It's been five years since Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham embraced and tumbled over a cliff, concluding the three season run of the NBC series Hannibal after 39 episodes. In the years since the creative parties responsible for the series have mused on returning with series creator Bryan Fuller frequently speaking up about how he'd love to return and what storylines he'd like to see take place. Furthermore the series has only grown in popularity since it first premiered. Though the schedule of assembling its cast would no doubt be a puzzle to solve, a Hannibal revival is something the world needs and which any streaming service would be lucky to produce. It's time to set the table and feast again.
The creative team is ready
As recently as this summer Bryan Fuller noted that he was "very hopeful" for a new season of the series after all three seasons arrived on Netflix. Speaking during a Nerdist reunion of the cast and crew Fuller added, "The great thing about the idea that if we are going to be meeting [back up with Hannibal and Will] and it takes five, six, seven years or what have you, that’s just how long they’ve been on the lam. Then the story picks up from that point. And we’ll adapt.”
Star Mads Mikkelsen also chimed in recently about it as well, noting his interest in bringing The Silence of the Lambs story to the series in an interview with IndieWire. "We’d obviously switch it around a little and do all kinds of crazy stuff with it. That story is so interesting and the characters in it are as interesting. We’d switch around the genders and maybe even put two characters into one. We would love to find someone to play Buffalo Bill. That’s going to be tough. We found a Hannibal, so it’s possible.”
There are countless interviews where the creative team has expressed interest in returning and reviving the series.
Hannibal has never been more popular or available
When Hannibal premiered on NBC it was never a ratings winner for the network. Fans might argue the series was doomed from the start, airing at 10 PM on Thursdays and later moving to Fridays in its second season. The series averaged around 2.9 million viewers in its first season, falling to around 2.5 million in season two, and slipping to just 1.3 million in its third and final.
The series thrives online though, landing immediately in Netflix's Top 10 when it premiered on the service. Hannibal was a different animal, developed and aired on traditional network television, but clearly a beast that deserves to let its audience binge the story as needed. According to Google Trends, search interest for the series spiked when it premiered on Netflix, a similar bump to when a new season would drop in the years since.
Revivals remain a staple of TV development
As you read this a revival of Saved by the Bell continues to make headlines with news of a Dexter revival announced just a few weeks ago, The Animaniacs revival playing on Hulu, even The Venture Bros. wasn't cancelled but just a few weeks before WarnerMedia began plotting its revival. To put it bluntly, one of the main factors that gets something greenlit in Hollywood has always, always, always been the familiarity of a property with the general public. It's probably the biggest reason that Hannibal even made it to television in the first place, and by that same token could be the reason that it returns. Hannibal has been off the air for five years but its fanbase remains committed to it, which is no more clear than how often Fuller and co. are asked about a fourth season.
Adapting to the time difference will only be a strength
Adapt is exactly what the series would have to do. When Hannibal was first in development as a series it came with the label that it was telling the "Pre-Red Dragon" days of its titular serial killer. Though elements of Hannibal's life had been mentioned in the pages of Thomas Harris' novels and the feature film adaptations (his younger years were covered in Hannibal Rising to boot), this series marked the first time that fans of the character were able to see him acting as The Chesapeake Ripper.
As the series went on though it started to pull elements from the other books, adapting Red Dragon and even incorporating elements from Hannibal. What the series has the opportunity to do with a revival is flip the script and tell the story of the final days of Hannibal Lecter. The conclusion of Harris' novel and the Ridley Scott film Hannibal both ended with the character on the run, and no story since has filled in that gigantic blank. By reviving the Hannibal TV series, this narrative can be told in the same way that its first two seasons were, giving us a story no one else has touched and doing it with a style that is now the trademark of the character.
It's also worth noting that due to some complicated rights issues, Hannibal the TV series was unable to use any elements or characters from The Silence of the Lambs. The screen rights to that story remain tied up at MGM who are already involved in a new CBS series titled "Clarice," focusing on Rebecca Breeds as the titular FBI agent and picking up after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. By having the restriction of not being able to use that character or story, a Hannibal revival puts its creative team in the position to forge their own path, something they've already succeeded in doing multiple times throughout its three seasons.
What do you want to see in a fourth season revival of Hannibal? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!