It’s been five years since Hannibal left our screens, but the recent arrival of the show’s entire three-season run on Netflix has led to a resurgence in its popularity, with a new audience discovering the acclaimed series for the first time and joining the many “Fannibals” who have kept the flame alive since 2015.
Based on the novels by Thomas Harris featuring his horror icon Hannibal Lecter, the show originally aired on NBC in the United States to a small but fervent audience.
Since its cancellation, rumors of a possible revival have circulated, with showrunner Bryan Fuller and the Hannibal cast expressing their desire to participate in any such project.
Will there be a fourth season of Hannibal? Moreover, when? And how will it appear? Here is everything you should know.
Despite gaining a cult following for its innovative storytelling, award-winning performances, and stunning visuals, NBC announced in June 2015, midway through the third season’s broadcast, that Hannibal would not be renewed for a fourth season.
The network said in a statement, “We’ve been incredibly proud of Hannibal throughout its three seasons.” “Bryan and his team of writers and producers, as well as our incredible actors, have created a visual storytelling palette that is unparalleled in broadcast or cable television.
We thank [producers] Gaumont and everyone involved with the show for their tireless efforts, which have made Hannibal an incredible experience for audiences worldwide.”
Fuller said in his own statement, “NBC has allowed us to create a television series that no other broadcast network would have dared, and has kept us on the air for three seasons despite Cancellation Bear Chow ratings and images that would have shredded the eyes of lesser Standards & Practices enforcers.”
“[NBC president] Jen Salke and her team have been phenomenal collaborators and incredibly creatively supportive.”
Netflix has Season 4 of Hannibal
From the moment the show was canceled, however, Fuller had a clear eye on the possibility of a revival, stating in the same 2015 statement, “Hannibal will have his last meal at NBC’s table this summer. However, a cannibal can always eat again.”
Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Fuller told Variety that Amazon and Netflix had “discussions” about possibly picking up the series. Fuller tweeted in July that despite the fact that both streaming services had rejected a Hannibal revival, he and the series’ creative team were “still investigating possibilities.”
In June 2016, Fuller reiterated that he and the cast were still “game” to return to the series, and in August of the following year, he stated on Twitter that “conversations” were taking place with unknown parties about a possible fourth season, but urged fans to be patient, adding, “This takes time.”
The June 2020 release of Hannibal on Netflix sparked renewed interest in both the series and the possibility of a fourth season, with Fannibals urging Netflix to produce new episodes. The streamer has not yet commented on the possibility…
Season 4 Hannibal Petition
Immediately following the cancellation of Hannibal, fans began a petition urging NBC to reconsider and order a fourth season. “Fans desire more Hannibal. Period.” Read the tagline.
New converts to the series continued to sign the Change.org Renew Hannibal petition in 2020, despite the petition ultimately failing – at least so far.
The Release Date for the Fourth Season of Hannibal
Bryan Fuller suggested in a June 2016 interview with Collider that the Hannibal creative team was required to wait “two years after the last airing of the show” before “exploring our options.”
“As of August 2017, we can actually begin discussing [a revival],” he said.
Fuller told Nerdist in June 2020 that he is still “very hopeful” about the possibility of a revival, implying that the series would pick up in real time “five, six, six years” after the original finale.
“The great thing about the idea is that if it takes five, six, or seven years for us to meet [Hannibal and Will], that’s how long they’ve been on the run,” he said. “The narrative continues from that point on. And we’ll adapt.”
The final episode of Hannibal, titled “The Wrath of the Lamb,” originally aired in August 2015. With a gap of seven years, the earliest a Hannibal revival could conceivably occur is in late 2022.
The Cast of Hannibal season 4
Hannibal series regulars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lecter), Hugh Dancy (Will Graham), Gillian Anderson (Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier), Ral Esparza (Dr. Frederick Chilton), Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price), Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller), and Caroline Dhavernas (Dr. Alana Bloom) participated in a reunion panel in July 2020, indicating that they would be open to returning for a revival.
It’s likely that there would be a desire to have Laurence Fishburne reprise his role as Will Graham’s boss, Jack Crawford, as that character played a significant role in the original novel.
Fuller also revealed that he has in mind The Hobbit actor Lee Pace, with whom he previously worked on the series Pushing Daisies, to play the book’s antagonist Buffalo Bill.
In contrast, Ellen Page was chosen to play FBI agent Clarice Starling, a role made famous by Jodie Foster in the 1991 film adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs.
The third and (so far) final season of Hannibal was an adaptation of two of Thomas Harris’ Lecter novels, with the chronology of the original stories reversed so that the 1999 novel Hannibal was adapted first, followed by 1981’s Red Dragon.
The series concluded with a bloody confrontation involving Hannibal Lecter, Will Graham, and serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) – Graham and Lecter collaborate to defeat and kill Dolarhyde in a confrontation on a clifftop, with Hannibal satisfied that Will has now become his murderous accomplice.
Will, confronted with the reality of his transformation, embraces Hannibal and pulls them both off a cliff.
In an after-credits scene, however, we see Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) seated at a dinner table. She is currently missing a leg, which has been prepared and is served on a table set for three. Will and Hannibal survived their fall from the cliff and are currently paying Bedelia a visit…
How Many Episodes of Hannibal Season 4?
It is unknown how many episodes would be included in a potential Hannibal revival; however, based on early rumors surrounding the project, it seems unlikely that we’d get a new 13-episode run comparable to the first three seasons.
In December 2016, Bryan Fuller expressed his desire to adapt The Silence of the Lambs into a miniseries.
“I believe the film adaptation is flawless, but there are many intriguing nooks and crannies in the book that could be explored in a television series,” he said on the Blumhouse Productions podcast.
Fuller elaborated in an interview with Crave Online, stating, “I am imagining a parallel structure of Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) in the institution, with a severely scarred Chilton (Raul Esparza) now having returned to his post.”
“Juxtaposing that, back in the heyday of Hannibal as a psychiatrist – perhaps even before we met him for the first time – when Benjamin Raspail was his patient and weaving that story into the Silence of the Lambs story as we know it today.”
Fuller explained to Digital Spy in 2014 that any adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs would necessitate an agreement with MGM.
“DeLaurentis and Gaumont [the studio behind Hannibal] owns any character from the book Red Dragon,” he explained, “whereas MGM owns any character from the book Silence of the Lambs.”