Why Hannibal Season 4 Might Actually Happen Now

hannibal in mask tv show

Set the dinner table with the finest plates and silverware, and build up an appetite, as one of television's most delectable dramas is in the early days of making its small screen comeback. Hannibal, Bryan Fuller's highly acclaimed take on Thomas Harris' highbrow cannibal, is legitimately at the center of conversations that could lead to the existence of Season 4, and before so many years have passed that we forgot how Season 3 ended. (Strictly hyperbole, as that would never happen.) Fuller made the news public himself on social media.

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I know it's mixing pop culture references to say that Bryan Fuller's subdued Hannibal announcement is worth toasting with a big glass of chianti, but maybe there's just an abundance of chianti somewhere. In any case, it hasn't been a secret that Fuller and other members of the creative team -- as well as the central cast -- are interested in more, but the issues with taking Hannibal into Season 4 haven't ever been about a lack of interest from those involved (besides the people that ended it in the first place, obviously). It's been about some legal issues, as it usually goes. So if conversations are happening, things must be falling into place.

Here in August 2017, it appears rights to Hannibal have reverted back to Martha de Laurentiis, as hinted at above in the "two years after the finale" comment. (Or if they haven't, that switch is imminent enough to inspire confidence.) It's been a tad unclear, however, which rights are coming back, as it's assumed that Amazon's exclusive streaming rights to Hannibal's first three seasons will be expiring at some point this year -- those rights were essentially the reason Netflix didn't go further with conversations about a new season -- and it's also likely that the production company Gaumont will also be losing its rights to Hannibal in the near future. If both of those situations are simultaneously happening, that would be the best thing for everyone.

Why? Because then Netflix could get involved and give the show the budget that Gaumont couldn't. As well, Gaumont's involvement meant that MGM wasn't a part of it, and while The De Laurentiis Company already has the rights to characters that originated in the novel Red Dragon, MGM still owns the rights to all things introduced in Silence of the Lambs. Which is why Hannibal wasn't ever technically able to bring in Clarice Starling, as many fans were hoping for.

Some years back, MGM was all about bringing a Silence of the Lambs project to TV in some form, so hopefully that interest is still sizable enough to fill a giant hole in the ground in the middle of a crazy killer's house. Even if whatever new project is only a miniseries, we're down, because we need to know what happened!

Of course, there's no guarantee that any conversations from this will result in a fourth season of Hannibal, and one has to wonder how it would come together anyway, since Bryan Fuller is already busy with American Gods. And as last year showed us when Fuller stepped down as showrunner for Star Trek: Discovery, having too much on his plate doesn't allow Fuller to put as much attention on what needs it the most. Is it possible for him to choose between American Gods and Hannibal? Let's hope it doesn't come down to that.

Stay tuned, Fannibals, as we might get some more from this fantastic show yet, and while we didn't get into the difficulties of getting stars like Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy back, we're keeping the faith. (We're also hoping that people actually watch this year, instead of pirating.) Everyone can be faithful that there's a lot of good TV on the way later this year, too, as can be found in our summer TV schedule and our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.