Comic-Con: ‘Hannibal’ EP Bryan Fuller Reveals Secrets from Season 2

by | July 19, 2013 at 9:41 AM | Hannibal, Interview, TV News

"Hannibal" Star Hugh Dancy, a Fan, and Showrunner Bryan Fuller (right) at the "Hannibal" Panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2013 (Photo: Mark Davis/NBC)

Everyone’s favorite serial killer won’t be returning until 2014 when the second season of “Hannibal” will premiere on NBC. But xfinityTV caught up with executive producer/showrunner Bryan Fuller at Comic-Con when he sat down with a small group of reporters and revealed some of the inside scoop on what we have to look forward to.

In this interview, Fuller talks about sexing up the show, the role reversal with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) behind bars instead of Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen), how Will will go to trial for the murder of Abigail Hobbs, and more.

Can we start with guest stars? Have you cast David Bowie? Is Gillian Anderson coming back?

We are absolutely hoping that Gillian Anderson will come back. We’ve been talking to Gillian who is so supportive of the show. She loves playing Hannibal Lecter’s psychiatrist.

She mentioned at “The X-Files” panel how much she likes it.

Did she? I adore her and I am a huge fan, so when she did the show, it was all I could do not to beg for a picture because I wanted to remain professional. She wants to come back and we are working out dates. We have a great storyline for her because we have this lingering story: What happened with her patient? What’s her relationship with Hannibal? How is that going to be complicated with Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne)? So we absolutely want her back.

We have reached out to David Bowie, and we hope that we get him on the show because we have a fantastic episode with this character. I just love David Bowie. It is kind of cool being in this position where I get to work with Gillian Anderson and I get to work with Lance Henriksen (Lawrence Wells) and all these character actors and actors that I’ve idolized. To be able to work with them is a great joy. We haven’t cast anybody officially for Season 2, because we just broke the third episode and we are starting to break the fourth episode. We have the whole season arched out and we are targeting certain people that we would like to come in and play roles. Once we have confirmation, we will be leaking that stuff out.

And if David Bowie doesn’t work out?

If David Bowie said, “Yes, I am interested in the show but I am not available this season,” I would park the character and do it when he was available. If he doesn’t want to do it, then we will come up with Plan B, but I don’t want to say, “I wanted to marry David Bowie, so instead I married….”

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Now Will has let it be known that he suspects something, what steps will Hannibal take to stay ahead?

One of the great things about Will suspecting Hannibal Lecter is he has no proof. Hannibal is a very smart cookie so he made sure there is no traceable element. The fun will be that game of chicken between those two characters. If the first season was the bromance, this is the nasty breakup. We will get to see how Will Graham, who hit rock bottom at the end of last season, is going to be coming up swinging. It will be a different dynamic between those two characters.

Like with dating, when you’ve seen the ugly side, is there going to be more honesty? Will Hannibal show more of himself to Will?

I think Hannibal has to be very savvy with what he shows to Will because even though Will accused him of the murders, he is, “What reason would I have?” I think he is going to be a very savvy guy and I think it would be foolish of him to admit anything. But that is not to say he won’t have genuine interactions with Alana (Caroline Dhavernas), who he genuinely cares for.

Will Will go to trial? And two elements of that: Will we find out how he swallowed the ear whole? Will his encephalitis come into play at the trial?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, there will be a trial. We will be finding out certain things. You might have had a question in Season 1 like: How did that happen? How did Hannibal pull that off? Some of those things we are going to be answering. The encephalitis will absolutely be part of the defense. One of the things that is really interesting with the dynamics of the characters is that everything changes now because Will Graham has been incarcerated and accused of these crimes. Now, he is essentially making those accusations public. He is not going to be private about those things. He would do what he would have to do in the situation for reality. He would be banging a gong and making accusations very loud. It is going to be interesting to see how all the other characters react to those accusations and how that shifts those dynamics.

Catch-up on the Jaw-Dropping First-Season Finale of “Hannibal” Below:

Hannibal is a master manipulator of all that is going on. How much of that manipulation do you think played into his character with Dr. Du Maurier (Anderson) and supposedly saving her?

It was funny, very early on when we first introduced the character, there was a lot of suspicion that she was just a figment of Hannibal’s mind because nobody else interacted with her, but then Jack Crawford went to visit her. She’s a very smart lady, and she is absolutely a good foe for Hannibal. She now has had her curiosity wetted in a very interesting way and she will continue to question and wonder. As that story progresses, which we deal with in the first episode, we’ll see how she is not necessarily going to fall prey to his traps. The fun for me is to see how does she navigate around Hannibal and how much does she know? How much is she figuring out? That is the stuff that I am excited about because I love Gillian, and I love the character, and her performance with the character is so interesting, measured and staid. They are both two very cold people, who have this sexy heat between them. I love their chemistry.

Will she ever come in contact with Will?

I would love to get those characters in a scene together.

Hannibal’s game in Season 1 seemed to be to see if he could turn Will into a killer. Is that going to continue for Season 2, or now that Will has an inkling of who he is, that is going to change?

Oh, no. That is always going to be part of his radically unorthodox therapy of Will Graham is to get him to accept all parts of himself, and also that he understands how killers work because he has that instinct, too. So, I think, Hannibal is going to pursue that interest with Will.

You said that Will has no evidence. What does he have in his arsenal then? Is he wilier than we think? Does he have friends? What are his resources going to be?

Alana Bloom is going to be a resource for him. We saw how that relationship evolved over the course of the season. Particularly in the last episode, I thought that Caroline Dhavernas was so amazing and crafted a character who felt deeply for a man she knew was unobtainable for her because of his instability. But yet that did not stop her from caring for him. We are going to continue to see that evolve.

Romance?

Yes.

Not conjugal visits or anything?

As much as I would love to see that sex scene, I think it is not honest for the character. What I love about her and Caroline’s performance is she is a smart lady. She is seeing a man that she is attracted to who is unstable and she is protecting herself and she is doing the smart thing. I love that about her. I love writing that scene and thinking, “Oh, yay! We have somebody … a strong female character who is protecting herself, but is buckling under the confusion of how she feels about a man.

Is Hannibal going to continue pursuing her?

We suggested a bit of a love triangle in an episode. One of the things I want to do with Season 2 is have a little more sexy between characters. So, stay tuned for who is going to be doing who!

Can Hannibal actually feel? Or could sex for him just be a hooker?

I think as somebody who understands the human condition so implicitly, Hannibal would be a fantastic lover that any of us would be lucky to be subjected to. What is interesting about Hannibal is in the literature, Thomas Harris describes him as uncategorizable as a crazy person. He is not a sociopath because he experiences empathy; he is not a psychopath because he experiences regret. So, what we are crafting is a total work of fiction. Most serial killers are just d*cks. It is like a male penetrative control issue and that is not how Hannibal works. Hannibal works in a way that he is protecting the beauty of the world. He sees himself as an elitist and better than, but he is also capable of caring. His caring for Will Graham is genuine.

Do you think he feels remorse?

I think he feels curiosity more than anything else. He is curious about the human condition. He is curious about how he feels. He’s curious about how other people feel. He’s almost playing a game of seeing how his own emotions are present and trying them on for size, when he cried for Abigail in the finale, those were genuine tears. I think he felt them coming: I am going to feel this because it is part of the beauty of being a human being.

Do you think that Will Graham will still be playing that Jodie Foster role now that he is incarcerated?

What is interesting about switching the roles up and putting Will Graham in the institution before putting Hannibal in the institution is we get to play with some of those elements from the literature, where we go to Hannibal Lecter in the institution to get advice on cases. We are going to be seeing that in the new season, where characters will be approaching Will Graham in the institution and seeking advice on cases. He is kind of taking Hannibal’s place. In a way, we are doing some inversions that will be really fun to explore.

Do you look at dinner differently now?

I am now more aware of what I put in my body. I actually think about animals differently. And one of the things I love about working with [Chef Jose] Andres is he never differentiated and wasn’t precious about it is human or it is animal. Meat is meat is meat. It seemed fair. As an animal lover, I will occasionally eat meat, but generally I eat fish and vegetables. But when I eat meat, I think about the emotions of that animal that are as sophisticated as our emotions. It is hard not to feel a little weird about it. I feel less conflicted, actually, in a strange way about cannibalism. Obviously, if you are eating people, it has to be acquired humanely, like you would a cow, or a pig. As long as you are acquiring food humanely, then I think that is a good thing.

So would you serve red or white wine with human meat?

I think it depends on the piece because there are some pieces of us that are paler and some pieces that are darker, so you would have a red wine with the redder meats — like organs — and some of the filets of our back would have… These are the conversations I have with Jose Andres.

“Hannibal” returns for its second season in 2014.