With Hannibal having aired its series finale last Sunday, disappointed fans are dying to know how the fourth season of the show would have turned out. Luckily, showrunner Bryan Fuller has discussed his ideas for season 4 at length.
As many are well aware, the series followed the legendary serial killer and cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), and FBI profiler (Will Graham), and how their two lives became intertwined with psychological mind games, murder, and even romance at times. During its run, the show loosely followed the novels by Thomas Harris (Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising), except for Silence of The Lambs, which Fuller was unable to get the rights for.
Crave’s in depth interview with Bryan Fuller asks the showrunner his thoughts on the series' potential future storylines and inquires as to whether or not he would have his own take on The Silence of The Lambs:
"I absolutely do hope and would love to tell Silence of the Lambs with this cast. I love that novel and I think there’s fantastic ways to reimagine it for thirty years later..."
Considering that Fuller introduced Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) in season 1, and the character essentially served as a stand-in for Clarice Starling, the creator considers how he would incorporate the new character into the Silence of The Lambs arc:
"I adore Anna Chlumsky, and we talked about where Miriam Lass is now and what she would be doing, so yes, Miriam Lass would be - depending on Anna’s availability - as big a part as Anna’s availability would allow in a Silence of the Lambs arc."
The Silence of The Lambs is certainly the most famous of all the Thomas Harris novels - thanks to the Academy Award-winning efforts of Jonathan Demme, Jodie Foster, and, of course, Anthony Hopkins - which would make an enormous undertaking for Fuller to retell the story and still do it justice. However, the creator has an idea in mind that would put his unique stamp on it, while also allowing it to work in a more serialized format:
"I am imagining a parallel structure of Hannibal in the institution, with a severely scarred Chilton, now having returned to his post, and juxtaposing that, back in the heyday of Hannibal as a psychiatrist, perhaps even earlier than we met him the first time, when he had Benjamin Raspail as a patient, and weave that story in and around the modern day Silence of the Lambs tale as we know it."
One of the most memorable characters in The Silence of The Lambs is Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who fashions the skins of his victims into a body suit. Fuller discusses who his dream cast would be for Buffalo Bill if he could add the character to Hannibal:
"I would love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill. His first, most notable, award-winning career move was playing a transgendered person [in 2003’s A Soldier’s Girl], and I think it would be fascinating to return him to that side of his acting skill."
This wouldn’t be the first time that Fuller has considered Pace for a role in Hannibal, but unfortunately the actor had his hands full with Guardians of The Galaxy, The Hobbit, and Halt and Catch Fire:
"Many, many, many times. Every season. We constantly asked Lee but he was always so busy, because he was making Guardians of the Galaxy and Halt and Catch Fire and the Hobbit films. So his dance card was full but we kept on asking. We had talked about him playing Francis Dolarhyde, and it was something that we were sort of hanging in the balance, to see if Halt and Catch Fire would have another season. So he wasn’t available. But I think it worked out amazingly well for us. [Laughs.]"
On the topic of dream casts, Fuller explains his take on Clarice Starling and who he would cast as the FBI Agent:
"Well, there’s a couple of ways to go. There’s the Ellen Page way, which I think would be fantastic and more kind of in line with the Clarice that we all know. But I know I would also like to explore who Clarice would be from a different racial background. There’s something about being poor and white in the South but there’s something else about being poor and black in the South, and I think it could be the necessary gateway into the character, to make Clarice as much our own signature character as we tried to make Will Graham."
Hannibal took on a radically different approach to the characters of Hannibal and Will by having their relationship lean more towards the romantic, similar to Clarice and Hannibal’s relationship in The Silence of The Lambs. With the introduction of Clarice, would Hannibal’s affections transfer to her instead of Will?
"Well, I think that all depends on how Season 4 would have ended. [Laughs.]"
Fuller’s ideas for the fourth season of Hannibal seem very intriguing, which makes it a shame that they may not come to fruition. Imagining a serialized version of The Silence of The Lambs from the twisted mind of Bryan Fuller would have been some must-see TV.
However, fannibals should not give up hope just yet, as Fuller is currently looking for financing for a Hannibal movie. As we have learned from other cancelled shows like Community, Arrested Development, and Twin Peaks, there’s always a chance of a show being resurrected into another platform.