This was a "TBD" panel on FX's TCA schedule and, given the opinions, my guesses were down to either a "Partners" panel with Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence or a "Fargo" renewal panel. Since "Partners" premieres early next month and Grammer and possibly Lawrence (I didn't see him, so I don't know) were at last night's FOX/FX party, that wouldn't have seemed to require "TBD" mystery.
And, indeed, FX began the morning by announcing a "Fargo" renewal and John Landgraf demurred on several questions about Season 2 specifics, saying that Noah Hawley and Warren Littlefield would have more details later.
Don't expect THAT many details, but follow along...
4:45 p.m. This is our panel of the day. "Sons of Anarchy" had a fine panel previously that Geoff Berkshire will be writing up for us and, in fact, he's probably doing that as I type.
4:50 p.m. The second installment of "Fargo" isn't likely to come back until *next* fall at the earliest. That's a long time.
4:51 p.m. The first question is about whether the cold and winter are essential to the "Fargo" DNA. "I think that it's definitely a character in the show," Hawley says, but he wants to see what the area is like at different times as well. "Because we like mosquitos," he cracks. But the region is certainly a character. He jokes, "Believe me, we would do "Fargo: Honolulu' if we could get away with it, but we can't."
4:53 p.m. The same question about the Coen Brothers and their blessing for the script that Hawley has answered dozens of times. But apparently they've told Joel Coen that they're doing it again. "He said, 'Are you going to film in the same weather?' We said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Awww. I'm so sorry."
4:54 p.m. Hawley isn't going to write all the episodes this time around. He mentions the four writers who helped break the story the first time around. He expects to write five or six scripts, though. He says that all of the references to Sioux Falls weren't accidentally. The season will take place in 1979. There will be stories in Fargo, Luverne and Sioux Falls.
4:56 p.m. It will again be a fabricated story. "It's about creating truthiness out of falsehoods and a lot of that has to do with the way that the story unfolds, because truth is stranger than fiction," Hawley says.
4:57 p.m. Hawley jokes that these are all of the "Fargo" versions are chapters in a book he titles, "The History of True Crime in the Midwest." He likes the idea that these things are connected "whether it's linearly or literally or thematically."
4:58 p.m. The season will focus on a Young Lou Solversson. Hawley says he called Allison Tolman this morning and told her that unless she can play a four-year-old version of herself, she won't be in this season "which is a crime and a tragedy and you should all be very angry at us for doing that." So Lou will be a 33-year-old man recently back from Vietnam. We'll meet Molly's mom and we may learn why she wasn't in this past season. [I've already told Sepinwall and already tweeted: Joel Kinnaman is my pick for Young Lou. Look at pictures of Young Keith Carradine. It's too good not to do.]
5:00 p.m. Hawley says "Fargo," "A Serious Man" and "No Country For Old Men" were the three Coen Brothers movies that influenced the first season and says the second season will be influenced by "Fargo," "Miller's Crossing" and "The Man Who Wasn't There." And he urges you to speculate online about what that means.
5:02 p.m. Littlefield says that Billy Bob Thornton's presence gave them permission to play in this Coen Brothers world. "I think a lot of people are going to want to be around and are going to want to play in the 'Fargo' sandbox in Season 2," Littlefield says. "They might be household names," Littlefield suggests, noting that all manner of stars are interested in TV for 10 hours. "We're very close to landing Colin Farrell for a role in the second season," Hawley cracks.
5:03 p.m. "It was a brilliant turn on Ryan's part and he owns it," Hawley says of doing a "Fargo" rep company. He says that he gets hung up on the actors and it becomes difficult for him to get into the world. He wants people to tune in without expectations about the rep cast.
5:04 p.m. "It's the Best of America versus the Worst of America. Yes, we have problems, but look who's solving them," Hawley says of his original pitch on what the DNA of "Fargo" is. "What's exciting is not having those boundaries or rules," he says. FX won't dictate needing a Billy Bob Role or a Molly. "Hopefully what was exciting about watching that first season was not being able to predict" what was going to happen on a plot level or a structure level, Hawley says. "I think the most important element to our DNA is tone," Littlefield says, calling that more important than weather or whatever.
5:06 p.m. "There was that sense, I think, that this war had come home with people and the violence and brutality of it," Hawley says of the new "Fargo" time period, that Lou's character went to war and brought the war back with him.
5:07 p.m. Hawley says that he never thought of doing a different Coen Brothers movie for a second season. "It's not my goal in life to be a third Coen Brother or to follow along behind them and be like, 'I've got a really great idea for 'Llewyn Davis: The Series,'" says Hawley. He doesn't know what the second season will be called, but he's willing to joke, "The subtitle will be 'Fargo: Backlash' and I look forward to all of your reviews."
5:10 p.m. Retelling the story of the show's genesis again. Been there. Done that.
5:12 p.m. Will they be back in Calgary to shoot? "We will be going back to Calgary and that's where we'll be based. We really have quite a large area in and around Calgary to explore that we haven't explored," Littlefield promises. The base will be Calgary and they'll create a world in and around that.
5:13 p.m. "She should be in everything anybody ever makes as far as I'm concerned," Hawley says of Tolman. He calls the idea of Tolman playing Molly's mother might be a little gimmicky, but he isn't ruling it out.
5:16 p.m. They had lots of cinematic rules for "Fargo" based on Coen Brothers cinematic rules. They wanted to tell the story with the camera and so many of the visuals were scripted on the page. Hawley wants to point out that they had literally half of the days to shoot each episode that "True Detective" had.
5:18 p.m. Somebody in the room didn't understand the "More shades of green" riddle. Anywho...
5:19 p.m. They had different color schemes in each city. They haven't figured out what the colors will be in the next season.
5:19 p.m. There will be a four-year-old version of Molly. "There's nothing more fun than working with very small children on a film set," Hawley jokes. Will there be other Solverssons we meet? Betsy Solvverson's father is sheriff of the county and he'll be a character.
5:22 p.m. A question about last year's Canadian Winter. Are they building any contingencies into the scripts to avoid another Polar Vortex. "Well, I'm not writing another blizzard episode. That's for sure," Hawley says. But he says they only lost one day of production. They're starting production in January.
5:24 p.m. Hawley says they won't build a second season around allegories or Midrash or Zen koan, but he says that certain themes are already coming. He doesn't want to turn the things that were original about the first season into repeated tropes. "You can't surprise people the same way twice," he says.
5:26 p.m. The first season, they had a crazy post-production schedule. "I would like not to do that again," Hawley says. Littlefield says that production will go deep into May and so they probably won't new able to premiere until fall. "We'll be ready to serve whenever they want it," Littlefield says.
That was actually pretty interesting and substantive... I expected much more vagueness!