Fans of NBC’s Hannibal–or fannibals, as they call themselves–came out in force at Comic-Con to support the dark, artsy drama, wearing flower crowns, black stag costumes and masks of the characters’ faces. Creator Bryan Fuller rewarded them with some juicy morsels about what (or who) his team of writers are cooking up for Season 3, including some new characters directly from the Thomas Harris novels on which the series is based.
Moderated by British TV host Jonathan Ross, the panel kicked off with a montage of footage from the past season, including scenes the gut-wrenching finale, which left the fates of many of the characters up in the air. Cast members Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller), Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price) and Caroline Dhavernas (Alana Bloom) joined Fuller, director David Slade and executive producers Steven Lightfoot and Martha De Laurentiis on stage. We’ll serve up all the highlights from the panel after the jump.
Stars Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen were not able to be there in person, but they each recorded personal greetings and thanked the fans for their support. The session also included surprise guest Raul Esparza (Dr. Fredrick Chilton). Fuller said that he wanted to keep Esparza’s appearance a secret to avoid spoiling his return next season after being shot in the face in episode seven. So now we know.
Much of the information revealed about Season 3 has already been reported elsewhere (including on Collider), but there were some new details to fill in the gaps:
- Fans may know that the show will pick up one year after the eventful season finale, and the premiere will follow Hannibal and his psychiatrist Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) as they make a new life for themselves in Europe. This season’s Italian cuisine theme (following French in Season 1 and Japanese in Season 2) gives a strong clue as to their destination, in keeping with the source material. Fuller described to it as a “pilot for a whole other show” and jokingly called it The Talented Mr. Lecter. We’ll pick up with Will Graham in the second episode and find out how his life changed, but there won’t be much of the procedural aspect of previous seasons. The producers referred to it as “FBI-lite.”
- Eddie Izzard’s character Dr. Abel Gideon is definitely dead, and we’ll see more of him, both alive and not. Fuller is writing a flashback episode in which he’ll appear again.
- Another flashback episode will show us what happened to Abigail Hobbs in the time between her apparent death and surprise appearance in the season finale.
- ”One of the fun things for us in this new Season is introducing a lot more characters from the novels that hadn’t been in the series yet, and some that hadn’t even been in the films,” Fuller said. Episode two will bring in Italian detective Rinaldo Pazzi, who first appeared in the novel Hannibal. Episode three will feature the introduction of Lady Murasaki, Hannibal’s Japanese aunt (by marriage) and love interest from Hannibal Rising. “I think Murasaki’s going to kick all kinds of ass,” Fuller said. Most intriguingly, the writers are planning on bringing in serial killer Francis Dolarhyde as the series heads toward the territory covered in the novel Red Dragon in the latter half of Season 3.
- One character from the books who has been problematic, however, is Clarice Starling. De Laurentiis explained that the rights to Silence of the Lambs were not part of their original deal. They are controlled by MGM, which was planning on doing its own TV series based around the character. “They were launching Clarice at the same time we were doing Hannibal,” she said. “So they were a little bit pissed that we went off and did our own. But if that doesn’t happen, we would do our own version.” Or as Fuller puts it, “Schmeerice Schmarling.” He said he wants to have her just for the sake of being completionist.
- Want to name one of Will Graham’s dogs? Bryan Fuller is rolling out the names gradually and accepting suggestions via Twitter (@BryanFuller). That’s how Alana’s dog Applesauce was named last season.
- The panel ended with a short version of the gag reel that will be included on the Season 2 DVD (you may have seen it on YouTube before it was yanked). It’s always striking and refreshing to see the actors on such a dark, serious show being silly and playing around behind the scenes.Hannibal will return to NBC for its third season in early 2015.
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