Clarice: Silence of the Lambs Sequel Series Legally Can't Say "Hannibal"

CBS is delivering a sequel to the story of Silence of the Lambs in the form of a new crime thriller called Clarice. As you can tell from the title, the series will focus on FBI agent trainee Clarice Starling, who was first played by Jodie Foster in the award-winning 1991 Silence of the Lambs film adaptation. While Clarice was the main character of the film, and author Thomas Harris' novel, it was always the serial killer Hannibal Lecter that stole the show. However, that won't be the case with Clarice, as the series legally won't be able to use Hannibal's name.

The rights to Harris' characters remain complicated, divided between MGM and the Dino De Laurentiis Company. During a preview of the series, EW confirmed that Clarice only has the rights to certain characters from the property. Clarice will have all of the characters that the Hannibal series didn't have, including Buffalo Bill.

"I’m still trying to understand how the rights are divided,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said. “But it's been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal – not because we didn't love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn't feel fresh for us.”

Clarice takes place one year after the events of Silence of the Lambs, and features Rebecca Breeds in the titular role. Instead of dealing with a traditional serial killer, the first season of Clarice will focus on “an entity that represents something that we deal with in our lives all the time,” Kurtzman teased. “It’s a more expanded, nuanced, complicated, and topical version of a serial killer.”

"We're looking for not to repeat what Demme did, because I think the biggest mistake that we could make would be to mirror the style of that," the EP continued. "We harness the spirit of it and ask, 'What was he doing that was so meaningful and how do we interpret it now, 30 years later, for a modern audience?'"

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Clarice premieres on CBS on Thursday, February 11th.