[Warning: SPOILERS for Hannibal up to the season 2 finale.]

Never let it be said that Hannibal Lecter doesn’t know to throw a party. Hannibal season 2 concluded with several major characters’ lives hanging in the balance and Hannibal himself making a getaway. With a cliffhanger like that, the wait until Hannibal returns for season 3 next year seems far too long.

The show isn’t all about death (though it is a prominent theme), and the second season also saw a number of resurrections, as Abigail Hobbs, Freddie Lounds and Miriam Lass all returned from their apparent gruesome deaths. It’s safe to say that off-screen deaths are not to be trusted in the show from now on.

The Hannibal panel (or to use its nickname, “pannibal“) at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 made matters worse by teasing some of the great things that fans can expect to see in season 3. Showrunner Bryan Fuller, executive producers Steven Lightfoot and Martha DeLaurentiis, director David Slade and actors Caroline Dhavernas (Alana Bloom), Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller) and Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price) were all present and being quizzed about the future of the show by TV presenter Jonathan Ross. Before we get down to the grim business of killers and cannibals, however, check out this hilarious blooper reel for Hannibal season 2, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

Before getting into what was revealed during the pannibal, here’s a reminder of what we already knew about Hannibal season 3. Hannibal Lecter’s aunt, Lady Murasaki, and his uncle Robert are going to be introduced along with serial killer Francis Dolarhyde. The season will mash up elements from Thomas Harris’ novels “Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising,” but Hannibal’s origin story will be significantly changed from the books. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of what Fuller and co. revealed during the Hannibal panel at Comic-Con.

  • The third season will pick up one year after the season 2 finale.
  • Lady Murasaki and Francis Dolarhyde will both be introduced in episode eight.
  • Raul Esparza made a surprise appearance during the panel, and it was announced that Dr. Chilton will return in season 3. “I love playing him because he’s a total douchebag,” Esparza said.
  • Eddie Izzard will also return as Abel Gideon, but the character isn’t coming back from the grave. Instead he will appear in flashbacks.
  • The topic of slash fiction came up (of course) and Fuller said that he thinks Hannibal and Will love each other: “It’s not necessarily a romantic love, but they have a genuine love for each other.” He added that the entire show is effectively fan fiction in its own right.
  • Clarice Starling cannot be introduced due to a rights dispute with MGM. The same goes for Barney Matthews.
  • The cuisine theme for the third season will be Italian food. Does this mean Hannibal has run away to Italy?

New cast members for Hannibal season 3 have yet to be announced, but Fuller has said in the past that he’s actively pursuing David Bowie for a role, along with his regular collaborators like Anna Friel and Lee Pace. Pace in particular seems like a good pick to play Francis Dolarhyde, since Fuller said in an interview with STYD that he’s looking for someone tall to play the role (Pace is a little over 6’2″).

Stay tuned to Screen Rant over the weekend as we bring you even more news from the front lines of San Diego Comic-Con 2014.

Hannibal will return to NBC for season 3 in 2015.

Source: Entertainment WeeklySTYD