Though Hannibal has yet to find a new home for a potential fourth season, showrunner Bryan Fuller said during an SDCC panel that he was investigating the possibility of a feature film instead. In press interviews he later confirmed Amazon and Netflix had passed on the series, though when asked about Hulu, indicated they had not passed as far as he knew. Fuller also said he was confident they could get all of the key players back for a movie, regardless of the recent reports that all of the actors were released from their contracts.
When asked whether they would consider a fan-funded film, such as via Kickstarter, or if they’d go with traditional funding, Producer Martha De Laurentiis answered: “They’ve approached me, so I just don’t know what model we’re looking at, whether we’re entertaining television, or the timing with the cast,” she said. It was unclear whether De Laurentiis had been approached by a crowd-funding type of site or a more traditional method of funding for a feature film, however.
When discussing his character during the panel, actor Hugh Dancy said that the episode airing in two weeks would jump the characters forward three years, to a period where Will Graham is married and starting to recover from his involvement with Hannibal, which is when the show will also introduce the story of Francis Dolarhyde’s transformation into the Red Dragon. Fuller also said they were going to minimize the focus on the sexual nature of the crimes committed by Dolarhyde, because he does not believe rape should be depicted on television unless the proper time is allotted to deal with the damage and effects. Instead, he said it would focus on Dolarhyde’s attack on the family unit as a whole.
If the show does come back, Fuller said he has plans to reinvent the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal, but isn’t sure whether he’ll be able to include the character Clarice – though he does have some fantasy casting in mind.
“The Clarice rights have always been tricky, because they’re owned by MGM. Martha has rights to everybody in Red Dragon and every character that originated in Red Dragon, but she doesn’t have the rights to whoever originated in Silence of the Lambs,” he said. “Because the show may be changing formats it might not be possible, or if in the change of the formats we’re able to work out a deal where we can include those things, that would be fantastic. I love Ellen Page. I think she would be a great Clarice, but I also love the idea of not casting someone who is white in that role, and having race play a factor in Clarice’s background in the way that race plays a factor in everybody’s background.”
Fuller said if the show ends here, though, the finale will hold as a series finale, and that he wrote the season with a potential ending for the series in mind. He said he had a gentleman’s agreement with NBC about where his ratings needed to be to survive, and knew when he was falling below that threshold.
“Part of that gentlemen’s agreement was ‘I will let you do the show that you want to do, and I can protect the show as long as we’re above a .5,'” he said. “And once we went below a .5 rating, I knew Jen [Salke] wouldn’t be able to protect us… so I was aware that this was going to be our last season, in many ways, so I wanted to get as much in there. And I thought if we don’t do Red Dragon now, we might not be able to.”