It seems strange that no network or streaming service has taken the plunge on reviving Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal, especially when it would be guaranteed to generate huge buzz and draw in a massive audience. The series may have been canceled by NBC in June 2015 due to low ratings, but that had a lot to do with the psychological thriller being dumped in a graveyard slot.
Since then, Hannibal has grown exponentially in popularity, and has long outstripped its initial reputation as an unsung cult classic. After being added to the Netflix library last year, it was one of the most-watched titles in the entire library for weeks, and the fanbase just keeps getting bigger as more and more of the platform’s 200 million subscribers discover the twisted dynamic between Mads Mikkelsen’s title character and Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham.
Fuller has been more than vocal about his desire to return to the world of Thomas Harris’ literary creation, while the principal cast members have also made it clear that they’d love to reprise their respective roles. Not only that, but in a recent interview, Mikkelsen admitted that Hannibal‘s sustained success on Netflix has made him more optimistic than ever about the prospect of a revival.
“Since Hannibal has found a new home on Netflix, the talks have been revitalized. I don’t think you’d find a member of the cast that is still alive that would say, No, thanks’. We all enjoyed it tremendously. Creative showrunners always have a way to end the season because no one knows if there’s going to be a next one. So there was always that feeling of, ‘Well, that was it’. Having said that, the third season, after that, we were pretty sure we’re getting a fourth. That was not the feeling after the first or the second. But the third, we were pretty sure.”
That’s certainly encouraging to hear, but we’re fast approaching the sixth anniversary of Hannibal being pulled from the airwaves, and the longer nothing happens, the less likely it becomes.
CBS have procedural sequel series Clarice debuting in less than two weeks, but the complicated rights issues mean that Dr. Lecter won’t even be mentioned by name. Conversely, that means any new Hannibal episodes wouldn’t be able to adapt The Silence of the Lambs, but the previous three seasons more than proved that the limitations of the source material were hardly an obstacle to creating great TV.