NBC‘s Hannibal ended its rookie season on a cliffhanger with FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) on the wrong side of the bars, accused of murder. Exec producer Bryan Fuller revealed Thursday at Comic-Con that the crime series’ second season will return in a two-parter followed by a trial in Episode 3. “We have the season arc crafted, and it’s a doozy,” Fuller teased to a packed ballroom. “We just finished breaking Episode 3, and we are breaking Episode 4 now.” The Season 2 openers will act as a pseudo pilot, Fuller said, reintroducing characters who now find themselves in much different places. “Will knows something no one else knows, and it’s a great place to put a character,” Fuller said. “One of the things I was most excited about in Season 2 was seeing Will Graham hit rock bottom.”
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Fans were out in full force to support the series, which wrapped its freshman season down in the ratings. In its first Comic-Con showing since debuting in April (Hannibal had a pre-premiere appearance last year), the show had fans in full Hannibal cosplay turn up at the panel. Star Dancy joined Fuller, exec producer and series director David Slade, and producer Martha De Laurentiis onstage for a panel chat following a gory “amuse bouche” highlights reel. The recap was a reminder of how Hannibal routinely depicts some of the most extreme graphic kills on broadcast TV. Fuller says network suits rarely object. Except on the Season 1 episode “Coquilles,” in which a killer mutilates his victims into angels to watch over him in his sleep. “We had two people who were nude and we saw their buttocks,” Fuller said. “They were dead, they were flayed open, and cracked in many ways. Their butt crack was the least offensive of the ones they were sporting, [but] the network said no. … I asked why, because of the exposed spine and muscle tissue and flayed skin? I said, ‘What if we fill the butt cracks with blood so you can’t see them?’ They said OK.”
Fuller & Co. spoke often and fondly of Red Dragon, the 1981 novel by Thomas Harris that Hannibal is adapted from, joining numerous films (The Silence of the Lambs, Manhunter, Red Dragon) that feature the famous Dr. Hannibal Lecter character. “I was going back to that book until the day we finished shooting,” said Dancy. “I read it a couple of times and tried to let it be in the background.” Slade, whom De Laurentiis announced will direct more episodes, wants to film the book’s real ending into the show’s future. Absent co-star Mads Mikkelsen also got love from the panel. “He screen tested because he was not so well known,” said De Laurentiis of the Danish actor, who at the time was most familiar to stateside audiences for Casino Royale. “But I think he really owns the role now.” Fuller described the take on Lecter that won Mikkelsen his vote. “It was about finding an actor who had a specific take on the character,” said Fuller. “He said he didn’t want to play Anthony Hopkins or Brian Cox. He wanted to play Satan.”
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