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Bryan Fuller talks Hannibal's finale, its future, and Clarice Starling

08.31.2015
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Hannibal's brilliant and often bizarre third and final season wrapped up over the weekend and it left many of us cursing the show's cancellation all over again. As upset as I am that we won't get to witness the further adventures of Hannibal and Will Graham, I'm thankful for what we did get, because if we're being honest, it was a miracle that Hannibal survived past its first season.

Series creator Bryan Fuller chatted with THR following the finale and offered up an explanation for the ending as well as teasing the possibilities for Hannibal's future. If you haven't watched the finale yet, there will be spoilers from here on out.

In the final moments of Hannibal's third season, both Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) embraced before plummeting off the side of a cliff into the watery abyss below. Fuller explained how the entire season was building up to that inevitable moment:

The story we were telling with Will in this season was one where a fated conclusion was inevitable. Early on in the Italian chapter, Will Graham essentially said, “I have to kill Hannibal Lecter or I’m going to become Hannibal Lecter.” He later finds deviation from that course with a family unit that gives him a grounding that he never had before. When he is pulled back into the FBI and Hannibal Lecter’s orbit, it’s essentially a drug addict returning to the needle and not being strong enough to beat it the second time. He realizes his original intention in the Italian arc is still valid and has to be respected. We knew at the end of this season it was going to be some sort of Sherlock and Moriarty off the Reichenbach falls.

If you're wondering whether that ending spelled death for the show's two main characters, Fuller says that their fates are left entirely up to the series' rather slim chance at a revival:

I don’t think you can assume anything. It’s very intentionally left obscure but hopefully somewhat satisfying for the audience. If there is a continuation of this story with Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter and Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen in those roles then of course they survived. And if not then it’s a big fat question mark.

With a fourth season unlikely, Bryan Fuller mentions that Martha De Laurentiis is currently looking into financing for a Hannibal feature film.

[Executive producer] Martha De Laurentiis is looking into financing for a film. I’m still hoping that we get to tell that story in some way. There is something in the novel Hannibal that has not been done in any of the adaptations and I would love to explore that with Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. I’m hoping that someday, whether it’s a year from now … two years from now … that we will continue to get to tell that story. I feel like if Will Graham did survive that plunge, his most interesting chapter is yet to be told.

While a feature film is very appealing to Fuller, he mentions that there are other possibilities that the series could take once things settle down:

There’s a few ways to go. The movie route is very appealing because we have movie actors. It would be great to see them on the big screen and we’ve always shot the show as though it were an independent movie with an independent film esthetic. Coming full circle in return to the big screen is very promising. But it would be interesting to discuss a miniseries or some sort of continuation of the story with another network once all the hubbub of this series has gone fallow. Who knows? Maybe there is an opportunity for us to address things with MGM and Clarice Starling now that the show has completed its run on NBC and there is an opportunity for a rebirth of sorts

Bryan Fuller wasn't able to secure the rights to Clarice Starling before the series ended, but using her character and "The Silence of the Lambs" story is still in the cards should Hannibal return in some form. Fuller then teased the different routes he could go in adapting Clarice Starling to his vision:

There’s two ways. If you were to go that traditional route, Ellen Page would knock it out of the park. She’s a brilliant actress and has a lot of the qualities that we remember about Jodie Foster’s performance but yet unique in her skill set as an actress. That would be one way to go. But I do think it would be interesting to cast someone who is not white in that role and use race experientially as a defining attribute of the character.

Hannibal lasted for three seasons and thirty-nine episodes and despite its premature ending, will remain one of my favourite television series of all time. That'll do Hannibal, that'll do.

Source: THR

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11:27AM on 09/01/2015
It amazes me that a show of this calibre was killed off yet we get endless renewals for crap. I would have liked to see at least one more season with Silence of the Lambs being the focus, but I am more than satisfied with the ending we got for both Will and Hannibal. The open-ending to their fates is a perfect way to finish a show that was too good for American audiences.
It amazes me that a show of this calibre was killed off yet we get endless renewals for crap. I would have liked to see at least one more season with Silence of the Lambs being the focus, but I am more than satisfied with the ending we got for both Will and Hannibal. The open-ending to their fates is a perfect way to finish a show that was too good for American audiences.
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8:06AM on 09/01/2015
What a waste of a TV show. This should have been on Netflix from day one so we all could have enjoyed it for many more seasons.
What a waste of a TV show. This should have been on Netflix from day one so we all could have enjoyed it for many more seasons.
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5:11PM on 09/02/2015
When it started Netflix had not really dove into that genre too heavily. And they also screwed themselves over with Netflix by signing up with Amazon to show the series.
When it started Netflix had not really dove into that genre too heavily. And they also screwed themselves over with Netflix by signing up with Amazon to show the series.
+0
12:53AM on 09/01/2015
Loved the show. Own all the soundtracks. Own all the blu rays. After the Clarice comments, I think we should just let it go Ellen FUCKING Page!?????? Really, Ellen Page? Are you being for real Brian? "But I do think it would be interesting to cast someone who is not white in that role and use race experientially as a defining attribute of the character." What the fuck? Dude, if you want to cast a different race actor, then go for it. They did that for Reba and it worked just fine. But shit man
Loved the show. Own all the soundtracks. Own all the blu rays. After the Clarice comments, I think we should just let it go Ellen FUCKING Page!?????? Really, Ellen Page? Are you being for real Brian? "But I do think it would be interesting to cast someone who is not white in that role and use race experientially as a defining attribute of the character." What the fuck? Dude, if you want to cast a different race actor, then go for it. They did that for Reba and it worked just fine. But shit man leave the character who she is. Every character does not have to have a different race and their races should not define who their characters are. I swear the SJW's of the world have lost their damn minds. Treat each character you write just as you would any other character, then cast the BEST actor for the role.
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5:12PM on 09/02/2015
Who says Ellen Page or someone else that Fuller has in mind is not perfect? If you agreed with Fuller's casting choices for the three seasons, then have faith that he would get the best actor for the part.
Who says Ellen Page or someone else that Fuller has in mind is not perfect? If you agreed with Fuller's casting choices for the three seasons, then have faith that he would get the best actor for the part.
7:43PM on 08/31/2015
Seeing Ellen Page as Clarice Starling would have been awesome. Not sure if they make her a black person though. Maybe Southeast Asian instead?
Seeing Ellen Page as Clarice Starling would have been awesome. Not sure if they make her a black person though. Maybe Southeast Asian instead?
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7:27PM on 08/31/2015

It was awesome.......

I always defended this show and told everyone how great it was but I'll admit the ending wasn't what I would've done. It could have been very simple and predictable but they went a little too far with the man love at the end. I would've been happy with Will being killed off or not, Hannibal escaping, and watching a woman walking down a hallway never getting to see her face until she introduces herself as Clarice Starling and then it fades away setting up what would've been the next chapter.
I always defended this show and told everyone how great it was but I'll admit the ending wasn't what I would've done. It could have been very simple and predictable but they went a little too far with the man love at the end. I would've been happy with Will being killed off or not, Hannibal escaping, and watching a woman walking down a hallway never getting to see her face until she introduces herself as Clarice Starling and then it fades away setting up what would've been the next chapter. Will's character has gone through too much it feels sometimes.
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8:06PM on 08/31/2015
Bryan Fuller never managed to get the rights for Silence Of The Lambs from MGM, so that ending never could have happened. They literally couldn't even say the name "Clarice Starling." And even if he DID manage to secure the rights somehow, Fuller was very clear that SOTL would have been Season 5. The plan was always to have another season focused on Hannibal/Will before Clarice was introduced, perhaps as they're on the run together.
Bryan Fuller never managed to get the rights for Silence Of The Lambs from MGM, so that ending never could have happened. They literally couldn't even say the name "Clarice Starling." And even if he DID manage to secure the rights somehow, Fuller was very clear that SOTL would have been Season 5. The plan was always to have another season focused on Hannibal/Will before Clarice was introduced, perhaps as they're on the run together.
5:16PM on 09/02/2015
MrScreenAddict is correct. And why would you want to introduce a new character and not have any hopes of continuing the series? Straight from Fuller's mouth at the SDCC press conference, MGM has seemed more prone to letting them use the character each year, probably because of Fuller and how great the series is as a whole. If they had made it to season 5, there is a chance that MGM would have allowed it.
MrScreenAddict is correct. And why would you want to introduce a new character and not have any hopes of continuing the series? Straight from Fuller's mouth at the SDCC press conference, MGM has seemed more prone to letting them use the character each year, probably because of Fuller and how great the series is as a whole. If they had made it to season 5, there is a chance that MGM would have allowed it.
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