It only took five years, but the cast and crew of Hannibal got back together. We were lucky enough to be there, too. To kick off Nerdist House 2020 we sat down with our faves and talked good food memories, behind the scenes anecdotes, where the cast members see their characters in possible fourth season, and we even got some hints about the likelihood of a new series going ahead. So grab yourself something scrumptious, get comfy, and prepare to dig into the most delicious moments!
The Crew Is All Here
Seeing the team back together was magical. It was the first time many of them had seen each other again, and it was a truly joyous occasion. In an unprecedented digital panel, we got the chance to chat with Bryan Fuller (series creator), Mads Mikkelsen (Dr. Hannibal Lecter), Hugh Dancy (Will Graham), Gillian Anderson (Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier), Katie Isabelle (Margot Verger), Hettienne Park (Beverly Katz), Raúl Esparza (Dr. Frederick Chilton), Kacey Rohl (Abigail Hobbs), Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price), Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller), Caroline Dhavernas (Dr. Alana Bloom), Janice Poon (food consultant), David Slade (director/executive producer), Loretta Ramos (co-producer), and Martha De Laurentiis (executive producer).
Mads Mikkelsen Was the Hottest iPad We’ve Ever Seen
In the first of many moments that made Fannibals go wild, Mads Mikkelsen gave us some delightful dad energy with his Zoom name which was simply iPad. It was the perfect start to our surprisingly intimate and casual chat which transcended oceans, borders, and time zones.
Martha De Laurentiis and Loretta Ramos Looked Back on the Power of Fannibals
The pair have been incredible advocates not just for Hannibal, for which they were both part of the creative genesis, but also of its passionate fanbase known as Fannibals. De Laurentiis shared what a difference those fans have made. “From the first episode it’s been that core of viewers who hooked in straight away. I want to say they’re the smartest audience because they understood the nuance and class… it turned into this incredible global fandom.”
She also teased that the crew would love to collaborate one more time. “We’d love to spark this off again.”
Bryan Fuller Pondered Hannibal’s Place in a Prestige TV Landscape
Hannibal feels prescient when you watch it in 2020—not just topically, but tonally. There’s a dedication to darkness, humor, and experimental creativity that feels way ahead of its time. But looking back on it now, Fuller feels like that was never the intention. “We were all just trying to make the best TV show we could with no agenda. It was about honoring the prose that the show was based on… being able to try and adapt that to a cinematic language was super fun,” he explained.
David Slade Brought Along an Unexpected Prop
From the outset, things were perfectly strange as director and executive producer David Slade brought out an instantly recognizable prop… Abigail’s (Kacey Rohl) ear. Hannibal forced Will to eat the ear when he was being set up as the Chesapeake Ripper.
Kacy Shared How It Felt to be the ‘Daughter’ of Hannibal and Will
Abigail is a vital part of the Hannibal family both figuratively and literally. Rohl recalled her initial emotional connection to the role with Nerdist. “Abigail, to me, she’s so held in the hands of these people that she doesn’t know and she has to surrender to them and let them guide her as everything she knows has gone. And for me coming on to set with all these incredible actors that I’d watched and thought were super cool, that’s where I connected. And I did end up feeling held, so thank you guys.”
Hugh Remembered the First Moment He Truly Connected to the Series
The relationship between the titular character and the empathetic FBI profiler Will Graham is at the core of Hannibal. Hugh Dancy, who brings to life Graham on the show, opened up about the sequence that truly got him hooked on the character. “Early on when we started filming the second episode—I think—when Will inadvertently begins therapy with Hannibal. Bryan, you were on set that day and you suggested to do the first scene with Will on the balcony and bring him down throughout the episode, and that really grounded the rest of the season from there.”
Mads Spoke to How Hannibal Differentiated Itself From What Had Come Before
Reimagining Hannibal Lecter was no easy feat, but it’s one that Mikkelsen pulled off. For the actor, though, it was all about inspiration. “I think we were all on the same page. As much as we loved the books and what Anthony Hopkins—and other people before him—did, we wanted to separate ourselves from that. We wanted to make our own monster, or angel as I call him. It’s a tricky thing because you don’t want to separate for the sake of separation, you want to be inspired by what you’re doing. When I read the scripts it immediately stuck out to me that we were doing something different. It was extremely graphic and extremely beautiful to read those scripts.”
Caroline Dhavernas Suggested that Alana and Margot End Up Together
Fuller shared that it was actually Dhavernas who had suggested the fan fave pairing of Alana Bloom and Margot Verger. “One of my favorite things about working with Caroline was her coming up and saying, ‘I feel like this character would evolve to having a relationship with Margot Verger.’ And that there was something deeper and more interesting to explore with her bisexuality.” Katie Isabelle, who plays Margot, was totally behind the choice, too. “When those two got together I was like, ‘Oh yes!‘”
Bryan Fuller Hinted Anyone Could Come Back in a Potential Fourth Season
When we asked Hettienne Park about whether she’d return as Beverley’s secret twin sister out for revenge, she was really happy about the fan fave suggestion. Fuller also hinted that Beverly could return in another form too. “Believe me, if we get a season four, with all the mind palace bullshit of Will Graham’s broken mind, everyone is coming back,” Fuller laughed.
Gillian Anderson Often Had No Idea What Bryan Fuller Was On About
After a brief argument about who was the smartest character in the room—a phrase Fuller was apparently keen to throw around—Anderson blessed us with some hilarious truths about her take on the complex world of Hannibal and her character, Bedelia. “I haven’t a clue. I have no idea. I’d come, I’d drop in, I’d try and make sense of this ludicrous dialogue. If I just twist it a little bit this way or that way it might make a bit of sense. I’m not sure if I ever quite knew what I was doing. And I think because her trajectory changed so much, from episode to episode, at one point I found a good way to play it depending on which eye you were looking at it with,” she giggled.
They Revealed a Hilarious Behind the Scenes Zeller and Price Moment
While talking about the more comedic reading of the darkly humorous show, Mikkelsen recalled a particularly hilarious shooting memory featuring Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams. “There was an infamous scene in my kitchen that I remember. When you agreed with [director Vincenzo Natali] on making a serious version and a more comedic version, and after the first take Vincenzo said, ‘Okay now do the serious one.’ And you were like, ‘That was the serious one.'”
The Cast Gushed Over Janice Poon’s Creative and Delicious Creations
Dancy kicked off the the Janice love by laughing about how obvious her creations made Hannibal’s tendencies. “We often wondered how people didn’t catch Hannibal quicker because his food was always scattered with dead chicken feet. Nobody has put this together?” Mikkelsen agreed, saying that “We had a crime show and here he had snakes and craniums on the table. Couldn’t we just point the finger in another direction this one time?”
Raúl Esparza shared one of his favorite moments. “I remember the party with the chicken feet, it wasn’t an ad lib… but I remember having this series of wild faces reacting to the food and then you used it.”
But as crazy as it all looked, the cast was quick to add that it was also delectable. “I just want to add not only did it look amazing but it was also delicious,” Mikkelsen noted.
Katie Isabelle Recalled an Astonishingly Relatable Food Memory
“On the day that me and Caroline shot our beautiful kaleidoscope sex scene, we were in nipple daisies and our nude thongs and we’re not gonna eat anything to be beautiful and skinny on TV. But around halfway through the day, production had generously bought a hot dog truck and we were like, ‘For f*cks sake… f*ck it, we’re going to have hot dogs. We’re starving.’ And we were huddled in the corner of this room eating hot dogs like Gollum. People would walk past and someone would say, ‘Don’t go in there, the girls are eating hot dogs,'” Isabelle chuckled.
Hugh and Mads Shared What the Connection Between Hannibal and Will Means to Them
“Mutual recognition is a big part of it,” Dancy pondered. “It’s two people who have been, if not lonely, completely unique their whole lives and then somebody comes along who—in Hannibal’s case, it’s conscious—he sees this rare thing in Will. Will perhaps recognizes in Hannibal his greatest secret, and that’s a very powerful thing. I always thought of it as if you’re not only a great chess player but you’re the only person who ever plays chess and then one day someone else walks in with a chess board and your whole world changes.”
Mikkelsen agreed. “I think you can relate to it when you’re young, our age, and when you’re older. There’s always one person in the room that you want to see you. There’s one person that you really wish could actually see you and that person rarely puts their eyes on you. I think that’s the thing between them, they wanted to be seen by one specific person and that’s a very beautiful drama.”
Raúl Esparza Is Certain That Dr. Chilton Will Never Die
“He’ll never meet a death, I don’t believe it,” Esparza laughed. “Bryan just set out to torture me and every season he’d find a new way. And the seven hours in makeup, that’s what finished me off. I have such a deep memory the first time I walked on set with the fake teeth and ripped off face… I had my arm resting on this kind of metal bar. And Guillermo [the director] asked a nurse who was working with us, ‘His arm is resting on this metal bar, do you think a man who has gone through this kind of burning would be okay with that?’ And the nurse said, ‘This man? This man would be dead!’ So I fully expect Chilton to come back and have an anvil dropped on his head.”
The Songs That Each Character Would Sing in a Musical Episode
A Hannibal musical episode seems far too good to be true. But thanks to one of our great fan questions, Fuller shared that the first song that he’d want to bring to the show would be Hannibal singing “Feed Me” from Little Shop of Horrors. As for Chilton, he’d sing “I’m the Worst Pie in London” from Sweeney Todd. But don’t get your hopes up too high. Mikkelsen said he’d be happy to do a dance sequence but no singing for him.
We Learned How Hannigram Spent Their Time in Quarantine
When one of our Fannibals suggested it might have been hard for Hannibal and Will to survive in quarantine, Dancy disagreed. “It’s easy [for cannibals] as you know where everyone is, they’re all at home.” But the pair also suggested that they might have been baking in Denmark, and as Mikkelsen reminded viewers, “You can have a party of ten.” So we think they’d be fine.
Mads Shared His Thoughts on Erotic Hannibal Fan Fic
Turns out that Mikkelsen is a fan of keeping up on fan theories, stories, thoughts, and ideas, including some of a more… adult nature. “I’ve seen a ton,” the actor shared. “But mostly I’ve seen some graphic novels. I’m not sure I want to see it, but there’s a small little part of me that is a little curious. I’m sure you know what I’m hinting at—it’s slightly erotic but kind of interesting.”
Bryan Reflected on the Show’s Legacy of Representation and How It Could Be Improved
Though many fans feel like the show excelled at representation and subverting expectations, Fuller feels like there’s much more they could do in the future. “I would love to see a lot more representation on the show. We don’t exactly have a stellar card in terms of that as we did slice Beverly into little pieces and there were certainly aspects of violence against people—including women. But what we didn’t do was sexual violence against women because it felt too real.”
Turns Out There’s a Big Chance Hannigram Could Become Canon
The nature of the relationship between Will and Hannibal has been at the core of much of the fandom. One of our Fannibals asked whether or not there was a potential of seeing their hypothetical romance become canon in a new season. Fuller had a lot of thoughts. “We were definitely driving towards that in the third season. I love that scene with Hugh and Gillian where in the midst of the nonsense there’s this moment of clarity, ‘Is Hannibal in love with me?’ From the very first meeting with Mads he has redefined the character for me, because he was like, ‘He’s the Devil.’ And, to me, the devil is pansexual. I do think Will Graham is a heterosexual character, but sexuality is fluid and I think it would have to be a conversation where we would have to find, ‘What is the most authentic version of their relationship now?'”
Fuller continued. “It would be a conversation with Mads and Hugh about what feels true to the characters because up until the point where I wrote ‘Is Hannibal in love with me?’ I was aware of the fandom wanting a sexualization of these characters and I was entertained by that greatly but I was also trying to be true to Thomas Harris and these characters and Mads’ declaration of Hannibal as the Devil. But it feels like we were on a trajectory and it feels like we just have to find the most authentic path for that trajectory as opposed to forcing something.”
Get Your Flip Flops Ready Because Season 4 Will Be Set Somewhere Hot
Fuller has tweeted in the past that a potential new season might be set in Cuba and he confirmed those plans during our reunion. Speaking to his dream vision of season four, the creator shared, “It’s very sort of sunny and sweaty as compared to the cold, harsh realities of Toronto. I think it would be really fun to go sunny, sweaty, and beachy and bring a whole new temperature to the cinema.” Sadly for Esparza, he might not be joining as Dancy joked that Chilton would be staying in Canada. “I’m the only Cuban member of the cast but I’m not allowed to go!” Esparza lamented.
Where the Characters Would Be in Season 4
Thompson shared that as well as looking after Will’s dogs, he truly believes Jimmy Price will have gone back to the bottle after the events of season three. Fuller shared that if all goes to plan, Price’s partner Zeller will be teaching at the FBI academy. And then there’s one of the biggest questions of all: whether Alana and Margot will ever be truly safe from Hannibal. Dhavernas said she left their fate up to Fuller, who’s tight lipped but did tease that, “We’ve got some good stuff!”
Bryan Fuller Dished on Whether We’ll Ever Get a Season 4
Though Fuller sadly couldn’t confirm that Hannibal would definitely be returning, he did have some good news for fans. “I am very hopeful. The great thing about the fact that if we are going to be meeting them and it takes five, six, seven years until we’re meeting them, that’ll just be how long they’ve been on the lam,” Fuller quipped. Dancy chimed in, “It’ll be like Grumpy Old Men with cannibalism.” And who doesn’t want to see that?
Finally, Mads (iPad) Thanked Fannibals Everywhere
“We wouldn’t be here without you!” The actor smiled before heading out for the evening.
Watch the full Hannibal Reunion panel below!
Featured Image: Nerdist