Well folks, it looks like it’s about time to accept the fact that Hannibal is really, truly over. NBC cancelled the low-rated, visually lush, and creatively ambitious drama series last month, just a few episodes into its third season. Initially, hope that the show would continue was fairly high. The previous year showrunner Bryan Fuller had boasted that Hannibal had many other suitors should NBC opt not to continue on with the show, and he teased similar prospects in the wake of Hannibal’s cancellation this year, citing Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix specifically.
However, as the weeks wore on, the prospects started slimming. Amazon—the show’s best hope—officially passed, and complicating matters was the fact that Fuller was now committed to co-showrunning Starz’s American Gods, which meant he wouldn’t be able to return to Hannibal for a year at least. The longer a network waits for the show’s return, the more they risk losing what little audience the show had.
And now, with the cast having been released from their contracts, star Hugh Dancy has officially found a new home. EW reports that Will Graham himself has signed on to lead Hulu’s upcoming drama series The Way alongside Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan. Executive produced by Friday Night Lights and Parenthood vet Jason Katims and Jessica Goldberg, the series revolves around a Scientology-like cult, with Dancy playing the group’s charismatic leader.
So with Dancy now officially signed to The Way, this becomes his priority should Hannibal somehow find another home. The show always had a niche audience, but its third season has taken its stylistic and philosophical ambitious to new heights, firmly leaving any vestiges of a procedural formula behind. It’s resulted in some seriously compelling storytelling, and they’re absolutely nailing the Red Dragon story right now, but it’s looking highly unlikely that the show will continue on in a TV format.
Where does this leave us, then? Well Fuller has been adamant about his desire to potentially make a Hannibal movie with the same cast, so that remains a slight possibility. The series has consistently been the most cinematic show on television for the past few years (heck, it’s more cinematic than a lot of movies these days), so the jump to feature film actually seems like a solid fit. But that would also be a complicated endeavor as the show would need financiers, new contracts for the cast, and would hinge on the availability of actors who will no doubt have moved on to various other projects. So a movie is possible, but if it does happen it likely wouldn’t be in the near future.
This is certainly unfortunate news, but we still have a few episodes left until the season three series finale on August 29th. Here’s hoping Fuller and Co. finish strong with an ending that’s satisfying as a series ender.