Hannibal: To Movie or Not to Movie?


Hannibal concluded both its third season, and its run on network television (We say ‘network television’ despite the fact NBC shoved the final two episodes to Cozi TV because of pre-season football). The series concluded, spoilers, with Will and Hannibal plunging off a cliff, presumably to their deaths. It seemed like a definitive ending, one that put the period (instead of a question mark) at the of the sentence, ‘Hannibal is done.’ However, creator Bryan Fuller is not letting Hannibal go just yet. In recent interviews, Fuller mentioned the potential of Hannibal living on, one more time, in feature film form or in a mini-series. Pop-Break’s trio of ‘fannibals’ Bill Bodkin, Aaron Sarnecky and Matt Taylor decided to tackle the question…

Hannibal: To Movie or Not To Movie

Hannibal Finale photo
Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Fannibal #1: Bill Bodkin

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d like for Hannibal to ride one last time. If Bryan Fuller can get the rights to the Silence of the Lambs material, and they can somehow justify that Hannibal is still alive, I say go for it.

But there’s a caveat.

This can’t hit the big screen. I don’t think the cult status of the series would warrant good box office. Look at Joss Whedon and Serenity. A great film that’s evolved into a cult hit sure, but it tanked at the box office. Hannibal does not deserve this indignation. However, I think a limited run series, a network event, or a mini-series (whatever they call them these days).

With networks desperately reviving old series, even shows like Twin Peaks, it makes sense that NBC, or another network would revive Hannibal for a Silence of the Lambs take. I think this would make an absolutely great network event.

If given the time, I think the cult of Hannibal can really grow. Look at The Wire, Firefly, and Twin Peaks. No one paid them mind during their run, and now they’re praised as all-time classics. The same could definitely happen for Hannibal, and it should. The show was amazing, and it deserves better than late-night time slots, and that undeserving channel shuffling ending.

So given the right time, script, and network, I am all for this revival.

Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo by: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Fannibal #2: Aaron Sarnecky

Should there by a Hannibal movie?

No. A movie is the last thing I want. That’s the short answer. It might sound a little odd, considering how much I’ve expressed my love for the show. But let me explain. I say that I don’t want a movie for several reasons, the first being that I don’t know if the show would translate well. The pacing of the TV show was very methodical, giving viewers a lot of time with the characters. I’m not sure the creators could’ve done something like Will’s descent into darkness in a film. I know that wouldn’t be the story of the movie, because it’s already happened. I just use it as an example.

I would much rather see a revival in the form a miniseries, ranging in length from six or seven episodes to a full 13. However, I would want Will’s appearance to be very brief. Series creator Bryan Fuller stated in an interview that we should assume that someone else cut off Bedelia’s leg and was serving it to her. I suppose this could’ve been a new character, but the most probable culprit is Hannibal, meaning he might have survived that plunge in the series finale. But if you paid attention, you’ll know that the table was set for three. If the mini-series were to start here, I’d prefer it be revealed that Will perished and Bedelia just set the table for three; or if he did live, that he would die from his injuries in Bedelia’s dining room. I wouldn’t be opposed to him living, but only if that means he would return to his family.

Photo Credit: Ian Watson/NBC
Photo Credit: Ian Watson/NBC

In my opinion, Will’s journey through madness ended pretty much perfectly, so I’d rather see the miniseries focus on Clarice Starling and The Silence of the Lambs storyline. Of course, this is only if the producers can finally manage to get the rights. If they can’t, I don’t really want them to continue the series. There are a lot of potentially interesting interactions that Clarice could have with the returning cast, all of which I would bring back; Thomas Harris’ novels are male-dominated, so it would be cool to see her speak to characters like Freddie Lounds. Will would also return, but only as a minor fixture in Hannibal’s “memory palace.” And though I would obviously include Jack Crawford and Dr. Chilton, Alana Bloom would be Hannibal’s nemesis. If you’ve seen the movie, you should already know how it has to end.

So that is what I want to see. Apparently Fuller and producer Martha De Laurentiis have contemplated funding a movie through Kickstarter. And even though I really want a Silence of the Lambs miniseries, and even though Fuller has said that Starz could possibly fund a miniseries after his American Gods show starts, I might shell out some money for a film if they ask.

Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC
Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer/NBC

Fannibal #3: Matt Taylor

I love the idea of Bryan Fuller reinterpreting Silence of the Lambs, which is reportedly what would happen if he’s given the chance to continue his series through a theatrical feature. While the 1991 film featuring Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal may be a beloved cinematic classic, the years have not been kind to it. The film feels like a relatively clichéd thriller, complete with one-note supporting characters and a dramatic face-off between the hero and villain. Bryan Fuller would bring so much energy and creativity to the story and would, hopefully, churn out a movie that’s far more memorable than a crime procedural. Additionally, Silence of the Lambs shows its age thanks to its problematic content, namely in the fairly transphobic way it characterizes Buffalo Bill. Fuller has, more or less, fixed the offensive content found in Thomas Harris’ novels, namely in the way he reinterpreted Margot Verger. I certainly believe that, if given the chance, Fuller would make his version of Silence of the Lambs far more progressive than the version we already have.

That being said, I do not think there should be a Hannibal movie. For one thing, the series finale was, mostly, perfect, and wrapped up the series in a way that left me wholly satisfied. While not all of our questions were answered, the image of Hannibal and Will falling off the cliff together was, in my mind, the best ending possible. But, more importantly, I don’t think Bryan Fuller could create a satisfying story in a cinematic format. Hannibal was a slow series, that took its time when telling its story. Sometimes, it took weeks for a particular storyline to reach its climax, but the long wait only made the conclusion more satisfying. I just cannot imagine Bryan Fuller telling a satisfying story in 120 minutes or less, and, to be honest, I don’t think I want to. If Hannibal were to continue, then I think it’d be best done as a miniseries or, ideally, another season of thirteen episodes. But a feature film would, in my opinion, be a disservice to how Fuller tells his stories, as well as a disappointing end to a mostly perfect series.



  1. A mini series would be okay, but I’d still prefer a full regular season 4 & beyond. Just like a movie the mini series would feel like something has be left out that would’ve been addressed in regular series time frame! Like I said on Twitter Season 4 or bust!

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