I always wondered why, if the series wasn’t getting great ratings, NBC decided to give us a third season of “Hannibal”? Frankly, as long as I get to see Will Graham and Hannibal go at it for one more round, it doesn’t really matter to me. Still, it felt like such a gift that it would be nice to know…
Our friends at Collider had the opportunity to sit down with Hugh Dancy, who plays Will Graham in the television adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novels. The reporting is fantastic as they really dig deep into the plans for Season 2, the finale, and the setup for the potential third season.
Dancy reveals that Season 2 came together so rapidly that they hadn’t really planned the second half of the season until they broke for the holidays – this is why the second half is exponentially better.
I think it fully came into shape for Bryan about half-way through the season. He had so little time to prepare the full season that he pretty much approached the first seven episodes as a separate entity. When we broke over the Christmas holiday, I spoke to Bryan and that was when he told me, “Look, I think we’re gonna have Hannibal cut you open.” At that point, I wasn’t clear about the full extent of the carnage for the other characters, but I knew that he was going to cut me open, as he does in Red Dragon, the novel. And I thought, “Okay, great.”
At that point, I realized that the emotional arc of the show, for the second half, was geared towards that cutting. It was not just a horrible, nasty, “Oh, no, my guts are falling out,” but it was a type of consummation that was like and embrace and a connection between the two of them. So, that was what I clung onto. It had to be horrific, also because it was the peak of their romance, in a way. Bryan really laid it all out there. I don’t know if part of him was thinking about coming back for a third season. But to be fair, I’ve had that feeling all the way through, that he’s constantly just throwing it all out there. The number of characters that either meet a very gruesome end, or at least get shot in the head in the second season, there’s never a sense that Bryan is trying to hold something back. He’s very generous in his storytelling.
He also explains that he has no doubt that Will survives the gruesome attack, referencing Harris’ source material being worked from. What I love is that he sees the three seasons as three acts, with the forthcoming season setting up a big finale.
No, I was confident that Will would survive. Of all the characters that are bleeding out in that house, Will is the only one who we know from Thomas Harris’ novel that that actually happened to in the source material, and he comes back from it. And I just know that the story between the two of them isn’t finished. At the very least, there’s a third act there. We know that Hannibal has to be behind bars, at some point, and we know that Will has to get him there. It wouldn’t make sense, any other way. So, I feel like I have a few more months in me.
There’s a bunch of juicy details over in the full interview. Personally, I hope they end it with this forthcoming third season. I’d love to see this three act series that has a clear and defined beginning, middle and end. The thought of that is just, so, mmmmmm…