What an extraordinary week for television these past seven days have been. Not only did we get that spectacular mid-season finale for Mad Men, but also a brilliant season two finale for The Americans and then, of course, the shocking, violent conclusion to Hannibal season two. Despite airing on network television, the latter series has been one of the most consistently twisted and challenging shows on all of TV, and this was especially true of last Friday’s season two finale.
The events of the episode will no doubt have drastic effects on the show’s third season, and creator/showrunner Bryan Fuller recently spoke quite candidly about his plans for season three, adding that it will pull story elements from the Thomas Harris novels Hannibal and Hannibal Rising. He even teased a fan-favorite character promotion and discussed the first episode of season three—which he dubs a “new pilot”—in detail. Read on after the jump. Obviously spoilers for the season two final follow.
Speaking specifically about the final scene of Hannibal season two, which saw Hannibal and Gillian Anderson’s Bedelia in cahoots and on a plane together, Fuller told IGN that Bedelia’s agenda will be addressed in the first episode back:
“Well, I think we can assume that some communication [with Hannibal and Bedelia] happened between episode 12 [and the finale] — between her capture by the FBI and the time she got on the flight. So, part of that, the fun in that, will be revealed in the first episode of Season 3 – exactly why she was on that plane, what is her agenda, and how she fits into the bigger story of Season 3. That’s all going to be wrapped up in that first episode of Season 3, which will function almost like a pilot for a new series.”
Though Anderson leads a series of her own with The Fall, Fuller says his aim is to bring her into the fold full time for Hannibal season three:
“We are hoping, depending on Gillian’s schedule, that she would be a regular, but that’s all down to negotiation and her availability, and that sort of thing. But, you know, I went into Season 2 wanting Gillian to be a series regular and that’s definitely the intention going into Season 3, is that we would love a lot more of Gillian Anderson, because that’s never a bad thing.”
Anderson is currently filming season two of The Fall, so if Hannibal doesn’t go back into production until late this fall or early winter, one imagines she might be able to become a regular part of the Hannibal family, which is certainly good news.
Fuller went on to say that as of right now, the season three premiere will be Hannibal-Bedelia centric, adding that audiences won’t even know who survived the season two finale until episode two.
The creative mind behind Hannibal hasn’t been shy in revealing his overall plans for the series, and while he initially envisioned the show as a seven-season arc, he’s now thinking the series might end after six:
“Well, as we’ve gotten further into this series, I’ve collapsed a couple of seasons in my mind now. As in, ‘I don’t think we would be able to sustain the 13 episodes for that arc that I thought we would have’ and ‘perhaps it’s better to collapse this season and this season into one.’ So, I’m really thinking a six-season arc, and that really keeps us from treading water.”
As for how season three ties into the Thomas Harris books, Fuller has previously stated his intention to tackle Red Dragon in season four, so for the third season he tells TV Guide that he plans to draw from two different books:
“Season 3 is going to be a lot of fun because it’s going to be taking a lot of disparate elements from the novel Hannibal Rising and the novel Hannibal and mashing them up together as part of the thrust of the season. It’s going to be fun to bastardize two novels into one sort of Frankenstein season. I will brace everybody right now: We’re significantly changing the Hannibal origin story from Hannibal Rising.”
“The books won’t necessarily be in sequential order. We’ll be hitting elements of each of them except Silence of the Lambs in the next season. My hope is that not only do we have a completely different Hannibal Lecter story in Season 3, but we will meet some of those great characters like Francis Dolarhyde and Lady Murasaki and weave them into the world in a unique way.”
Fuller has also stated his intention to revisit the Vergers, and given all that’s been said about season three, it appears that we’re in for yet another wild ride when Hannibal returns next year.