Television Academy voters got a fun surprise with the appearance of Damon Lindelof as the moderator of the “Fargo” FYC panel Thursday night, which makes sense as his HBO drama “The Leftovers” shares DNA with actress Carrie Coon. She stars in both FX’s “Fargo” and the current season of “The Leftovers.” The FYC panel consisted of show creator Noah Hawley, cast members Ewan McGregor, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Olivia Sandoval, and Coon, executive producer Warren Littlefield, and director John Cameron.

“Fargo” has the high-class problem of trying to top itself with each successive season and Hawley shared how Season 3 took shape. “I took a nap. I’m not joking. It usually starts with a scenario,” Hawley explained. “This time, it was there’s two brothers and they’re played by the same actor and their dad left them a car and a stamp collection.”

McGregor talked about playing dual roles in brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy, noting he liked playing Ray better “because [he’s] the underdog.” He also loved the Ray/Nikki Swango relationship. The tough part for McGregor was the Minnesota accent, which he said just “wasn’t in [his] ear.” “I got it about two weeks before I finished,” he lamented to the crowd.

In season three, women continue to be hugely important drivers in the “Fargo” story. “If you look at the movie, ‘Fargo’ has a female identity, I think. There was a one-to-one correlation: Molly (Allison Tolman) was a Marge surrogate, then Kirsten Dunst and Jean Smart in season two, and Carrie Coon and Olivia Sandoval this season,” Hawley elaborated. “Nikki Swango (Winstead) is the ultimate ‘Fargo’ badass. You don’t know what to expect with her. She’s a bridge mastermind and a strategist. She’s really fun.”

Coon commented on her character Chief Gloria Burgle, “Gloria’s really struggling emotionally when we find her. She’s been hiding and feeling invisible. She needs this messy confrontation and someone invading her space to shake her out of that.” Winstead was thrilled to join the drama and said about Nikki Swango, “I’d never played a character like this. Once I was on set and doing it, it was so easy but it took all the elements coming together for me to feel confident and comfortable.” Newcomer Sandoval knew “Fargo” would be the best experience when she reported for work. In fact, when director Michael Uppendahl asked, “Ready to have some fun?” Sandoval recalled, “It felt so right and so natural, like I’d come home. Everyone was so welcoming.”

After the program, guests enjoyed a buffet of hearty Midwestern fare including meatloaf and mashed potatoes, barbecued chicken, and mac and cheese. The photo op for the evening: a photo with Ray Stussy’s red Corvette.

“Fargo” airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.