One of the most artistic and visually controversial contributions to network television in recent years, Hannibal ran for only three seasons on NBC but left a lasting impression. Boasting a stand-out cast of Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, and Mads Mikkelsen as the titular character, it followed the formidable cinematic villain Hannibal Lecter from his days as a psychiatrist working with the FBI to becoming one of their most hunted.
Fans of author Thomas Harris already knew the story of Hannibal's beginnings from reading The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, but most of them never dreamed that they'd see his works realized with such strong acting, compelling storytelling, and beautiful imagery anywhere other than on HBO. Below you'll find 10 storylines that we'll sadly never know the outcomes of.
10 WILL AND HANNIBAL'S FATE
At the conclusion of Season 3, Will and Hannibal have just both participated in the ruthless murder of Francis Dolarhyde, aka the "Tooth Fairy" or "Red Dragon." While it can be argued it was in self-defense, Hannibal turns to Will at one point when they're both bathed in blood and asks him what he thinks of what he's done, to which Will replies, "It's beautiful." right before he pulls Hannibal over the cliffside.
Will's inability to live with what he could become under Hannibal's tutelage led to their poetic end. Wrapped in each other's bloody arms, they plunged into the sea. Was that the end of them, or could they have survived? After all, Hannibal appears in The Silence of the Lambs.
9 DOCTOR CHILTON
Even for being a repugnant character in the series, Dr. Chilton didn't deserve the truly heinous violence inflicted on him during its run. He also didn't deserve to survive it, leaving him in a state of gross disfigurement.
Chilton had been shot in the face, which left him blind in one eye, and with so much damage to his jaw and cheek bones that they needed to be reconstructed with a prosthetic and makeup. He would go on to have his lips bitten off by Francis Dolarhyde and be set on fire. What happens to him, considering that he retains the same position at the hospital in The Silence of the Lambs?
8 JACK HAVING TO CONFRONT WILL
When last we saw Jack Crawford, he'd spent the majority of Season 3 fighting for his life with Hannibal Lecter (now known to be the Chesapeake Ripper), who very nearly killed him with a grievous neck injury. He warned Will not to go after Hannibal alone, knowing the effect the enigmatic killer had on him, but Will disregarded the sentiment and ultimately shared Hannibal's fate.
Jack Crawford plays a fairly large part in Silence of the Lambs, still heading up the behavioral science unit of the FBI in Virginia. Since Bryan Fuller has implied that both Will and Hannbal survived their fall, how would Jack and Will's relationship have to change? Especially with the fact that he now knows Will to be capable of the same depravity as Hannibal?
7 MIRIAM LASS
At the time of Hannibal's third season, the rights to secure Silence of the Lambs couldn't be acquired, and the ratings weren't what NBC wanted. However, that didn't stop series creator Bryan Fuller from finding ways to hint at some of its hallmarks, including the archetype of an inquisitive forensics criminologist.
The character of Miriam Lass was intended to mimic Clarice Starling, famous protagonist of Silence of the Lambs. After she shot Dr. Chilton in the face, mistaking him for the Chesapeake Ripper, her fate is unclear. It's also unclear if a fourth season would have managed to pursue the plot of Silence of the Lambs.
Chiyoh was, at one time, the handmaiden of Hannibal's aunt. When Will Graham encounters her, she's desperate for freedom, ultimately leaving with Will on his mission to find Hannibal in Italy.
Chiyoh proved a complicated character, both foiling Will's abilities to harm Hannibal, as well as saving the lives of his friends (Jack Crawford). When we last saw her, she was killing cronies on the Muskrat Farm attempting to harm Will and Hannibal. Would she have showed up again, or returned to Japan as she did in the novels?
5 HANNIBAL'S EVENTUAL IMPRISONMENT
If Bryan Fuller chose to follow Thomas Harris' novels to the letter, Hannibal went back to the hospital, where he eventually encounters Clarice Starling and provided the same "assistance" he gave Will Graham.
We saw that scenario somewhat played out in Season 3, with fans already getting their chance to see Hannibal wear his iconic mask. Assuming Hannibal survived the fall, would he be on the run again? Would Fuller choose for him to embark on a killing spree, with Will as his hostage? They never seemed to be able to be separated for very long.
4 THE VERGER BABY
Margot Verger is just one tragic character in a long line of them in the series. After spending years with her sadistic twin brother Mason, she finally found some semblance of peace after he died. In true Hannibal fashion, he was forcefully held underwater while an electric eel forced its way down his throat. Charming.
Margot did have a chance to have a child, by way of Alana carrying the baby to term. Something "pure" came from the union, but would it last, given Hannibal's promise to Alana?
3 HANNIBAL'S PROMISE TO ALANA
When last we saw Hannibal and Alana in Season 3, he was under her charge as chief administrator of the hospital. She allowed him to escape in order to save Will Graham from his fate at the hands of the Red Dragon.
Hannibal never forgot her little punishments, however, and vowed that if he indeed escaped, her "family" belonged to him, because as far as he was concerned, she died in his kitchen in Season 2.
2 SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
One of the most famous depictions of Hannibal Lecter appeared in Silence of the Lambs, incidentally considered one of the best horror films of all time. Based on the events in Season 3, it seemed hard to set up its plot, with Hannibal not yet in police custody and possibly dead.
Still, had Season 4 happened, Bryan Fuller assured fans Clarice Starling and Dr. Lecter would make their appearances. He had eyed Ellen Page to portray Starling, and its unclear if she'd have interacted with Will Graham, or who would be Buffalo Bill. Perhaps Doctor Chilton, looking for skin grafts...
1 BEDELIA'S LEG
After we see Will and Hannibal fall over the cliffside, we have no idea what happens to them after they plummet to the dark waters below. It's left ambiguous. We then flash to a post-credit like scene where we see Bedelia Du Maurier looking lovely in a posh dress, her hair perfectly coiffed, her skin sun-kissed.
She takes a fork from the table settings and conceals it under the table cloth. As the camera pans, we see there's a human leg just as neatly dressed on the table - hers. It looks as though she's waiting for two guests. Hannibal and Will? Someone else? We'll sadly never know, and we'll never know what becomes of her.