Wherever along the pop-culture spectrum your views on Bryan Fuller's (Star Trek: Discovery, American Gods) series take on Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon" universe lies, no one can question that it was unlike anything else on television during its three-season run. That's never been more evident than in the millions of Hannibal fans around the world who not only keep the series alive even five years after its run ended but also keep a hopeful flame burning for a fourth season- an idea that Fuller and the cast have also thrown their support behind.
So where does that leave things for Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and elegant monster Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen)? The last time we checked in with Fuller, he was giving us the backstory on how the series made its way onto the air (for example, the network originally wanted John Cusack or Hugh Grant for the role). This time, Fuller sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the triumphs and tragedies that went into bringing the series to life- but for us, there were two topics that stuck out to us like a red flag waving two red flags.
When it comes to any new news or movement on a fourth season, Fuller says things are status quo- with the cast interested in returning and Fuller making sure those interested in the series know that "our goals for the show moving forward and this is what we would like to do." As for what Fuller's vision is for the fourth season, it comes down to the new dynamic between Will and Hannibal and how reality will be viewed from varying perspectives- and how that could translate into the return of some familiar faces.
"It was not so much about a rebranding as [being] able to go back to earlier dynamics through a brand new prism, which was Hannibal and Will getting to know each other from a different state of mind," Fuller explained. "I'd want to play point-of-view in a dramatic way. I think I've said that season four is 'Inception' meets 'Angel Heart'. And that means that there's going to be considerable mind-palacing and obfuscating of reality, or at least the perception of reality. And the thing that I'm most excited about is, because there's going to be such a mental landscape to explore, that means actors who play characters who have previously died can manifest in the mess of Will Graham's brain."
Fuller's clarity on where he would take the series should it continue stems from his looking to the story's future even while living and working in the moment of the current season. "Well, I see it very clearly. One thing I do as a storyteller is that usually anywhere from a third of the way to halfway through a season, the next season snaps into focus in my brain, in a really vivid way," he said. "That happened halfway through Season Three, where I was like, 'Oh, OK, that's exactly what Season Four is. And that's where it needs to go. And these are going to be the dynamics, and these are the new toys we get to play with. And these will be the new characters from the books that nobody has seen before, that we will introduce and use in an exciting way.' And I was able to share those thoughts with Hugh and Mads and other members of the cast. So it does take on its own reality in my mind. It's like it exists in my mind palace. It does feel real in that sense. "
Now while we still have an arched brow over the thought of Cusack or Grant as Lecter (nothing personal), the idea of David Tennant (Doctor Who) as the not-so-good doctor is a fascinating one. While Fuller never hesitates to let anyone who will listen know that Mikkelsen was the only one who could be his Lecter, he looks forward to working with Tennant in the future and would find his take on Lecter "interesting" (now show us that audition clip, Fuller). "I love David Tennant. I've been dying to work with him forever, and we get close. And then, you know, either his schedule or some network interference prevents us from being able to make that match," Fuller explained.
"But I'm confident that we will in the future. There was a levity to David's performance in some ways that was an interesting contrast to Mads' sobriety in the role. And I find David to be so much fun and so appealing to watch. It's hard not to love David Tennant onscreen. And that may have had something to do with it. Honestly, it was a decision that was made above my pay grade. But that would have been an interesting extrapolation to see David Tennant as Hannibal. And I do still have the audition on my laptop, and I watch it from time to time and wonder what would it have been like, just because I love David and his acting style. But there's no doubt in my mind that Mads Mikkelsen is the right person for this job."