Creator Bryan Fuller Talks HANNIBAL Season 2 and Beyond; Plus When Does the RED DRAGON Storyline Come Into Play?

     June 21, 2013


While it’s been a pretty regular occurrence over the past few years that the television shows on cable are far superior in nearly every way to those on network TV, one new show this past season renewed my faith that a compelling drama can still exist on one of the Big Four networks.  Pushing Daises creator Bryan Fuller tackled familiar source material for the NBC series Hannibal, but the show progressed in such a way that it quickly became my most anticipated program to watch each week.  Fuller and principal director David Slade crafted a wildly engrossing and moody take on the Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham relationship from Thomas Harris’ books, buoyed by masterful performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy.

While the series wrapped up its 12-episode first season last night with a stellar finale, fans are now eagerly looking forward to how the story progresses in season two.  Fuller recently spoke quite frankly about where things will go in season two and beyond, even revealing at which point the Red Dragon storyline will kick in and his hopes to eventually tackle Silence of the Lambs.  Hit the jump to read on. [Warning: spoilers for the season one finale follow]

hannibal savoureux laurence fishburneWhile Hannibal struggled quite a bit in the ratings in its first season, NBC thankfully decided to renew the show for season two.  Speaking in an extensive interview with HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall, Fuller revealed that he had the final shot of the season in his mind before he had even written a page of the series, and added that season two will indeed involve a trial for Will and will also find Laurence Fishburne’s Jack Crawford facing repercussions of his own:

“What’s exciting for me is that you’ve seen the finale, and now what would happen in that situation to someone in Jack Crawford’s position has to happen. I think he would be brought before a review board. I think his leadership would be questioned. It’s exciting to keep the story honest: that Crawford just doesn’t get to have a trainee pulled out of a classroom and brutally murdered by the most-wanted serial killer, under his watch, and then also lose another special agent that he pulls into his purview to investigate these crimes and that he’d be surprised at, ‘Holy crap, this guy murdered these people, as well.’ I think Jack Crawford is going to have a lot of soul-searching for himself and for his superiors at the FBI in season 2.”

In an interview with IGN, Fuller noted that we will see a different Will Graham in the second season now that the tables have turned and the nature of his relationship with Hannibal has changed significantly:

“I think that’s the new dynamic… until it changes. [Laughs] What I love is that we see Will Graham has hit rock bottom and can be much more of a threat than he would have been in the first season, because he had no idea what was happening to him. Now that he has a better idea, he’s going to be a much scrappier version of Will Graham.”

Going further down the road, Fuller elaborated a bit when speaking with HitFix about exactly which Harris characters they have the rights to and who might be popping up in season two:

“We are able to use any character that originated in Red Dragon. We have access to characters in the book Hannibal. There are a few characters from that book like Mason and Margot Verger that we want to use in the second season of Hannibal, and we’re negotiating right now character rights to use them. We would have to pay a fee per episode. The Silence of the Lambs characters are owned by MGM. That’s where it gets more tricky. “

hannibal savoureux mads mikkelsenSpeaking of Silence, Fuller added that he would love to eventually tackle that story and provided a timeline of events season-by-season for the show going forward:

“Season 4 would be Red Dragon. We have this first season, which was the meet cute of Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham — or ‘eat cute,’ I should say. For me, the idea of doing the definitive Hannibal Lecter adaptation was really attractive to me. Silence of the Lambs would be season 5 of the timeline. My secret dream is that MGM sees the show, says, ‘Ohmigod, we love this show. Why don’t we collaborate on this season?’ But that may be a pipe dream. If they never agree to play ball with us in terms of letting us use some of those characters, then the plan would be to do the events of ‘Silence of the Lambs,’ but slightly different. So instead of Buffalo Bill, we would come up with another killer that arcs over the season. Instead of Clarice Starling, we would have Flarice Karling, that tells a bit of that story without interrupting the canon that audiences are expecting. That’s fortunately four years away. So hopefully there’s inspiration and hopefully collaboration that could make that more fulfilling for me as a Thomas Harris buff, and for audiences who also love those characters and want to see them in this world, and to see what Clarice Starling would be like sitting across from Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter.”

I’m incredibly excited about the idea of seeing Fuller fulfill his definitive Hannibal Lecter story arc, but it would be interesting to see if they drop the Will Graham character altogether should they get the opportunity to delve into Silence of the Lambs territory.  For now, though, I can’t wait to see how the Hannibal story progresses next season.  If you’re also enticed by the prospect of seeing the above storylines come to fruition, tell your friends!  Hopefully the show can deliver some solid ratings next season, which would ensure its future moving forward.



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  • E. Lee Zimmerman

    This show BARELY got a renewal for Season 2. While I appreciate what Fuller has to say, he might wanna focus more on the present instead of playing ‘what if’ three or four seasons away.

    • eat my shit

      Your’e a dick

      • E. Lee Zimmerman

        Maybe, but, at least, I can spell and use punctuation properly.

      • My Kingdom For Your High Horse

        Yeah, that’s totally not something a dick would say.

      • YousuckZimmer

        Lol your punctuation is excessive and against the rules of English grammar, idiot.

      • E. Lee Zimmerman

        Wow. That retort took you 19 days to come up with. Your parole officer must be proud.

    • Mads About Hugh

      If you read the full two part interview at IGN you’ll find out that the reason he was so confident is because NBC doesn’t actually produce the show, they essentially just rent it out for the U.S. broadcast. He specifically states that other entities (i.e. cable or a streaming site) had approached them in an offer to pick up the show had NBC decided not to carry it on their network anymore. So yeah, it sounds to me like the show will be around for the long haul one way or another.

      • Dev1359

        I hope you’re right, it’d be a shame if this show gets canceled like everything else Bryan Fuller has done.

    • PyschBuzz

      I hate to say it but I think your right. People just can’t accept reality sometimes. Even I was surprised by his idea to incorporate Red Dragon in season 4 rather than season 2. They might have a good budget going for them but networks are like post-it-notes. They’ll stick with you till the glue runs dry at which point they’ll drop off of you. So it would have been better to bring on the Red Dragon story line earlier while the glue is still fresh and where there is a momentum going for them and it would also be much more appreciated by fans of the book series. I also want to see Clarice Starling sooner too. Sigh. I don’t want to wait 5 years for that.

  • KingKong

    I only caught a few episodes of season one including that brilliant season finale last night. I really wish I had caught it from show one and stayed with it, hopefully they will rerun the first season. I am glad NBC is going in for a second season as they are infamous for cutting great shows (Boomtown, Prime Suspect) simply because they don’t bring huge ratings in the first season (or sometimes the first few episodes). TV shows rarely start off with massive ratings. They need time to develop plots and characters and to earn a regular viewership, and in turn ratings. This show is one of the most suspenseful I have ever scene and it deserves strong word of mouth.

  • Jean 2M

    Just watched the finale, wow, kudos to the creators for a solid rookie season 8E

    Hannibal has been right behind GoT on my watch list every week. That was the first time any non cable show was in my top three in ages. I strongly recommend it to anyone out there looking for a compelling, well written and well acted show for this summer.

    In general, I prefer short seasons (10-13 ep.) because they usually avoid meandering into unnecessary plot lines in favor of the main story. That’s why I love so many British productions (Luther, anyone ?). So I hope Fuller & Co will continue to skip the 20-22 episodes format for season 2 onward, unless they really have to.

    ‘Meatime, next year can’t come soon enough !

  • LEM

    I’m just glad they dropped the cancer storyline with Crawfords wife. It seemed so forced and pointless while adding nothing to the overall story.

    • D

      That arc with Crawford’s wife Bella was there to lay groundwork for later in the series. Bella dies from her cancer during the Silence of the Lambs story. It’s the sort of thing that has to be glossed over for a feature length film, but given that the show has more time to develop these things, and Jack Crawford is the most prominent secondary character in the show, I imagine Bella’s eventual death will be used as a major dramatic catalyst for his character.

      • LEM

        I knew it was for character development but it just took me out of the story each time they forced it into an episode but thank you for shedding a little more light on why they added it.

  • Lucas Accardo

    The definitive Hannibal Lecter was is and will be always Antohny Hopkins. Mikkelsen is a good actor, mind you, but there’s nothing he did in the whole first season that even touches Hopkins levels.

    And, i believe he says that in a joking way , but Flarice Karling or anything like that would be a terrible idea. If they manage to get to Red Dragon, i’d extend that rich full of juice book to 2 seasons and end it there.

    • Ben Wigler

      I have to completely disagree with the first paragraph. I don’t think that anything Anthony Hopkins did in Silence… touches anything Mikkelsen did. I’d actually say about Sir Hopkins, “he’s a good actor, mind you,” and he certainly brought a lot of style and iconography to the role, and in some ways, he’s a more believable Lecter because of his diminished physical stature and rotund head, someone whose evil is fully internal… it would be hard to imagine anyone on this show looking at Mikkelsen’s Lecter and NOT saying “uh… that dude is 100% creepy,” but given a world in which we accept that folks aren’t going to look at Lecter and think “creep,” I think Mikkelsen’s Lecter is far, far, far superior in its interior logic, coherency, and aesthetic beauty. I also think that the series FAR outshines any of the filmmaking/screenwriting aspects of Silence or any of its sequels. And to say that Hannibal crushes Manhunter & Red Dragon, especially in its depiction of the Will Graham character, would be an understatement. Personally, I feel as though Bryan Fuller and Mads Mikkelsen have hatched up the definitive version of this character, and that it may even top Harris’ take on the character. If we are to accept Harris’ take, there is *NO* reality in which the ending of “Hannibal” could have occured with Hopkins’ lecter. It ends with Clarice Starling offering her breasts for Lecter to suckle from. This is plausible with Mikkelsen’s Hannibal, given who they find for Clarice. Not so with Hopkins’ – Only Hopkins’ hannibal could have cut off his hand and fed brains to an asian kid on a flight, and that’s not the ideal version of an uber-refined Hannibal Lecter. I’ll give Jack Nicholson the Joker, and I’ll give Mads Mikkelsen Hannibal Lecter. YMMV.

      • Lucas Accardo

        Mikkelsen has a long career ahead , and if improves a lot may reach something close to the unparalleled Hopkins skills. And no, of course nothing this irregular series did touches anything remotely in the vicinity of the great Demme’s Silence.

      • Urielxme

        I agree. Hopkins is a Hammer-level ham without a good director to reign him in. I think he lacks Mr. Mikkelsen’s wit and abilities as a performer, not to mention his superb balance of creepiness and vulnerability. Hope they relaunch the film franchise with the better man in Lecter’s part, Mads Mikkelsen. He is physically more believable in the part, as well.

  • Jason Anthony Redfield

    I agree 100% with Ben’s comments concerning Mikkelsen’s Hannibal vs. Hopkins’. Although I think Hopkins did an excellent job and his performance in Silence Of The Lambs was iconic enough for him to play the role again 2 more times… However, this is a new age and new imagining of these characters and adaptation of the source material and thus requires a whole new take on Hannibal himself. What I see in Mikkelsen’s version is much more chilling than anything Hopkins did with the role. He’s much more predatory, exacting and manipulative than Hopkins ever could be which would ultimately make the proper ending (with Clarice running off with him) to Hannibal believable in a way the movies and Hopkins version never would’ve been able to


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