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The Film

Jerry Lundegaard owes money to the Kansas City syndicate.
It's strongly implied that he's in deep with the wrong people, which is what sets the whole plot in motion. But who are the wrong people? The Kansas City syndicate took over the northwest underworld in Season 2, which takes place in 1979, and the film is set in 1987. Ronald Reagan appears in the season, and, because he was a big friend of corporate America, it's likely that the Kansas City syndicate flourished during his presidency, which ended in 1989, and was probably replaced by Moses Tripoli's Fargo-based mob sometime in the 90s. Jerry's a pathetic milquetoast, and yet he tries to defraud GMAC out of $320,000, and, when that fails, seeks the help of a parolee to put him in touch with violent criminals to hold his wife, with whom he appears to be happily married, for ransom.

The soap opera actor isn't Bruce Campbell, it's Ronald Reagan.
Bruce Campbell plays Ronald Reagan in Season 2, and Ronald Reagan was an actor.

The Series

Lorne Malvo can be seen as the Devil; The Fargo Syndicate, God; and by extension the hit men Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench are the Archangels Michael and Gabriel.
The Rabbi called Malvo "Se'irim", or Demon, when threatened by him. If we consider Malvo the devil, his actions in blackmailing Stavros have interesting implications for the man who believes The found riches to be a sign from God. Malvo kills good and bad people indiscriminately, and moved Lester down the path towards darkness by offering to kill Sam Hess. Not to mention his uncanny ability to deceive others like when he pretends to be Frank Peterson at Duluth PD or his penchant for leading others astray, like convincing the teenager to pee in the manager's gas tank.

Inversely, lets look at Numbers and Wrench. They will kill those who they truly believe to be evil; such as Lenny, who threatened to stab them. They need to make sure that Lester is the person who killed Hess before they kill him and once Lester convinces them he didn't kill Hess they lose interest in the more visibly innocent Lester and move on to their new target.

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  • To reinforce this theory, there are several points where the series implies a supernatural element to Malvo. Where he describes Lou's apple pie as the best since the garden of Eden, when he strangles the Duluth PD officer and the lights flicker and short out for no reason, his seemingly uncanny ability to disappear without trace, when he kills his 'wife' and the dentist in the lift and the blood splatter appears to give him wings, and when he visits Mr Wrench in hospital and talks to him, and Mr Wrench appears to hear him.

    • ...You do realise deaf people can read lips, right? I mean, Wrench was able to tell what Mr. Numbers and Molly were saying, too.

At least one character from the movie will make a cameo.
  • Sort of confirmed, if Carl Showalter's stash of money counts as a character.
  • Sort of confirmed even more with Stan Grossman being namedropped in Season 3.
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The original movie's opening theme will play at some point during the series finale (Theme Music Withholding)
  • Confirmed

More cast members from The Unusuals will appear in season 2.
  • Two main cast members from Noah Hawley's previous show The Unusuals appeared in the first season, and more will likely appear in the second. Perhaps Amber Tamblyn will play Molly's mother.
    • Confirmed. Kai Lennox (Detective Eddie Alvarez) cameos as Kellerman, the king of the Fargo underworld who killed Dieter Gerhardt in 1951 and is killed in revenge by his son and grandson in a movie theater. And Terry Kinney (Sgt. Brown) appears as the police chief of Fargo.

An Expy of The Dude, or Walter will appear.
  • Season one showed that it was willing to use expies not just of characters from the Fargo film, but from other Coen Brothers' films, most notably Malvo being an expy of Anton Chigurh. Perhaps at some point a Midwestern version of the leads from The Big Lebowski will appear.

The Indian in the Season 2 trailer is Shep Proudfoot.
  • Jossed. He's an original character named Hanzee Dent.

Season Three will be set during the fracking boom.
  • Season Two is set in 1979, and season one was set in 2006-2007, just before the Great Recession began. Perhaps the third season will be set during the fracking boom of the early 2010s. It saw a huge migration of workers into the upper Midwest and saw towns boom, and even boomtowns to appear. That migration would allow Hawley to work in shadier elements. And the setting would be able to tap into hot topics of the time — anti-government movements, unemployed youth, etc.
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  • Confirmed as far as the time period goes.

Season Three will follow a much older and jaded Jerry Lundegaard.
  • Jerry will be released from prison and attempt to reconnect with his son, Scotty, who has followed in his father's footsteps and runs his own dealership. Scotty, however, doesn't want anything to do with Jerry, blaming him for getting his mother and grandfather killed, even going so far as to use Jean's maiden name, Gustafson, both to disassociate himself from the Lundegaard name and honor Jean and Wade.
  • Jossed. It will follow two brothers, Emmit and Ray Stussy.

A future season will be partially based on True Grit.
  • It will be set in a Minnesota Nice version of the wild west and may involve the Native American massacre that the Ronald Reagan movie seen at the beginning of "Waiting for Dutch" was based on in-universe.
    • According to Word of God, the Fargo franchise can be seen as individual chapters from "the history of organized crime in the mid west", with season 2 being chapter 2 of the book. The implication was that chapter 1 was the origin of the Gerhardt family fortune, but with how bleak and desolate things in the region would have been at the height of the dust bowl, great depression, and prohibition, True Grit wouldn't be a bad comparison.
    • Here's the quote from Showrunner Noah Hawley: “I like the idea that somewhere out there is a big, leather-bound book that’s the history of true crime in the Midwest, and the movie was Chapter 4, Season 1 was Chapter 9 and [Season 2] is Chapter 2." Any true crime (not just organized crime) story could take place as far back as 1871, when the city Fargo was founded. 30s era stuff would actually be closer to O Brother, Where Art Thou? or Barton Fink, which are also potential inspirations for future seasons. With the show's creative team remixing Fargo with other Coen Brothers movies, anything from Raising Arizona to Burn After Reading to The Big Lebowski (as another troper mentions above) and anything in between is fair game.
    • Bonus points for featuring the first Solversons to come to the Midwest as characters.

Bear Gerhardt's gonna die.
But it will be on his terms. Its a Call-Back to what Malvo said way back in Season 1, about killing a bear.
  • Pretty much nailed it. Bear is taken down during the Sioux Falls massacre during The Last Dance in a desperate bid to take down Lou Solverson.

The Men in Black are coming.
  • Word of God says the UFO mystery, whether it's legit or not, all plays into the culture of paranoia that was overtaking the country at the time. Because of the escalating problems caused by the waffle hut shooting (to the point that Lou later refers to the situation as the Ultimate Evil) and the approaching visit by Ronald Reagan, government agents (FBI and Secret Service for sure, CIA or NSA less likely) will descend upon the town, raising hackles among the more paranoid, conspiracy-minded of the locals.
    • I agree. As an extension of that theory:

Karl Weathers will be abducted/encountered/contacted by the aliens.
  • Considering how convinced Karl (Nick Offerman) is that everything is connected and that there is a conspiracy afoot, he is exactly the kind of person they'd feel free to talk with, remembering the principle established by Douglas Adams that they prefer to buzz "Some poor soul who no-one will ever believe".
    • Jossed, unfortunately.

Betsy Solverson or her father Hank Larson will be abducted by the aliens.
  • It seems to be foreshadowed by Hank's story about her protesting his eating an oyster he'd caught because "How would you like it if someone tore you ought of your home and ate you?". It could go either way who it happens to, but considering we don't know what happens to Betsy based on Season 1, and her terminal illness, it's more likely to be her. It might even occur during the scene described by Old!Lou in Season 1 when he guarded the house at night from imminent intruders - elaborating that "It wasn't a matter of 'who'. More like 'what'". After all, if he's out front, Young!Lou won't expect someone coming at them from above.
  • Jossed.

Mike Milligan is the Tom Reagan of the series in its basis in "Miller's Crossing".
  • As the "Missing Man", Rye is analogous to Bernie Baumbaum, Dodd to Johnny Caspar and Hanzee to the Dane, while Floyd is Leo. Like Tom, Mike will quickly see the value in playing different sides of the family feud against one another for fun and profit. There will probably be a sequence similar to Leo's "Danny Boy" sequence wherein Floyd defends Otto and her home from a hit.
  • Mike does lead an attack on the Gerhardt compound in a clear allusion to the scene, though Floyd does not have the chance to fight back.

Simone is out of her depth.
  • While she's competent enough in the crime business, her feeding Mike information will not be to her best interest. Mike has shown how savvy he is, and she will be gotten rid of as soon as possible. Mike remarks that her desire to become "Flower Rainblossom" would turn out to be a bad thing, since after the 60's that girl probably ended up a prostitute.
    • Confirmed, partly. Her plans unravel as soon as Mike drops her and Floyd suspects her treachery. Bear shoots her after her betrayal is confirmed.

Peggy dies as soon as she drops Ed.
  • As the story goes along, she's encouraged to become more selfish. But her selfishness lacks some self-awareness, since she doesn't realize thta she's getting away because Ed is coddling her and hasn't stepped up against her.
    • Jossed. Peggy survives and outlives Ed.

Ed becomes a hardened criminal by the time season 2 ends.
  • He'll be surprised at how good he is at killing people, and slowly comes to accept this as each kill gets easier for him.
    • Jossed: Ed dies at the end of the series, sticking with Peggy.

Lorne Malvo believe he and Lester are friends, in his own way.
  • It's obvious Lorne killed Sam Hess for personal reasons. This may be for his own thrills since he is a sociopath, but it's possible he saw something in Lester and wanted to do him a favor. He told Lester that Hess' death was for his benefit, so maybe he wasn't lying. When they meet, he tells him, "We're not friends but maybe we will be someday." He kills Hess so that Lester will be able to make something of himself or die (perhaps a mercy kill in his eyes). Lester does, indeed make a better life for himself, which was Malvo's purpose all along. When Lester confronts Malvo later, Malvo gives him several warnings and finally asks, "Is this what you want?". He asked the same question to Lester when he decided to kill Hess. He doesn't ask for permission from anyone else. He is sincere in asking Lester if he wants him to come after him as a way to test his manhood once more. He certainly loves the chase and likes a good Worthy Opponent as we saw when he spoke to Wrench in the hospital. To Malvo, he was doing him another favor by trying to kill him.

Malvo wanted to groom "cowardly" men as a way to pass on his lineage.
  • The show deals a lot with family themes. At first glance, Malvo would be the last character one might expect to carry this theme. He loved destroying lives and screwing with people for the hell of it. He was a cold blooded psychopath, but the way he deals with Lester and Gus is a bit different than how he deals with others. Gus and Lester are both very similar in that they back down from threats (Gus, to save his daughter and Lester, to save his own hide). He asks them questions and forces them to think about human nature. He also gives them warnings to "walk away", which he gives no one else. He doesn't want to kill them. He believes they're not worth killing as cowardly men, but if they step up to his challenges, he can groom them into killers themselves and pass on his lineage. In effect, he is creating sons. He tells Lester he is a man after Sam Hess dies and gives Gus a knowing smile when he shoots him. He is honestly proud of these men. That also explains the tapes of men he manipulated. It's a sort of family album. We know Lester has a tape, but we see no tapes for, say Stavros or his black mailer despite the fact he was playing mind games with both of them for several days. Also, I think if Gus had gone down the same path as Lester and Malvo was around to see it, he would have had a tape as well.

Ronald Reagan will be killed.
  • This is the show's chance for a TV show to finally assassinate Reagan. Similar to the film Inglourious Basterds, where Tarantino wasn't constrained by what actually happened so that he could show a monster who deserved to die brutally getting his head shredded by machine gun bullets, the same will happen here.
    • Jossed
      • Also: Jesus, Troper. Saying Reagan deserved to die horribly like Hitler is a bit much.

Season 3 will be set during Prohibition.
A mish mash of Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink and True Grit.
  • Jossed, Season 3 will be set in the present day.

Karl is an Abraham Lincoln fanboy.
Chin strap beard? Check. Love of rhetoric? Check. Libertarian? Check. Lawyer? Check.
  • This could also be Shout-Out to Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson who's a Teddy Roosevelt fanboy.

Hanzee is part Gerhardt.
  • He's been insulted by Dodd as a "halfbreed." Mayhaps its because he knows that Hanzee's father was Otto?
    • In the finale, Ricky implies Otto had a kid with the Gerhardt's Native American maid...
    • Jossed by Word of God.

Floyd will end up Outliving One's Offspring.
  • Not an especially difficult one, as by the end of "Loplop", she's down to one child. Plus Bear is the kind of war leader who likes to lead from the front, which doesn't bode well for his chances.
    • Almost. Bear outlives her by a matter of moments, both killed during the Sioux Falls massacre.

Martin Freeman will return in Season 3.
  • Playing the writer of the Midwest true crime book from "The Castle". Struggling with writer's block, he'll end up getting involved in one of the crimes he writes about. Allusions to Barton Fink will abound.

Peggy and/or Ed will take over the criminal operations left in the wake of the Gerhardt power vacuum.
  • Its in line with Peggy being all that she can be. And Ed just going along with her.
    • Jossed. Its Hanzee who becomes Mr. Tripoli, creating the Fargo syndicate.

Hanzee is the danger that Lou's waiting for in '79.
  • Its been setup that he feels responsible for the lives of Peggy and Ed. He'll manage to catch up to them, offer to protect them in their house and make a stand against Hanzee there
    • Confirmed. Lou doesn't exactly know who he's waiting for at the time, but, by season's end, it's clear that Hanzee was the "animal" he was talking about.

The remaining Kitchen brother will become Mr. Tripoli from Season 1.
  • I heard a theory online that Gale, the remaining Kitchen brother, will survive the season, but will end up taking the identity of Mr. Tripoli in order to evade getting killed for going rogue and take over the Fargo Crime Syndicate by Season 1. This is supported by the fact that in the promo for the finale, we see someone pulling out an ID that includes the name "Tripoli".
    • Jossed, while not stated outright, it's heavily implied that Hanzee is the one who becomes Mr. Tripoli now that the Gerhardts have been wiped out by his hand.

Season 3 will focus on younger characters to a greater extent.
Since it's gonna be set in 2010 and focus more on the "selfie culture". And who would be more perfect for the show's trademark Stupid Crooks than hormonal teens? Additionally, while Noah Hawley said Season 1's main characters would not be returning, that technically doesn't include Greta Grimley...

A future season will show the events of Rapid City.
In Season 1 Ben Schmidt mentioned the Souix Falls Massacre which ended up being shown in Season 2. In Season 2 during the massacre he says it's just like Rapid City in a horrified tone. A future season will be set earlier in the 70's and will feature younger versions Schmidt and Gibson and will show just what happened at Rapid City. The lead police character will probably be Schmidt's older and wiser partner and the whole thing will be set during Schmidt's last days in uniform or first days in plain clothes.

The U.F.O.s were nothing more than a stress-induced mass hallucination.
  • The U.F.O.s only show up after Rye committed 3 murders and was viciously assaulted, as well as the Sioux Falls massacre, where nearly everybody was shot. People in near-death experiences often talk about seeing lights at the end of tunnels, so it's easy to see how one could just as easily make it U.F.O.s shining down lights.

Peggy got a sex change and became Lorne Malvo
Peggy repeatedly blames her problems on being born a woman, and seems to have a serious hate for her allotted biological sex. She's also probably about to spend a significant amount of time in prison. What if while inside, or just after, she gets a sex change operation? After being released, he takes up a new identity and a new profession, based on the excitement and power he derived from his adventures in season 2. Best of all, unbeknownst to the audience or anyone involved, Peggy ultimately got revenge on Hanzee for killing Ed.
  • There's absolutely no indication that Peggy has any hate for her sex, only for the expectations and stereotypes unfairly put upon her by society as a result of it.

Mr. Wrench will reappear in Season 3
One of the biggest unanswered questions of Season 1 was what happened to Mr. Wrench after he escaped police custody at the hospital. Season 3, having been confirmed to be taking place a few years after Season 1, will show this by having him as a minor character. Given how the Fargo Syndicate was wiped out, and both Numbers (his best friend and translator) and Malvo (the man who he may have wanted revenge upon) are dead, he'll either be a listless wanderer who comes across the new season's events or an established criminal who somehow factors into the plot at one point.
  • Confirmed. Mr. Wrench reappears in episode 7 "The Law of Inevitability", sitting next to Nikki Swango on the prison bus and helping her throughout the rest of the season.

Mike Milligan will reappear in Season 3
Similar to the above theory, this one posits that the Kansas City Mafia member Mike Milligan will appear in Season 3. In his late sixties or early seventies by now, he will be lamenting the lackluster life he's led behind the desk instead of in the field. Through whatever means, he'll get involved in the plot of Season 3, either through association to one of the main characters or through sheer coincidence. Jumping at the chance to relive the short-lived thrills he had when facing the Gerhardts, Mike will involve himself with whatever criminal happenings are going on and end up influencing the plot in some shape or form.
  • Jossed. Mike Milligan is never mentioned, nor the Kansas City Mafia.

Someone else will find the money in Season 3.
Carl Showalter buried it back in 1987, and Stavros Milos found it. He buried it again in 2006, so it's still out there waiting to be found.
  • Jossed. The money is never found during the third season.

Season 3 will have an expy of Llewyn Davis.
The season is said to focus more on youth, so featuring a Brilliant, but Lazy Millennial musician wouldn't be inappropriate.
  • Jossed. While there certainly were a lot of expies in the season, a Llewyn Davis example wasn't one of them.

Season 3 will have one instance of someone sticking a finger up another person's butt.
In both prior seasons, there have been instances where somebody has stuck a finger up another person's behind (the first being Malvo and his girlfriend Jemma while Malvo was posing as a dentist, the second being when Mike Milligan and Simone Gerhardt had sex). The third season will continue the trend and involve another incident where some folks get anally acquainted.
  • Sort-of confirmed. While it's not a finger, the sex tape Nikki and Ray make to blackmail Emmit involves some anal play.

Ideas for future seasons.
  • The Wild West themed. The in-universe History of True Crime in the Mid West has 1825 as its starting year. The real-life city of Fargo was founded in 1871. The Season 2 premiere opens with a western film starring Ronald Reagan about an earlier Sioux Falls Massacre, one Hanzee later sees a memorial of that says 22 Sioux Indians were hanged in 1882. The show likes to remix the original Fargo movie with other Coen Brothers films, and they've made True Grit, which is a western. Also, it could show the ancestors of the Solversons settling in the region. Finally, the famous historical town of Deadwood, known for outlaws like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, is located in South Dakota. The town was the site of a massive flood in 1883, similar to the flood in another Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
  • Set during Prohibition. Chief Gibson mentions that his father was deputized by Eliot Ness. Though Ness was based in Chicago, it's possible that one of his Untouchables was dispatched further north. Fargo was also where Deiter Gerhardt happened to immigrate in 1931 (the same year Capone was arrested) and proceeded to turn a shoe shine box into a front for bootleg alcohol. Also: "Tommy-Gun bloodbaths and heads rollin' in the road" would make for great television. Season 2 already did some of Miller's Crossing, but not all of it, and it wasn't set during Prohibition, which ended in 1933. Furthermore, Mt. Rushmore, which is undoubtedly the most famous national landmark in the Dakotas, hasn't been featured yet and began construction in 1927.
  • Film Noir themed and set in the postwar 1940s. Could be inspired by the plot of Blood Simple., which is noir, and Barton Fink, which takes place during the war. It could include Kellerman, the character who appeared in a flashback to 1951 in Season 2, where he was killed by Dodd Gerhardt on Otto's orders for killing his father, Deiter. This could also be an opportunity for a cameo by a younger Hank Larsson coming back from the war, possibly hitchhiking back home like many veterans of the time.
  • Set in the present day. It could focus on a film crew making a movie based on the events of Fargo, which would make for plenty of self-referential humor and, with Hollywood actors being immersed in Minnesota Nice, Fish out of Water comedy. The season could take pieces from Barton Fink, The Ladykillers, and Hail, Caesar!, which all relate to the film industry in some way. It could also have nods to Kumiko The Treasure Hunter by having a character come looking for the money. Seeing as how Stavros Milos reburied it in 2006, it's possible that they might even find it. The only thing they know about Carl Showalter is that he's kinda funny lookin', which could lead to an audition with multiple actors who are funny looking in different ways, and ultimately casting someone who looks nothing like Steve Buscemi. This would also be a good opportunity for a cameo by one of the original characters being interviewed by their present day actor (possibly an imprisoned Gaear Grimsrud or an older Marge Gunderson).

Season 3 will have a musical number.
Both as an homage to Mushroom Samba scene from The Big Lebowski and a Shout-Out to Ewan Mc Gregor's role in Moulin Rouge!.

More actors from The Unusuals will appear in season 3
Two of them appeared in season one, another two showed up in season two. Noah Hawley clearly likes to use the actors from his old show, so we can expect more in the third season.

Nikki Swango will turn out to be the daughter of one of the characters from season 2
Season 3 is set in 2010 and Mary Elizabeth Winstead was 32 years old during filming, meaning that she is the right age play someone born in the late 1970s or early 1980s. Possibilities include:
  • Peggy Blumquist's daughter, the result of Someone to Remember Him By who changed her name to avoid the stigma of the Sioux Falls Massacre.
  • One of Dodd Gerhardt's unseen younger daughters who changed her name to distance herself from association with the familiy's criminal past.

Emmit Stussy's stamp was painted by Norm Gunderson
The stamp itself is already a Mythology Gag. They might take it even further by having it be Norm's three cent stamp from the film.

Thaddeus Mobley will be a reference to Barton Fink
It looks like the season is going to feature the character, who is a writer, in violent flashbacks set in Los Angeles in The '70s. This storyline will have a Fargo-ized remix of Barton Fink updated from The '40s.

Peter and the Wolf
The characters being associated with those from Peter and the Wolf may provide clues to the season's plot. So far, Emmit (bird) and Ray (duck) have been arguing, and Nikki (cat) has been trying to eat the Emmit (bird), true to the fairy tale. Now the predictions: To protect himself, Sy (grandfather) will try to stop Gloria (Peter) from looking too deeply into the company's finances and uncovering Varga (the wolf). Soon, Ray will become a problem for Varga, who will "eat" him. Emmit will end up siding with Gloria, and she will use him to lure Varga out into the open. Yuri (the hunter's shotguns, who apparently framed another man for murder in the 1988 German prologue and is incongruously a main cast member) will be revealed to be far more than he seems (like Hanzee), and will turn on Varga and attempt to kill him but will be stopped by Gloria, who will arrest Varga and send him to prison.
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