When it was first announced that Bryan Fuller was set to create and produce a TV adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter universe, many fans were a mix of both hopeful and hesitant. After all, history is full of big to small screen transitions that quickly failed and quietly faded into obscurity. Also, the lead role was so tied to Anthony Hopkins that many wondered if it would be possible to cast an actor good enough to escape his shadow. Could Fuller manage to overcome those hurdles and create a worthy series? It turns out that the answer to that question was a resounding yes.

Debuting on NBC in spring 2013, Hannibal was an almost instant critical darling, and wasted no time in amassing a small but fiercely loyal cult of followers. From the way it was shot, to the boundary-pushing violence, to the methodically entrancing way its stories unfolded, there really was no other show on TV quite like Hannibal, on either broadcast or cable. Unfortunately, all that praise and fan devotion didn’t translate to ratings success, as each of Hannibal’s three seasons performed worse than the last in the ratings. Awards don’t pay the bills, and thus, Hannibal was canceled in summer 2015.

In the time since Hannibal met its end, Fuller has never ceased talking about the possibility of the series returning, repeatedly stressing that he and the cast very much wanted to continue the twisted journey of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Fuller has said in the past that summer 2017 would probably be the first real time putting together a fourth season of Hannibal would be feasible. Unfortunately for excited Fannibals, recent remarks Dancy made to TV Line suggest that if a revival does happen, it won’t be for at least several more years.

“My feeling is that, knock on wood, if it came around again, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for it to be four or five years later. That might actually be kind of interesting. How weird would that be, on a personal level, to find yourself back with those people? ‘So… where did we leave off? It’s such a strange idea, but it’s potentially very healthy for a story like that. So we’ll see.”

Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy in Hannibal Season 3 Episode 13 Hugh Dancy Says Hannibal May Return in Four or Five Years

Dancy’s phrasing leaves it a bit unclear as to whether he means four or five years after 2015 – when the series ended – or from the present date. One assumes he likely meant the former, but the ambiguity is worth noting. As for what Hannibal season 4 would tackle, Dancy echoed Fuller’s stated intentions to adapt The Silence of the Lambs, albeit with Will – who was only mentioned in passing in the book – inserted into the plot.

“I know where we stood at the end of season 3, in terms of what he was thinking about. And it did reflect some elements of Silence of the Lambs… He loves that source material, as he would tell you.”

Will fans still care about a Hannibal return that happens so many years after the fact? It’s hard to say, although the level of outrage over the series’ cancellation suggests that the diehards will gladly line up for more no matter how long it ends up taking Fuller and company to give it to them. For fans’ sake though, here’s hoping Fuller’s previously stated time estimates are more accurate than Dancy’s.

We’ll keep you updated on Hannibal as more information becomes available.

Source: TV Line

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