Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller seems to be settling comfortably into his new life, transitioning seamlessly from showrunner of a critically beloved cult show into hint-dropping tormentor of that canceled program’s rabid fans. He’s already made some noise about a possible resurrection of Hannibal on one of the big streaming services, as well as his willingness to continue the story as a movie if the stars were to properly align. Now, he’s also started to drop hints about what could have been, had the metaphorical teacup reformed and the show been allowed to continue.
Specifically, Fuller told Vulture that he’d been thinking of ways to introduce elements from Thomas Harris’ breakout novel The Silence Of The Lambs—the book that introduced FBI trainee Clarice Starling to the world and served as the basis for Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-winning film—into the show. “I want Buffalo Bill. I want to tell the Buffalo Bill story in a way that hasn’t been told before,” Fuller said, alluding to the skin-stealing serial killer played by Ted Levine in the film.
But adaptation of Lambs has always been hindered by copyright issues, as MGM still holds the film rights to all the characters that originated in the book, including Starling and unlikely survivor Barney the orderly (played by Frankie Faison across all three of Anthony Hopkins’ Lecter films.) Fuller joked about including a character named “Schmarice Schmarling” in the show as a workaround—ignoring the fact that that’s pretty much exactly what he already did when he created Anna Chlumsky’s character, ambitious FBI trainee Miriam Lass—before alluding to an interesting behind-the-scenes possibility: “I’ve asked Schmodie Schmoster if she wanted to direct an episode, because she’s a brilliant director,” Fuller said, using his powers as a criminal mastermind to cunningly refer to original Starling actress Jodie Foster via code.“But that’s the only conversation I’ve had with Schmodie Schmoster.”
So, there you go, Hannibal fans: Not only is your favorite show at-least-temporarily dead, but you also missed the chance to see Jodie Foster direct an arc starring one of her most famous characters in the hypothetical fourth season. Somewhere, Bryan Fuller feels your pain, and, like a distant God, is amused.