SDCC 2014: Sneak peek into NBC’s Hannibal

HannibalExpect a lot of awesome surprises from the next season of Hannibal! We got to sit down with the cast and crew of NBC’s Hannibal and learned a lot about the upcoming season. With the bloody season finale that we cannot get out of our heads, we had to know what the heck was going on! Hannibal is now on the run, with the beautiful Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie, and the lives of many hanging in the balance.

We were told the series is set a year later from the last episode. We know Will (Hugh Dancy) and Alana (Caroline Dhavernas) return for this coming season, but according to Dhavernas, Alana “will be stronger, which is a good thing. She’s always been strong. She’s always had a quiet strength I find without having to put her fists down and without having to scream. I think she knows the human mind is very intricate and complicated. Now I think she might have to protect herself a little bit more. So it will be fun to play a harder version of Alana”.

We asked writer Steve Lightfoot about Laurence Fishburne’s character Jack Crawford’s return due to his schedule. “We haven’t started looking at his schedule yet. The great thing about Laurence is that he loves the show and is hugely committed to it. He’s desperate to be in it and doing it. We normally find a way to make it work. You know, just work three days, three episodes worth of material and there he goes again… We definitely want him back on the show. He’s amazing”.

Also, Chilton is back! Raúl Esparza made an appearance to the press room and Ballroom 20 panel announcing his return as Dr. Frederick Chilton. This came as a shock since he was shot in the face in the second season. We asked creator Bryan Fuller’s take on Chilton’s return, “Well, Hannibal setting up Chilton, we thought ‘how do we get out of this?’ so we had to kill Chilton. I thought ‘okay, but I don’t want to kill Chilton. I didn’t have a problem breaking the canon of the book as much as I have breaking my own heart from not seeing the character again. I love Raúl and working with Raúl. He could get shot and survive. Chilton is going to be our “Kenny” [reference to South Park] and we are going to kill him some way every season. It’s insurmountable to survive, and yet he will.”

We followed up with Esparza about what to expect from Chilton next season. He told us his character will play a big part in capturing Hannibal, entering into Red Dragon territory, and that Hannibal will become his prisoner. He mentioned that Alana will be involved with the capture of Hannibal. He mentioned, “Chilton is going to become more unbearable and even more dangerous, because now he’s really angry”.

We asked Fuller about Gillian Anderson’s possible return on Hannibal, “We are negotiating her contract right now as a series regular. It’s not closed yet. She has been so incredibly supportive of the show. Such a lovely person.” When asked if her character Bedelia Du Maurier would be similar to the iconic Thomas Harris character Clarice Starling, Fuller refuted the comparisons, “No. It was fun pitch out the arc of the season. Bedelia is the smartest character on the show and this is how she navigates things. On this show so far, we can’t change her dramatically. They are going to be taking turns on who is in charge in a really fun way. So much about the first episode is as if it was a new pilot for a series starring Gillian Anderson and Mads Mikkelsen as these characters who are out in the world living under aliases. So it’s The Talented Mr. Lector”.

We found out some new and old characters will be seen in the upcoming 3rd and 4th season of Hannibal. Eddie Izzard, who played serial killer Abel Gideon, will be returning in a flashback, along with Kacey Rohl’s Abigail Hobbs. Fuller confirms their characters are dead and will be only in flashbacks.

During the Ballroom 20 panel, Fuller announced some recognizable Harris characters in the upcoming season – Commander Apache (episode 2), Lady Muraski (episode 3), Cordell (episode 4) and Francis Dolarhyde (episode 8) – “There’s going to be a lot of fun Easter eggs for those who are big fans of the books, knowing that those characters are going to be leaping from the page onto their television screen”. The first half of the third season will take parts from “Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising”, with the second half of the third season with “Red Dragon”.

When asked if Barney or Clarice will be seen in the upcoming season, Fuller and executive producer Martha De Laurentiis sadly announced those characters were owned by MGM and were not able to obtain the rights to Clarice Starling. They said they will be working on it because they would like to end with “Silence of the Lambs”. Fuller joked we would do our own “Shmarlice Shmarling”.

Check out NBC’s Hannibal San Diego Comic-Con panel:

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