[Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for the Hannibal season 2 finale ahead.]
It's never pretty when couples fight, and when one person in the relationship is a cannibalistic serial killer, disagreements can get positively ugly. Such was the case in the season 2 finale of Hannibal, 'Mizumono', which delivered a series of shocks in quick succession and ended on a brutal cliffhanger.
Before Hannibal first premiered on NBC, showrunner Bryan Fuller described it as a "love story" between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, and the first two seasons have certainly played out that way, with a sordid mix of seduction, betrayal and infidelity. The conclusion of season 2 left Jack Crawford, Abigail Hobbs, Alana Bloom and Will bleeding out at Hannibal's house as the killer made his escape, and it was unclear which (if any) of these characters will live to see the next season. All in all, it's not the best execution of an arrest that's ever gone down.
Fans of Hannibal are still reeling from the finale, but Fuller has provided a postmortem (pun intended) on the second season, as well as some details of what's to come in season 3, in an interview with TV Guide. Since Fuller has previously talked about his plans to develop Will's character throughout the show's seven-season arc, he doesn't try to make a secret of the fact that Will is going to survive his gutting. The rest of the characters, however, are not so safe.
"We are staying very true to in the incident in the novel with Will and Hannibal and it's very basic outcome... There's going to be an impact from what's happened here. It's safe to say that not everybody survives. Everyone that's laying there breathing could be breathing their last breaths. It doesn't go well for all of them.
"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."
While the death toll has been steadily rising, Will and Hannibal seem to be the mainstays of the show, and much of the focus so far has been on their developing friendship and its peaks and valleys. Describing what happened between them as "a nasty breakup," Fuller touched on what Will's actions in season 2 will mean for their relationship - and for Will's path in particular - when season 3 arrives.
"The stag always represented the connection between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. He started seeing the stag after he was first exposed to Hannibal's murder of Cassie Boyle impaled on the stag head in the field. It felt like, [when Will sees the stag dying], the relationship that they had has died. Whatever comes next between them will be a fresh new hell. ... In any relationship, when you throw a fit and end a relationship in dramatic fashion, later you might be going, 'Oh, I do sort of miss them.' [Laughs] The obsession is going to always work both ways between these two gentlemen."
The way Fuller describes it, season 3 may well open with Hannibal jealously stalking Will's Facebook page. The showrunner has previously discussed the seven-season arc that he originally pitched for the show, and how it roughly follows the storyline of Thomas Harris' novels. The show has deviated from the source material previously, however, and Fuller explained that season 3 will largely be a mix-and-match of different books in the series that also rewrites Hannibal's history.
"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.
"The books won't necessarily be in sequential order. We'll be hitting elements of each of them except Silence of the Lambs in the next season. My hope is that not only do we have a completely different Hannibal Lecter story in Season 3, but we will meet some of those great characters like Francis Dolarhyde and Lady Murasaki and weave them into the world in a unique way."
Francis Dolarhyde is the killer that Will Graham hunts (with Hannibal's aid) in Harris' novel "Red Dragon", while Lady Murasaki is Hannibal's Japanese aunt, who raises him through the later stages of his childhood and appears in "Hannibal Rising". It's not too surprising that Hannibal's backstory has been changed for the show, since in the novels his backstory is tied to his experiences in World War II, and Mads Mikkelsen looks a little bit too young to play a modern day character who was born in the 1930s.
Fuller has left us with plenty of exciting teases to be going on with, but Hannibal fans will have to wait until next year to find out who survived the massacre at Hannibal's home, and who will be going into the ground.
Hannibal returns to NBC for season 3 in 2015.
Source: TV Guide