***If you haven’t seen the second season of Hannibal, you should probably stop here and WATCH THE SECOND SEASON OF Hannibal***
British comedian and TV personality Jonathan Ross moderated the panel which included series director David Slade, creator Bryan Fuller, producer Martha DeLaurentis, and stars Scott Thompson (medical examiner Jimmy Price), Caroline Dhavernas (Dr. Alana Bloom), Aaron Abrams (medical examiner Brian Zeller), and surprise guest and victim and a bullet to the face in season 2, Raul Esparza who will be returning in season 3.
Fuller kicked off the panel by revealing that Eddie Izzard would return in season three (albeit in flashback) as Dr. Abel Gideon. If you remember, Dr. Gideon’s attempt to get revenge on Dr. Lecter ended with the former ending up as a very unfortunate dinner date.
Mads Mikkelsen couldn’t attend, but he did send a video message from Denmark promising to be here next year. Hugh Dancy also sent in a message from Australia (rocking a new mustache) thanking the fans for watching the show.
Fuller says that in episode two, we’ll meet Italian policeman Pazzi, played by Giancarlo Giannini in the 2001 Ridley Scott film, and Lady Murasaki will be introduced in episode 3 (previously played by Gong Li in Hannibal Rising). More importantly, serial killer Francis Dollarhyde, who’s been teased throughout the first two seasons, will make his first appearance with episode 8.
With the addition of Inspector Pazzi, Fuller has essentially confirmed that Hannibal is headed to Italy for its third season, with Dr. Lecter on the run. The next season will be FBI-light, at least for the first half, with the first 7 episodes focusing on Hannibal on the run. Fuller describes the first episode of season 3 as a pilot for a Hannibal and Gillian Anderson’s Dr. Du Maurier, kicking off at what he describes as a dramatic moment with the two as they flee the law.
Fuller says that Murasaki is “going to kick all kinds of ass.” If you’re not familiar with her, she served as kind of a adoptive mother and mentor to Hannibal, informing a lot of his personality.
Fuller and DeLaurentis addressed questions about how and when Clarice Starling might appear in the show. While they don’t yet have the rights to the characters in Silence of the Lambs, DeLaurentis held out hope that they might be able to work with current rights holders MGM to introduce Clarice in season 4. Fuller says they’re currently making the full-court press to get access to the character, but that they’re prepared to work around it if necessary.
Dhavernas explained how her character, a psychiatrist who fell under the spell of Hannibal in season 2, could unknowingly fall for a serial killer, she described Hannibal as a rock for Alana when things were spiraling out of control with Will Graham.
Esparza talked about Dr. Chilton’s fate in season 2, saying that Fuller has been very kind when it comes to his character and knowing how or if Chilton would come back. He jokes that when he was gutted by Dr. Gideon in season 1, Fuller took him aside and said he’d be okay, and did the same after Dr. Chilton was shot in the face.
Slade says that he and the writers talk about the layers of symbolism in the show, which is packed with animalism and hints at the interior emotional relationship between Will and Hannibal, but says that sometimes they just want to see something cool on the screen. Fuller added that the love between Hannibal and Will is real (if not sexual), although he joked that the fans have done a good job of covering the sexual aspect through fan fiction.
He continued that in a way, Hannibal, which remixes elements of the books Hannibal, Red Dragon, and the prequel Hannibal Rising, was an act of fan fiction itself. He added that the show is inspired by Lynch and Kubrick, and, responding to a fan question agreed that he and David Slade talked a lot about the shared elements between Hannibal and anime.
Finally, to your Pushing Daisies questions: Fuller addressed a question about the short-lived Wildstorm comic which was cancelled with the collapse of that DC imprint. He said he hoped might some story threads which didn’t make their way into the comic ending up in a movie.
The third season of Hannibal premieres sometime in 2015.