oh, it's kind of like the movie but it's not the movie, but then the minute that she's pregnant again, you think wait a minute, now it is the movie in this strange way.
It's always very important to me to try to create a story that feels unpredictable like you can't jump ahead and see what's coming, but at the end, when you’ve watched the whole thing, it all feels inevitable. So, it's a tricky line, but I did feel like once the pregnancy thing came to my head that the time jump felt justified on every level, and it allows us to sort of move all the characters forward and to move Lester forward to see his transformation complete and where he ends up and the kind of guy he is now as well as for Molly and Gus, and then, for Malvo.
Is there a showdown between him and Lorne in the future?
Well, it certainly looks like that at the end as they're, for the first time, in the room again. I found it really interesting to - the first episode is all about these two guys and then they're never in a room again until this point... Bringing them together now in episode eight, I think hopefully it gives everyone exactly what they’ve been hoping for all along.
On the time jump's homage to the movie:
But the time jump was really - it was created, and if you saw the script, you would see. We have that moment where Molly and Gus get into bed, it's a year later and she tells him that they're doing good and he goes to sleep and they're watching TV and the camera drops down through the bedding.
If it feels like that’s the end of the movie, well that’s on purpose. I purposely wanted to create a moment in Episode 8 that literally mimicked the end of the movie so that everyone thought, "Wait a minute, I thought there were two of these left, is that it, is that where it's ending?" And then, drop down through and create a sort of disorienting moment where suddenly you're in Las Vegas and it's some sales conference and it's not until we reveal Lester Nygaard that you realize, "Oh yeah, we haven't seen where Lester is a year later, and look, he's winning this award." Then bring him into direct contact with Malvo again in the same room and just leave people with that.
I think that the year jump was both to move the story forward and also to sort of say maybe it's an epilogue. Maybe we're like a year later and actually she's doing pretty good and she's still thinking about it, but they got everything they need.
On the show's connection to the movie:
I liked the idea that it was just a story that felt like [the movie] but actually had no connection to it, and then, as you get deeper into it, you found that there was a connection actually and that Stavros found the money that [Steve] Buscemi buried at the end of the movie, and you realize that, wait a minute, this story is even tangentially connected to the movie, I think is really fun.
What would a second season of Fargo look like?
It would look like a new movie really. I think if we were to do it again, you would see a new movie with new characters but one that might have some connection either to the first season or to the original movie, just not in a way hopefully that you can predict or expect.