UPDATE: 5:49 PM: There were a few surprises at the Hannibal panel today after all. Both leads Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy appeared to Ballroom 20 via short individual video greetings with the former in Denmark and the latter from Australia.
Also, it turns out Season 3 will pick up a year after the brutal events of the Season 2 finale. Episode 4 of Season 3 will fill in what happened between the two cycles, Bryan Fuller disclosed. He also revealed after a half-joking question by moderator Jonathan Ross that Eddie Izzard in fact will return to the series. “We’re writing for Eddie Izzard to return in a flashback scene,” said Fuller to applause from the packed ballroom about the reappearance of the losing limbs Dr. Abel Gideon. Izzard appeared in 5 episodes in Season 2. BTW – Raul Esparza did show up, and he’s coming back to the show.
PREVIOUS, 4:05 PM: Bryan Fuller doesn’t spare Hannibal viewers the raw deal on the show and he has no intention of doing otherwise today at Comic-Con. “We’re pretty generous with the spoilers,” the showrunner refreshingly told me just before this afternoon’s panel. “We will be talking fairly openly about events in Season 3 and hopefully getting people excited.” If last year’s SDCC appearance by the NBC series is any indication, the fans in Ballroom 20 will be very exited indeed. Despite a sometime roller coaster ratings ride, the DVR-friendly bloody psychological thriller based on Thomas Harris’ characters was renewed back in May for a third cycle just before the second season finale that saw an end with everyone butchered, literally or figuratively and Dr. Lecter himself escaping overseas. That and previous deaths in the season leave a lot to be mopped up – some of which will be happening today.
“We’ll have a surprise guest on the panel that will reveal the fate of an actor whose life was in the balance earlier in Season 2,” the TV series creator and EP teases. “Someone from episode seven who got shot in the face and was presumed dead,” he says revealing the reappearance of the Raul Esparza- portrayed Dr. Frederick Chilton without saying as much. While Esparza is expected to show, leads Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, who was at SDCC last year, won’t be in attendance on today’s panel. However, beside Esparza, fellow EPs Martha DeLaurentiis and Steven Lightfoot, director David Slade and cast members Caroline Dhavernas, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams, will join Fuller.
As well as the return of old characters, there will be the introduction of various characters from Harris’ books that have not appeared on the show before. “There’s a run of episodes where we have quite a few cool characters coming from the literature,” the former Heroes producer and Pushing Daisies creator says. “So, in the second episode, we introduce Commander Pazzi, who was played by Giancarlo Giannini in the Ridley Scott film, in episode 3, we introduce Lady Murasaki and in episode 4, we introduce Cordell,” Fuller notes. “There’s going to be a lot of fun Easter eggs for those who are big fans of the books, knowing that those characters are going to be leaping from the page onto their television screen,” he adds with the hope that the show’s fans enjoy the process as much as the result.
In terms of results, that means Season 3 of Hannibal is almost going to adopt the AMC model of splitting a season – a slight change of plans from how he first conceived the show. “We are on track with the original plan with the one exception of condensing what was to have been Season 3 and Season 4 all into one season now,” he says. “So, the first half of the season will have its finale that reaches a climax and wraps up that story in a great way, and then we start a new story, and then that will have its own climax at the end of the season, the EP explains. “Two separate stories that’ll have two finales and so you get two seasons for the price of one.”
As open as Fuller is about his plans for Season 3, he has no hesitation revealing his feelings about being snubbed in this year’s Emmy nominations. “It’s always disappointing because you work very hard with amazing crafts people who are doing exemplary work, and also the cast,” the multiple Emmy nominee states. I’m biased, I think our cast and our people are brilliant, and I was disappointed that they weren’t recognized,” he adds of the Gaumont, Sony Pictures TV, Living Dead Guy Prods and Dino De Laurentiis Co produced show.
“But then you look around, and you see all the other fantastic shows that also were not recognized, and it’s hard to be pissy and upset about it because it’s not like we were the only ones that got ignored, Fuller says noting the absence of Emmy noms for ratings powerhouse The Walking Dead. “There’s such amazing television shows now. We really are in such a fantastic golden era, and the competition is very, very high. So, on one level, you’re like, “Oh, darn, next year,” and then on the other level, you’re in good company.
The Comic-Con crowd will undoubtedly agree.