NBC’s powerful drama Hannibal, has become synonymous with brilliant writing, gruesome horror, superb acting, Mads Mikkelsen and food. Said food tends to be prepared from the anatomical parts harvested from anyone foolish enough to be rude to anti-hero Hannibal Lecter.

by Nav Qateel

Note: This was written on 26 November 2014 and much of the show has been added to since then. Unfortunately, there simply hasn’t been time to include the later additions, like Gillian Anderson’s Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier becoming a full-time character, for example. Season 3 kicks off on the 4th June 2015.

I like think of Hannibal as an anti-hero. While his savagery and actions may appear to be anything but heroic, he was moulded and shaped from a childhood trauma, and the desire to punish the Nazi collaborators who murdered and ate little Mischa. What remains is now an even more warped version of his former self. Nevertheless, we find ourselves rooting for Hannibal the Cannibal.

After the blood-soaked finale of season two’s Mizumono–an episode that left me shocked and breathless–we were left to ponder which of the half-dead characters would survive into the following season.

I was sure Abigail Hobbs wouldn’t be among those returning in season 3, thanks to Lecter slitting her throat to punish Will Graham, but that’s not yet clear. Will, of course, will be back, and he and Hannibal are still bonded. Bryan Fuller made it known a while ago that the third season would take place one year after the ending of season two. Fuller also said (1) “We are staying very true to in the incident in the novel with Will and Hannibal and it’s [sic] very basic outcome.”

The first episode of season 3, Antipasto, will feature Bedelia (Gillian Anderson). This opening episode will be the beginning of an important new chapter in the story. Fuller had this to say: (1) “The answers to exactly why Bedelia Du Maurier is on a plane to France with Hannibal Lecter is all part of the first episode of Season 3, which will essentially function as a new pilot for a new series because everything’s different.”

Fuller went on to say: (1) “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.” In an article published several months later (2), it was revealed by executive producer Steve Lightfoot, that Red Dragon material would also be introduced into the story. He said: “It’ll be our version of Red Dragon,” “We know we’re going to lock Hannibal up.” More on that below.

This can only be good news for fans of the show, because, while stringent adherence to source material can be useful, indeed necessary at times, I for one love to see new material created from the old. And the mixing of three fantastic Harris novels, may just elevate Hannibal to even greater heights.

The question of FBI involvement and of Jack Crawford’s return (Laurence Fishburne’s new show Black-ish is being filmed at the same time as Hannibal) was also put to Bryan Fuller: (1) “The basic structure revolving around the FBI will be less prominent in Season 3 — at least for the first half of the season.” and “One of the wonders of this season is: Will Alana survive and will Jack Crawford survive? Will Abigail Hobbs survive? Those are things that are going to be revealed very slowly at the beginning of Season 3.”

Out of all the news that’s been heard about season 3, what excited me the most was that we’d be introduced to Red Dragon‘s Francis Dolarhyde. We’ll also be seeing Lady Murasaki, with both of these characters being weaved into the story. Lightfoot and I are in agreement about Dolarhyde: “He’s the most interesting of the killers in the Harris books for me because he wants to stop.” That’s one reason I liked Francis Dolarhyde, but mostly because he was so utterly damaged which allowed him to fit perfectly into the Hannibal universe.

The new season will be split into (2) “two chapters,” with the first having Will Graham in pursuit of Lecter. Hannibal and Bedelia have a new life in Florence, where they’re living under false names. Perhaps Lecter will use the Dr Fell alias, as he had in the movie version of Hannibal. (The Dr Fell name used by Lecter was believed to have come from the nursery rhyme ‘I do not like thee, Doctor Fell’) There doesn’t appear to be any information on such details yet. The second half will consist of elements from Thomas Harris’s first Lecter novel, Red Dragon.

The slimy Frederick Chilton is another character returning for the third season. Raul Esparza nailed the part of Chilton, and bringing him back from the dead is a great move. (2) Esparza said Chilton would be “even more unbearable and even more dangerous.” I can’t wait to see what he plans to do to get back at Lecter.

Mads Mikkelsen hinted that Lecter wouldn’t stop slicing and dicing just because the cops were after him. (3) “Hannibal is on the run. But when he’s running, he’s not necessarily hiding, so it might be strangely flashy, what’s going on, to a certain degree.”

Finally, the Clarice Starling character has been held up because MGM didn’t want to play ball. Now that Fuller has demonstrated to them how high quality and popular the show actually is, it looks like MGM are starting to warm to the idea. (3) Fuller said this of MGM: “The first season and the second season, they were like, ‘no,’ – an annoyed no. And then the third season they were like, ‘Well, not this year, but ask us again next year.’” Season 4 could finally introduce Agent Starling to Hannibal. It’s about time.

You can watch Bryan Fuller and the main cast doing a live talk, on this video.

(1) TV Guide
(2) DigitalSpy
(3) Metro US