Who Owns the Rights to ‘Hannibal’, and Could There Be a Movie? Bryan Fuller Explains

     July 30, 2020

Back in 2013, Bryan Fuller developed a TV series for NBC, based on the characters in Thomas Harris‘ thriller novels, about an FBI profiler, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and his serial killer psychiatrist with a taste for human flesh, Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), who had long, philosophical conversations that were low-key about how badly they wanted to kiss. It ran for three seasons, never won a major Emmy, and was unceremoniously canceled in 2015. I’m still mad about it, as are many Hannibal fans, who continue to hope for a revival of some kind. With the series now streaming on Netflix, Collider’s Steve Weintraub sat down with Fuller and Dancy to see just what would have to happen to get Hannibal back on the air.

First off, it’s a rights issue, according to Fuller.

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Image via NBC

“Martha De Laurentiis controls the rights for the Hannibal character. [Gaumont International Television], who produced the Hannibal series that we worked on, has the rights to those characters and those situations. So if we want to continue telling the tales we were telling, Gaumont needs to be involved, Martha De Laurentiis needs to be involved. Then of course we need a network to platform us.”

But should literally anybody come knocking with a green light, Fuller is raring to go. Personal conversations have taken place about the very hypothetical direction Hannibal could go and it sounds like Fuller is dying to put them into action.

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Image via NBC

“I wish there was something that was definitive. I’ve had conversations with Hugh and Mads and the cast, in terms of like, ‘This is what we would do if we were allowed to come back.’ There’s some ideas that I’m very excited about that continue the strange trajectory of season 3. But I have not been approached. I’ve knocked on every door and rang eery bell. Martha and I, every couple of years, pick up our bags and go door to door and see if anybody’s interested in revisiting. The biggest hurdle is that we were somebody else’s show. What I love about Netflix platforming the show now is there’s an opportunity for it to be seen as a Netflix show and maybe that will reconfigure their appetite, so to speak. But nobody has said anything to me, and believe me, like the nickel hooker on the red light district I am hanging out the window, waving my legs. They know I’m ready.”

Adorably, Fuller added: “I just want to work with Hugh again. I would do whatever anybody offered me in any capacity.”

For his part, Dancy is basically all-in to put on the (extremely sweaty) clothes of Will Graham once again.

“I agree with Bryan. I would defer to Bryan’s sense of what would work if the story that he wanted to tell and where he ended up taking it could work in that format. Obviously, this is a wildly hypothetical question. But in the hypothetical, absolutely. I’m in, basically.”

Be on the look-out for more updates from our interview with Fuller and Dancy soon. For more on Hannibal, here’s our breakdown of that season 3 ending. (Spoilers, obviously.). Finally, look for Steve’s full interview with Fuller and Dancy early next week.

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Television