Season 3 of Bryan Fuller's Hannibal ended with not so much with a cliffhanger as a cliff plunger - an ending that could be interpreted several different ways based on whether or not the series continued. Of course, the series has not continued, having been ignominiously cancelled by NBC instead.
Since then, the show's fans have been riding a rollercoaster of emotions as series creator Bryan Fuller has tried in vain to get the series picked up by a streaming service and then teased a possible movie as an alternative to more TV episodes. Fuller hinted in interviews that a fourth season would have introduced Clarice Starling into the mix and roughly followed the plot of Silence of the Lambs, but a new interview with Hugh Dancy (who played Hannibal hunter Will Graham in the TV series) offers a different look at what might have been.
Dancy sat down for an interview with Collider to promote his upcoming Hulu series The Path, in which he will play a cult leader. Rather than following the plot of Silence of the Lambs, Dancy says that Fuller told him the new season would have hit the reset button on the series:
"Bryan [Fuller] pitched it to me … well, he, described to me in an overview with what he wanted to do with the 4th season, had there been an interest, and it was really fantastic. It was a complete restart, without describing it — because who knows, God knows, maybe some way we may be able to do it in the future — but it took us back to the first season in a very unexpected way, and made total sense of that cliffhanger ending; it seemed justified. It was born out of a part of one of the books so it was still coming out of that universe, but it wasn’t the Clarice / Silence of the Lambs storyline."
Dancy was also pressed about the future of the series, and said that he was as in the dark as the show's fans. He mentioned the schedules of the show's stars, including himself, as a possible roadblock to the show's return, and seemed to think that the pacing of the show would not necessarily translate well to movie format:
"I think we’d all be happy to return in some capacity, and the idea of a movie is really interesting. Obviously, one of the things that we did with the show, that Bryan did really, was very languorous, very image-rich storytelling, so how to fit that into a movie, I’m not sure. But the version of the season he described to me … I just know I’d like for it to happen."
Fans of Hannibal's blood-soaked bromance would probably be happy to see it return in any form, be it a fourth season or a movie spin-off. Regardless, it does not sound like they will be getting their wish anytime soon. At the very least they will be able to see the show's two lead actors continue on in other roles (Dancy in The Path, Mads Mikkelsen in Doctor Strange and Rogue One: a Star Wars Story). That may be small comfort, though, given how few faces are likely to be eaten off or internal organs made into hors-d'oeuvres in any of those projects.