Hannibal star Hugh Dancy has opened up about why he thinks the beloved psychological horror series still hasn’t been revived for a fourth season.
During and interview with Collider, Dancy offered his take regarding why Hannibal fans haven’t given up hope for Season 4. “[W]e keep saying, when we get asked, ‘Oh, we’d love to do it,’ which is true,” the actor said. “Maybe it’ll take one of us to say, ‘I will absolutely never do a fourth season of Hannibal,’ but that would be a lie.” Despite fans’ enthusiasm and his own desire to return, however, Dancy isn’t surprised that a fourth season of Hannibal hasn’t happened.
“I’m not exactly surprised because essentially, first and foremost, somebody has to write a fairly sizable check,” he said. “I’m not talking about me being paid. I’m talking about the cost of making a season of television. For a while, it seemed like the streamers were gonna be everybody’s savior, in that respect, but now there’s been a cutoff there. There are shows that are watched by millions of people that don’t make it past a second season. So, I have no idea what that calculation is.”
When asked if there would ever come a time when he no longer wanted to come back to Hannibal, Dancy said, “We may literally just age out of it and the people online will start to say, ‘Well, actually, that might be slightly gross.’” The actor also stated that Hannibal Season 3 wrapped up in “fairly conclusive fashion” and that showrunner Bryan Fuller’s idea for a potential Season 4 always included an open-ended gap.
While Hannibal Season 4 might never come to pass, fans of the series can at least take solace knowing that Will Graham’s dogs were probably okay following the FBI profiler’s presumed death. “Oh, I feel like somebody’s looking after those dogs,” Dancy said. “I’m not worried about the dogs. I feel like Will would have prepared for a mechanism whereby his dogs and his fishing rods would go to a loving owner.”
Hannibal Gave Dr. Lecter’s Story a Modern Re-Telling
Hannibal premiered on NBC in 2013, running for a total of 39 episodes across three seasons through 2015. Based on the Hannibal Lecter series of books by Thomas Harris, the show starred Dancy as Will Graham opposite Mads Mikkelsen as the cannibalistic Hannibal Lecter himself. The show’s first two seasons effectively served as a prequel to 1981’s Red Dragon, the first novel in Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series, taking place before Graham captured the serial-killing psychiatrist. Hannibal‘s third and final season was split into two distinct parts. The first part served to remix Harris’ 1999 novel Hannibal, with the second half adapting Red Dragon itself. Season 3 also incorporated elements from Harris’ 2006 prequel novel, Hannibal Rising.
Fuller’s original roadmap for Hannibal called for seven seasons. The first three would consist of original material, the fourth would adapt Red Dragon, the fifth would adapt The Silence of the Lambs, the sixth would adapt Hannibal and the seventh would offer an original conclusion. However, while NBC’s Hannibal was able to use any character introduced in (or exclusive to) Red Dragon, Hannibal or Hannibal Rising, Fuller was unable to secure the rights to The Silence of the Lambs, meaning major characters like Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill could not appear on the show. (Harris’ Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising had all previously been adapted into feature films — twice, in Red Dragon‘s case).
Another issue that served to undercut Fuller’s ambitious plans was the fact that despite being met with widespread critical acclaim, Hannibal‘s live viewership numbers were less than stellar, prompting NBC to pull the plug after three seasons. The Season 3 finale concluded with Will and Hannibal plummeting off a waterside cliff, seemingly to their deaths, though no bodies were ever shown.
Hannibal Fans Still Want Season 4
After NBC canceled Hannibal, Fuller met with both Amazon and Netflix regarding a potential revival. Netflix declined to renew Hannibal, due to the fact that Amazon’s Prime Video held the exclusive streaming rights to the show. Amazon itself was game to revive the show as a Prime Video original, though wanted an immediate debut, which would not have given Fuller enough time to map out and produce Season 4. Still, while the Hannibal cast’s contracts expired in 2015, Dancy and Mikkelsen have expressed interest in returning should the show actually be saved. Fans of the series have also been vocal in their desire to see the actors return to their respective roles, as has Fuller.
These days, Hannibal is available to stream on Hulu. Outside of the Fuller-Verse (if you will), the main protagonist of The Silence of the Lambs went on to star in the CBS series Clarice, which ran for a single season in 2021. Fuller, meanwhile, is working on a Peacock original series based on another popular horror franchise: Friday the 13th. Finally, Dancy joined the cast of the revived NBC series Law & Order for Season 21 in 2022, with Season 22 on the way.