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]
While 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. “
“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.