New “Hannibal” S3 Details, Delay Explanation

We’re only a little over a month out from the June 4th premiere of the third season of NBC’s “Hannibal” and Bryan Fuller has spoken with Digital Spy this week to offer a couple of new MINOR SPOILER tidbits about the upcoming season.

Expect the premiere to play very much along the lines of Ridley Scott’s “Hannibal” film:

“I love Ridley Scott’s Hannibal, I just think it’s such a fun, gruesome movie that kind of harkens back to Hammer films, and it’s Hannibal as James Bond. There’s qualities of that that we wanted to bring to the first chapter of the third season, which is the Italy-based material.”

The premiere episode of the season will put the focus entirely on the years-long relationship that Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) shares with Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), and none of the other familiar characters are in it. The episode will look at the pair’s history over three different time periods. Anderson reportedly has quite a big role in the first half of the season, with one of her latter episodes having her being “laugh-out-loud funny”.

That first half of the season is kind of a template for where a fourth season might go – namely away from the FBI procedural elements:

“It felt like a breath of fresh air not being in Quantico, and not having FBI scenes talking about the murder clues. It was so liberating that if we do get a fourth season, there’s going to be a lot more of that than there will be anything FBI-oriented. It will probably be our most serialised season thus far, and the first half of season three was really an experiment of ‘does this work on our show?’ As an audience member and Fannibal, I loved it.”

The reunion of Will and Hannibal is a big moment. Fuller says:

“There’s a scene that is so touching, when they’re finally reunited and able to have a conversation. Mads and Hugh and their friendship are such amazing assets to the show, and you see all of that.”

The second half of the third season is ditching the cuisine-based episode titles. Instead, the titles will be named after William Blake’s series of Great Red Dragon Paintings which serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (Richard Armitage) is obsessed with. These will include “The Great Red Dragon…,” “…And the Woman Clothed in Sun,” “…And the Woman Clothed with the Sun,” “…And the Beast from the Sea,” and likely “And the Number of the Beast Is…” and “…666”.

When Dolarhyde comes in the second half of the season, he will reportedly be more of a third lead character and is in the show almost as much as Lecter and Graham are. He will also have a much more tragic psychological depth to him than say Mason Verger from last season:

“A lot of what we see with Dolarhyde is just him alone in a room struggling with his insanity. I wanted the audience to be so confused with this character because we get to know him, and we get to see this man who is suffering, from his mind eating him alive from the inside out.”

Fuller says watch out for episodes seven and twelve to have the show’s freakiest stuff. In the latter, a scene with Dolarhyde’s character shocked even those who saw it being filmed:

“It’s one bit in particular that’s from the books, and we see it probably more graphically on our show than you have in any of the movies. When we did that scene, you’re supposed to be silent when you’re watching, but the entire crew gasped and shrieked. So you’re watching the dailies and you’re seeing this horrible thing happen, and you just hear all these gasps coming from behind the camera, and it’s so much fun! It’s so disturbing that it affected the crew.”

Fuller has also spoke about the delay of the third season in terms of airing, a decision he said was made out of necessity due to the show’s production schedule. The show itself wrapped production of the third season in Toronto last week:

“We barely, by the skin of our teeth, were able to produce the first two seasons with a lot of hard work, and a lot of people bending over backwards and contorting, because it’s so hard to do a crafted television show in eight days [per episode]. It was eight-day episodes, and then an additional day or two of second unit, and massive overtime.

But coming into the third season, which is our most ambitious yet, it was essentially trying to squeeze all of that into seven days, with no second unit, and it blew up in everybody’s faces. It was one of those where I was saying, ‘This isn’t gonna work, this isn’t gonna work’, and then on day three of production I was like, ‘This really does not work’, because we were not completing episodes. Scenes were getting dropped, shots were dropped, so in the editing room I was like, ‘I can’t even put this together because there’s not enough material’.

And I’d been squawking about that for four months, saying we’re in trouble, and then finally after four months we realised where we were and had to push back, because the show wasn’t done. I don’t mind a summer schedule at all, and it actually allowed us to fix our mistakes, of trying to simplify how we were producing the show, which was misguided.”