Recent news of a new show from CBS, Clarice, which shifts focus to Clarice Starling, the heroine in The Silence of the Lambs, comes as an insult and shock to fans of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal series, who have been eagerly hopeful that the canceled series will get a fourth season someday.
Hannibal debuted on NBC in 2013 and ran for three seasons; it was ultimately canceled by the network in 2015. Bryan Fuller has had a similar experience with other shows that were beloved by fans, but were canceled too soon. Fuller’s 2007 show, Pushing Daisies, ran for two seasons and was canceled by ABC in 2008. Fuller’s quirky comedy series Wonderfalls was canceled by FOX after just four episodes. While Hannibal did have a longer shelf life than some of Fuller’s work, its fate was still devastating to loyal fans of the series. In many ways, it was the spin-off fans of The Silence of the Lambs and Thomas Harris’ books deserved. Mads Mikkelsen brought an undisputed charm to the role of Hannibal Lecter. Mikkelsen had big shoes to fill, as Anthony Hopkins made the character both a pop culture and horror icon.
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While the material is too popular to never be remade or adapted again, as little is sacred, the announcement of another television series that focuses on the character of Clarice Starling could pose as problematic for a Hannibal revival, though it likely won’t be the better show.
Hannibal Will Always Be The Best Silence Of The Lambs Spin-Off Series
CBS intends to bring forth a crime drama focused around Starling’s character that reportedly won’t include the character of Lecter at all. Due to this, Hannibal will very likely be the better series because Hannibal Lecter is the better character. In the films, Starling was an adequate foil and challenge for Lecter, but despite Foster’s skill in the role, Hopkins had a way of stealing scenes and drawing focus. From reports on the series, Clarice will take place a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs and explore more of Starling’s backstory, as well as propel her forward to work new cases that are separate from Dr. Lecter.
Fuller stated that, in future seasons of Hannibal, he had plans to include Clarice Starling, but he’s been hard-pressed to get the rights to the character from MGM; this is likely because they had their own, individual plans for the character that did not rely on Lecter. Prior to Clarice being announced by CBS, MGM worked with the Lifetime network on a series about the character as well that would have explored Starling’s character after her graduation from the FBI Academy. Despite the news making waves, Fuller has never considered the new project to be a threat to Hannibal‘s longevity or its chances at being picked up for a fourth season elsewhere; since he was never able to obtain the character rights, Fuller was content to continue telling Lecter’s story without her, even though many fans consider them to be vital to the complete picture.
Even so, Hannibal was a unique series that explored one of the most fascinating villains of modern media in a visceral, enthralling way. The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal both introduced characters with plenty of stories to tell, but in the end, Fuller’s series stood the best chance at adapting Harris’ source material to the fullest because it knew where the heart of the story remained: with Hannibal Lecter.
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