Bryan Fuller Details 'Hannibal' Fourth Season Ideas, Keeps Movie Hopes Alive

Hannibal is over. Here's a hankie to dry your tears. Oh, sorry, that one has blood on it, try this one instead. But what if... Hannibal wasn't really over? What if there could be a movie? That's the sort of thing that cold-hearted series creator Bryan Fuller is talking about right now, and even though that's the sort of thing he's been talking about for a while, fans of the departed show might be happy to know that producers are still thinking about ways to continue the story.

Fuller says in an interview that "[producer] Martha De Laurentiis is looking into financing for a feature film," and that while the odds are low — less than 50/50 — they're still trying to work things out. There are even more comments out there about what a fourth season might have been, too, which will give people ideas to chew on while dreaming of that movie or new mini-series or whatever.

Note that spoilers for the end of Hannibal season three follow.

First off, while you read what follows, go ahead and play this song, which is 'Love Crime,' aka the music from the end of the season finale, by Siouxsie Sioux & Brian Reitzell. (It's Siouxsie's first song in many years, which is exciting.)

OK, let's go. Fuller gave a wide-ranging series post-mortem to HitFix, where he said,

Martha De Laurentiis is looking into financing for a feature film. The season 4 that we were going to tell is such a restart and reimagining that I still hope in some way that we get to tell a version of that, if not "Silence of the Lambs" itself, as a miniseries. I would love to return this cast to the big screen from whence they came, and Hannibal Lecter to the big screen, from whence he came. It seems perfectly symmetrical.

Asked about the odds of that working out, he said,

Oh, God. I have no idea. I think they're less than 50/50, and not in our favor. But I'm curious to see how folks respond to the finale, and then also if that satisfies them? If that feels like "We got a conclusion to our story and it's wrapped up in a bow, and we don't need anymore," then the audience will dictate. But if the audience is still there for the show and still wants a continuation of that story, I'll continue looking for ways to give it to them.

In an equally meaty interview with Grantland, Fuller echoed the movie comments,

Maybe in a few years from now MGM might decide that they would love to see a Silence of the Lambs miniseries on Starz, and we'll go for it... at this point we're trying to get financing for a Hannibal film that would essentially be a version of the arc [I had in mind] for Season 4. And who knows what the likelihood of that is.

That Starz comment doesn't come out of nowhere, as Fuller is doing American Gods for Starz as his current project.

In that same interview, Fuller also talked about crafting the arc for season three, and how it concludes some ideas of the series, and ties up one aspect of the Will Graham / Hannibal Lecter relationship:

It felt — it's hard to answer that, because I had a plan for Season 4 and how to wrangle the story back from the cliff's edge, so to speak. With the idea that we were not going immediately into a Season 4, and there may be a period of time before we pick up the baton again to tell more adventures of Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, it felt like this was the logical conclusion to the arc of the season, and to Will Graham saying, "I have to kill him or I'll become him." A Thelma and Louise/Sherlock and Moriarty nosedive felt like it completed that arc of what Will Graham had been experiencing in the first three seasons. And then Season 4 would've started a whole new arc between those two guys.

Referring to the end of the show as a Thelma and Louise moment implies one thing, but talking about it in Sherlock terms means quite another. And, yes, in both interviews Fuller talks about some ideas of how that finale can be considered to be open-ended.

So what is the season four plan, and how could it become a movie? Speaking to Grantland, Fuller says,

There's a portion of the novel Hannibal that has not been included in any of the adaptations of the story. That was the thrust of the potential Season 4 for us — taking this plot point from that book and reconceiving it for Will and Hannibal.

But there were also hopes to include parts of The Silence of the Lambs in season 4, with, ideally, Hannibal and Clarice, Buffalo Bill, and Benjamin Raspail. Fuller told Crave Online he'd love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill, which is a great idea. He also described his idea of the story structure for season 4.

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.

All three interviews are worth reading in full, with the HitFix and Grantland pieces being particularly good.