It’s been five years since NBC’s Hannibal was cancelled to the frustrated cries of a wailing army of fans, but their hope has never completely died that it might be brought back. Now, the series’ showrunner Bryan Fuller has teased the possibility of such a revival.
The show follows FBI investigator Will Graham, both gifted and cursed with the ability to empathize with the actions of brutal murderers and profile suspects by imagining himself committing their crimes. He meets forensic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, secretly a cannibal and the true identity of the Chesapeake Ripper serial killer the FBI has been hunting, leading to an abiding and moderately homoerotic friendship.
The series’ cast was recently reunited in a virtual panel to discuss the show, where Fuller brought up how things might come together for a potential season 4.
“It will be interesting to see what happens with the show moving forward or whether there is ever to be a Silence of the Lambs miniseries with this cast. The great thing about the idea – with members of the cast in terms of where we’re going – is that if we are going to take five years, six years, seven years or what have you and everyone’s still interested in coming back then that’s just how long they’ve been on the lam, as it were. Then the story picks up from that point and we’ll adapt. [Season 4] would be very sort of sunny and sweaty, as compared to the cold harsh realities of Toronto. I think it would be fun to go sweaty and sunny and beachy and a whole new temperature.”
The Silence of the Lambs is, of course, the second and most well known and highly regarded of Thomas Harris’ novels, and the only one of them the series is yet to feature. The events of Red Dragon are touched upon and expanded throughout the show, although its main narrative is left until the second half of season 3. Characters from Hannibal (the book) are introduced in season 2, and similarly its main plot is told in season 3’s first half.
Lackluster prequel Hannibal Rising, which Harris only wrote after being told by producer Dino De Laurentiis that if he didn’t they’d just get someone else to do it instead, is for the most part wisely left alone, although its events are referenced and a minor character from it appears in season 3.
Outwith the novels’ plotlines, the show is largely its own thing, a police procedural investigating surreal and elaborate murders and periodically punctuated by Lecter serving up his unrelated victims to house guests, claiming the meat to be from some exotic fauna and using them to form the centerpieces of elaborate dinner parties best described as performance art.
The Silence of the Lambs is the touchstone for what audiences imagine when Lecter’s exploits are referred to, and Hannibal, with its intelligence, elegance and sophistication, could easily become a new version of the iconic tale that stands apart from the Oscar-winning movie.