Of all the TV shows that got cancelled too soon in the past decade or so, few were as masterfully crafted as NBC's Hannibal. The horror series was extremely dark for a broadcast network, serving up delectable set design and gore, with pitch-perfect performances from everyone in the cast. Unfortunately, every prior attempt to bring Season 4 to life left creator Bryan Fuller and other producers empty-handed. But could that success rate change now that Hannibal has seen streaming success on Netflix?
Bryan Fuller doesn't exactly sound like he's bursting with optimism about Hannibal's chances of returning for Season 4, but it also doesn't sound like he's anxious to give up hope on making it happen now that it's clear how popular it got after hitting Netflix. Here's how he put it to Collider:
What I love about Netflix platforming the show now is there’s an opportunity for it to be seen as a Netflix show and maybe that will reconfigure their appetite, so to speak. But nobody has said anything to me, and believe me, like the nickel hooker on the red light district I am hanging out the window, waving my legs. They know I’m ready.
Somebody renew Hannibal for Season 4 so Bryan Fuller can stop waving his legs out the window! Granted, he's not actually doing that, but his point is well-taken. If Netflix (or anyone else for that matter) wants to step up and give the cannibal-headed series a shot at making new episodes, Fuller is willing and able with no questions asked. And we know Mads Mikkelsen is, too, considering he was also getting fans pumped about more potential seasons.
Considering Netflix's reputation for both taking advantage of successful series and for reviving shows that were cancelled elsewhere, it's almost bothersome that no one has reached out to Bryan Fuller to at least gently touch base about what could happen in the future. Granted, I'm sure Hannibal is an expensive show, and that it would take much effort to bring the entire cast back. And that's not even considering how Bryan Fuller and the creative team would need to dance around Clarice Starling and Silence of the Lambs storyline, since that book and its characters have a completely different copyright situation than Thomas Harris' other Hannibal Lecter works.
At the very least, Bryan Fuller has spoken with various cast members about what the plan would be if Hannibal ever does come back for Season 4 or something more feature-length. In his words:
I wish there was something that was definitive. I’ve had conversations with Hugh and Mads and the cast, in terms of like, ‘This is what we would do if we were allowed to come back.’ There’s some ideas that I’m very excited about that continue the strange trajectory of Season 3. But I have not been approached. I’ve knocked on every door and rang every bell. Martha [De Laurentiis] and I, every couple of years, pick up our bags and go door to door and see if anybody’s interested in revisiting. The biggest hurdle is that we were somebody else’s show.
For those unaware, Martha De Laurentiis currently controls the rights to Hannibal Lecter, the character, while the TV show Hannibal's rights are owned by the company Gaumont International Television. So in a perfect world, Netflix would be reaching out to Gaumont to get them on board with producing one or more new seasons, and then Bryan Fuller and De Laurentiis would get the call that all systems are go for bringing back Mads Mikkelsen's Hannibal, Hugh Dancy's Will Graham, and more to tell a disturbing new chapter in the characters' lives. With Netflix's budgets and the lack of broadcast ratings to worry about, Hannibal could indeed thrive in the world of streaming. But someone just has to bite down on the idea first.
Keep your fingers crossed, Fannibals, for the potential future announcement that Netflix has renewed Hannibal for Season 4. Until then, you can catch Seasons 1-3 streaming now on Netflix. Those in need of future series to obsess over can check out our Netflix 2020 schedule and our Fall 2020 TV premiere guide.