Season 2 of NBC’s deliciously disturbing drama draws to a close Friday, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start looking ahead to the recently renewed Hannibal’s Season 3. The finale will reportedly leave us hanging with several tantalizing cliffhangers, which means we’re going to need details about next season, like, now. Sadly, we’ve got a long wait ahead of us — Season 1 premiered in early April 2013 and Season 2 in late February 2014, which means we’ve got at least nine months until this brilliant show will grace our screens again. How will us Fannibals survive? By dissecting every tidbit, tease, and spoiler that comes our way, of course.
Thankfully, showrunner Bryan Fuller has been pretty open since the series’ inception about his long-term plans for Hannibal. This gives us a fairly good idea of what to expect from the overall arc of Season 3, if not all the gory details of each individual episode. Will we catch up to the source material yet? What new characters will we meet? What exactly will Hannibal be up to? How many fabulous hats will Freddie wear? Fortunately, we know the answer to (some of) these questions already, so let’s break down what we know about Season 3:
1. It’s happening.
Fannibals everywhere, give yourselves a round of applause. Our favorite show has managed to survive another year.
Despite Hannibal never managing to cultivate the stellar ratings it deserves (its most recent episode had a 0.9 rating with 2.32 million viewers), NBC seems committed to seeing it through. Perhaps its because they’ve heard Fuller’s long-term plan and are pleased with the showrunner’s confidence. Perhaps because it’s because of the universally glowing critical acclaim. Whatever the reason, NBC has gone against all traditional network logic and Hannibal has now survived two seasons of “bubble” status.
2. Hannibal will be a wanted fugitive.
Speaking of Fuller’s long-term plan, the showrunner has stated very clearly what Hannibal Season 3 will be about: Hannibal on the run. Fuller doesn’t intend to begin adapting Red Dragon, the first novel in Thomas Harris’ trilogy, until Season 4, which leaves one more season of invented prequel to go. Season 1 saw the development of Will and Hannibal’s bromance. Season 2 was the messy break-up. And in Season 3, Hannibal will be a spurned lover, on the run from both Will and the FBI. So that fight between Hannibal and Jack Crawford? Clearly that doesn’t end with our titular cannibal in handcuffs.
It remains to be seen how the show will function with Hannibal as a fugitive — it’s almost impossible to imagine the character outside the comfort of his plush office and well-equipped kitchen. Then again, it seemed equally possible to imagine a version of the show with Will Graham behind bars, and yet Season 2 of Hannibal managed to be just as compelling, if not even more so, than the first. Whatever form Season 3 takes, enjoy it while it lasts, because it will be the last time we see Hannibal outside of a prison cell for a very long time.
3. Will gets a girlfriend.
Season 4 means Red Dragon and Red Dragon means that Will Graham becomes a family man. When readers were first introduced to the character of Will in Harris’ Red Dragon, he was married to a woman named Molly and lived with her and her son Willy in the Florida Keys. So if Will is supposed to be married by Season 4, there’s a good chance that we’ll be meeting his future wife next season.
What will Molly be like in this iteration of the Hannibal story? The character was played in the film by Mary-Louise Parker, and was a naively innocent bright spot in the otherwise ugly world of the film. It’s hard to imagine Hugh Dancy’s Will settling down with Parker’s Molly — how could she ever understand his dark and twisty-ness? And yet, maybe naive and innocent is exactly what Will needs to survive. Opposites attract, right?
4. We’ll meet Hannibal’s aunt-slash-lover.
Yes, you read that correctly. We’ve seen a man carve his own face off and feed it to dogs, are you really surprised that Hannibal is in love with his own aunt?
Fuller has made no secret about his desire to introduce Lady Murasaki in Season 3. She would be the first character from Harris’ own prequel, Hannibal Rising, to make an appearance. In the book (and film of the same name), Hannibal is traumatized after Nazis eat his sister Mischa in front of him and subsequently goes to live in Paris with his uncle’s Japanese wife. There she trains him in both martial arts and flower arrangement before he goes to medical school to become a doctor. On the show, we’ve heard Hannibal make reference to a sister, though he’s never told anyone much about her. It seems like we’ll be finding out more about his traumatic childhood next season.
Lady Murasaki (who was played in the film by Gong Li, pictured above) was more than just an adoptive parent to Hannibal. She became the object of his affection, and while they never consummated their feelings, there was definitely a romance of sorts there. (Then again, Will Graham and Margot Verger never had sex in the books either, and look what happened there.) Murasaki is distressed by Hannibal’s transformation into a serial killer. In their last interaction in the novel, he tells her he loves her, but she tells him there’s nothing left in him to love.
Having her pop into Hannibal’s life again should make for some juicy drama. Will he meet up with her in Paris while on the run from the FBI? Or will she come seek him out in the U.S. when she hears what he’s been up to? We’re not exactly sure how she’ll be introduced, but we can’t wait to see how Bryan Fuller interprets this potentially fascinating character.
5. David Bowie might guest star.
As if we couldn’t love this show even more, Fuller has us all in a tizzy over the possibility that David Bowie might appear Hannibal. And who would the rocker-turned-actor play? Fuller is reportedly courting him to appear as Uncle Robertus, Lady Murasaki’s husband.
On one hand, it would be mind-blowingly awesome to see Bowie play Hannibal’s uncle. On the other hand, this would represent somewhat of a departure from the books, since Uncle Robertus dies before Hannibal moves in with Lady Murasaki. Hannibal has rarely employed flashbacks, otherwise we would think that Bowie might be appearing as a wisdom-giving ghost of Hannibal’s past. Is it possible that in this universe, Robertus is still alive?
Of course, this casting is far from certain. When Bowie’s name was first lobbied about in connection with Hannibal, Uncle Robertus was planned to be introduced in Season 2. Obviously that didn’t happen. We know that the plans to feature the character weren’t scrapped entirely, since Fuller has spoken of his intention to introduce viewers to Robertus. Hopefully these plans being delayed a year haven’t knocked Bowie out of the running for the role, because in our minds he’d be perfect.
6. We haven’t seen the last of the Vergers.
In the novels, we first meet Mason and Margot Verger in Hannibal. We learn about Mason’s past with Dr. Lecter (AKA the face-off incident), but they’d had no interaction between then and the third novel in the series. Now that the groundwork for Mason’s thirst for revenge against Hannibal has been laid, you might expect him to lay low until the show catches up to the events of that book in Season 6. Not so: Fuller has confirmed that both Vergers will remain a large part of Season 3 of Hannibal. But will Fuller continue drawing their story out through four more seasons? Or will he condense that part of the mythology and wrap it up next year? Is it possible that we’ll be seeing a certain moray eel sooner than we thought?
What do you want from season 3? I can't believe the finale is tonight.