Frequently Asked Questions
This TV series is based on Red Dragon according to the opening credits. It uses characters, dialogue, and similar events from the novel. Bryan Fuller has said that season 4 will cover the actual events of the novel. Bella Crawford, a character introduced in The Silence of the Lambs, has also been incorporated in the show. There are also allusions to The Silence of the Lambs. There have been no references to the novels Hannibal or Hannibal Rising thus far. However, it has been confirmed that Mason Verger, the primary antagonist of Hannibal, will appear in the second season as a recurring character and in Fuller's seven season plan the plot of Hannibal would make up the sixth season.
In some episodes, dialogue from the novel Red Dragon has been reused in different yet similar contexts:
In "Apéritif," Dr. Alana Bloom tells Jack Crawford to not let Will Graham get close to the killer he is trying to catch, Garrett Jacob Hobbs. This is said by Will's wife Molly in the beginning of the novel when Crawford wants Will to help him capture Francis Dolarhyde. Later in the episode, Crawford meets Hannibal Lecter in his office and says that he read an article of his which he found interesting, even to a layman such as himself, something that is uttered by Will Graham when he visits Lecter's cell at Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane in the novel. At one point Lecter says in regard to Will, "perception's a tool that's pointed at both ends," something Dr. Alan Bloom says in the original novel. At the climax, Hobbs points at his daughter Abigail after cutting her throat and getting shot, saying "See? See?" over and over. This is almost identical to the scene described in the novel, except that Hobbs' daughter is not named and in fact doesn't appear again (unlike in the show, Garret Jacob Hobbs and his daughter are very minor characters).
At the end of "Amuse-Bouche," Lecter tells Graham in a therapy session that Graham felt bad about killing Garrett Jacob Hobbs not because of the act itself, but because of how good it felt, comparing it to an act of God. In the novel, Lecter suggests this in a letter to Graham.
In "Potage," Abigail Hobbs asks Graham if killing her father made him feel bad, and Will replies that it is "the worst thing in the world." This exchange takes place between Graham and his stepson Willy in the novel.
At the end of "Coquilles," Lecter smells Graham's "atrocious" aftershave and makes a comment about it having a "ship on the bottle." Graham says, "I keep getting it for Christmas." This exchange takes place in the novel when Graham visits Lecter's cell.
In "Entrée," Graham's introduction to Dr. Frederick Chilton is similar to how it takes place in the novel, complete with the line "Or is it Dr. Graham?" In addition, a flashback shows FBI trainee Miriam Lass meeting Jack Crawford and having a conversation similar to the one which takes place between Crawford and Clarice Starling at the beginning of The Silence of the Lambs. When she meets Lecter in another flashback, she mentions that she lacks credentials, an allusion to Lecter asking to see Starling's credentials in The Silence of the Lambs. Lecter's method of attacking Miriam has similarities to how he attacked Will Graham in the novel.
"Apéritif" depicts Will taking in stray dogs. It is mentioned in Red Dragon that he is a sucker for dogs and lets them in at his house in Florida.
In "Oeuf," Will Graham tells Hannibal that he feels safe when his house looks like a boat. This is an allusion to Graham's life as a boatyard worker in Florida in Red Dragon. Lecter tells Graham that his parents died when he was very young and lived in an orphanage until he was adopted by his uncle Robertas when he was sixteen years old. In Hannibal Rising, Hannibal loses his parents as a child in the explosion of a Soviet tank. He lives in an orphanage until he is adopted by his uncle, Count Robert Lecter, at the age of thirteen. Lecter enters Graham's house when he is away and feeds the dogs. This may be a reference to the Hannibal film, in which Lecter goes into Paul Krender's house and keeps a dog from barking. It may also be a reference to Mason Verger, who, under the influence of angel dust and Lecter's suggestion, cuts off his face and feeds it to his dogs. A boy named Chris O'Halleran wets himself and is told by his female kidnapper that he does not need to be embarrassed. This is the opposite of what happens to a child Francis Dolarhyde, who wets his bed and is threatened by his grandmother in a flashback in Red Dragon. Graham investigates the murders of the Turner and Frist families, which were weeks apart. and is able to prevent the murder of the O'Halleran family. In Red Dragon, he investigates the murders of the Jacobi and Leeds families, which were four weeks apart, and prevents the murder of the Sherman family. The mother is the last to be killed in all aforementioned family murders. In both this episode and Red Dragon, Jack Crawford presents a map to predict where the killers may be based on how many miles they travel. In a sideplot, Hannibal Lecter helps Abigail Hobbs with her father issues and sedates her as he makes dinner for her. Hannibal does all of this to Clarice Starling in the novel Hannibal.
The killer in "Coquilles" believes that his victims can become "something more," a motive similar to that of Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon. Crawford's wife Bella has cancer, an allusion to her terminal illness in The Silence of the Lambs.
"Entrée" introduces Abel Gideon, a man believed to be the Chesapeake Ripper, who is really Hannibal Lecter. Gideon is incarcerated at Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane just as Lecter was in Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. Like Lecter, Gideon has had many reporters ask to study him. FBI trainee Miriam Regina Lass is similar to FBI trainee Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. A flashback shows her in Lecter's study, asking him about a patient, Jeremy Olmstead, who had a wound on his leg and was a victim of the Chesapeake Ripper. As she looks at a picture of a man being impaled, Lecter sneaks up on her wearing no shoes and incapacitates her. In Red Dragon, it is mentioned that when Graham first met Lecter, he was asking about a patient of his who was a victim of the Chesapeake Ripper. As Graham noticed a book called Wound Man and realized that Hannibal was the Ripper, the doctor snuck up on him wearing no shoes and stabbed him before being incarcerated.
In "Sorbet," Lecter is seen listening intently to an opera singer. This may be a reference to the fact that one of his victims mentioned in The Silence of the Lambs, Benjamin Raspail, is said to have been stabbed and cannibalized for being a poor flautist (in addition to offending Lecter). The killer in this episode, Tobias Budge, "transforms" his victims into musical instruments. Franklyn Froideveaux's relationships with Tobias Budge and Hannibal Lecter is a reference to Benjamin Raspail's relationships with Jame Gumb and Hannibal Lecter. At one point, Lecter bluntly asks Franklyn, during one of their sessions, if he desires Tobias sexually. Benjamin Raspail is bisexual. Bryan Fuller has stated that "Froideveaux" comes from a street that runs parallel to Raspail in Paris and that "Franklyn" was inspired by Benjamin Franklin's name, which also has the first name of Raspail.
In "Relevés," Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal's psychiatrist, mentions that Dr. Lecter referred a patient to her and that the patient swallowed his tongue and died when he attacked her. In ''The Silence of the Lambs'', Hannibal persuades Baltimore Psychiatric Hospital inmate Miggs to swallow his own tongue, in retaliation for hurling semen at Clarice Starling.
In season 2, the muralist is named James Gray. His name is similar to that of Jame Gumb, who also dumped bodies in rivers and was obsessed with people's skin.
FBI investigator Kade Purnell's name is almost an anagram of "Paul Krendler," which was the name of an FBI agent who was first mentioned in ''The Silence of the Lambs'' and then had a prominent role in ''Hannibal,'' both times as an antagonist to Clarice Starling and Jack Crawford.
Dr. Frederick Chilton records and listens to Will's conversations with others at Baltimore Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane. In The Silence of the Lambs, he records Clarice Starling's conversation with Hannibal Lecter and uses it for his own purposes.
In "Su-zakana," Mason Verger puts Margot's tear, as well as the tears of a child he humiliates, in his drink. It is mentioned in the novel ''Hannibal'' that he enjoys drinking tears, because in his disabled state he can no longer physically abuse them. He also has a tank of eels as in the novel. In the same episode, a dead woman named Sarah Craber is found inside of a horse. Within Caber's corpse is a starling. Clarice Starling had a horse named Hannah when she was growing up. Near the end of the episode, Hannibal is seen petting a sheep. Lambs are young sheep.
In "Naka-Choko," Hannibal tells Mason that he had a sister. In Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, it is revealed that he had a sister named Mischa Lecter. Later in the episode, Hannibal says, "The farmer who hand rears lambs loves them and sends them to slaughter." This is another allusion to The Silence of the Lambs.
In Red Dragon, Garrett Jacob Hobbs was a serial killer stopped by Will Graham in 1975, two years prior to Lecter's capture. It took eight months to track Hobbs, known as "The Minnesota Shrike." His victims were college coeds. Graham finds Hobbs' wife on the apartment landing, bleeding from multiple stab wounds, and clutches at Graham before dying. Graham breaks down the door and shoots Hobbs to death as Hobbs is repeatedly stabbing his own daughter in the neck. Hobbs' daughter survives and eventually goes on with her life following intensive psychotherapy. Graham is profoundly disturbed by the incident and is referred to the psychiatric ward of Bethesda Naval Hospital. After a month in the hospital, he returns to the FBI.
Hobbs appears in the first episode, and similar yet slightly altered events transpire. Unlike the novel, the show reveals that Hobbs may have been a cannibal.
The Dino De Laurentiis Company has the rights to Red Dragon, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. Bryan Fuller tried obtaining the rights to the characters Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for season 1, but they refused to give him what they believed could only be theirs. Instead, Fuller created new characters named Franklyn Froideveaux and Tobias Budge. The former is a reference to Benjamin Raspail (think Benjamin Franklin and the fact that Froideveaux is the name of a street that runs parallel with Raspail in Paris, France). Like Benjamin, Franklyn is a patient of Lecter. Instead of being a flautist, he encounters Lecter at an opera in "Sorbet" and knows a serial killer who turns his victims into musical instruments. This serial killer is Tobias Budge, who takes the role of Jame Gumb as a serial killer who knows one of Lecter's patients.
From a July 2014 interview with Fuller: "We don't have the rights to any character that originated in Silence of the Lambs. It's interesting how this breaks down: DeLaurentis and Gaumont [the studio behind Fuller's Hannibal] owns any character that originated in the book Red Dragon, MGM owns any character that originated in the book Silence of the Lambs, and I believe that Thomas Harris has the rights for all the other characters that originated in the other books.
"So for instance, we paid a character fee per episode when we had Margot and Mason Verger, and we'll be doing something very similar next season with Lady Murasaki, and some other characters that are going to be very exciting to play with."
Dr. Alan Bloom and reporter Freddy Lounds are now female characters named Dr. Alana Bloom and Freddie Lounds. Jack Crawford is portrayed by an African-American actor. Paul Krendler is now a female character named Kade Prurnell.
"Hannibal" (i.e.: 2013 television series) takes place before its sequel - "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris (Dell Publishing 1981). The chronological distance prior to Red Dragon depends on how long the series lasts. For example, one might suppose that each year of "Hannibal" is approximately one year prior to the moment Will Graham effects Dr. Hannibal's capture in Red Dragon. Hence, if "Hannibal" lasts three years, then the start of the series would likely run about three-four years prior to Dr. Hannibal's "Red Dragon" capture.
The show takes place in a brand new continuity separate from the films and books.
In the first episode, Graham is in the driver seat right before entering the Hobbs house, and Lecter is in the passenger seat. At that time, Graham was in control. But right after that, he started to lose control when he killed Garrett Jacob Hobbs. The raven-feathered stag in his head alludes to the fact that Graham has been thinking like Hobbs the hunter and becomes more and more like him. Eventually, the stag turns into a man with antlers, representing the killer Will is trying to catch. This killer is Lecter, who is portrayed as a Lucifer-like character in the show trying to tempt others. The man with antlers is a Wendigo, a mythological creature associated with cannibalism. In the season finale, Lecter is in the driver seat and Graham is in the passenger seat, meaning that Lecter is now in full control. Like Hobbs, Graham tries to hunt his animal, which he knows is Lecter, but he ends up getting shot like Hobbs and saying the exact same thing Hobbs says: "See? See?" He wants Crawford to see that Lecter is a killer, but to Crawford it comes across to him that Graham is Hobbs' copycat killer since he appears to copy his actions.
James Gray's last name may be a reference to the various shades of skin color in his collection of bodies. Matthew Brown's last name may also continue the color trend. Right before Hannibal meets Matthew, there is a cross on the wall of the pool, foreshadowing Matthew putting Hannibal in a position similar to that of Jesus on the cross. Matthew was also the name of one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. "Su-zakana" introduces Peter Bernardone, a man who takes care of animals. He may be named after Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, who later became known as Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals. In the same episode, Jimmy Price talks about shark fetuses devouring each other and twin fetuses absorbing each other. This seems to parallel the struggle between twin siblings Mason and Margot Verger, foreshadowing the former's death at the hands of the latter, who will stick an eel down his throat.
In "Naka-Choko," when Will tells Alana that he and Hannibal know where they stand, Hannibal says, "Better the devil you know," the devil being himself.
After several particularly violent months in America, NBC has decided to pull episode four, "Oeuf" from its lineup, due to the disturbing content involving children murdering other children. The episode has not been aired in the US. It is available on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and the DVD/Blu-Ray of the first season, where it is misspelled "Ceuf."
There are no misspelling at the end of the episode "Ko No Mono". On the "next episode" teaser you can read the phrase "Will Hannibal get his just deserts?" and it's linguistically correct: - "Just deserts" means "a punishment or reward that is considered to be what the recipient deserved."
- Deserts here is the plural of desert, meaning "that which one deserves". "Desert" is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase.
Apart from three minor alterations, they simply had to remove a few scene clusters from time to time to create this character-focused webisodes version, which is equal to the original version in terms of chronology. Here it becomes apparent again that they didn't spend enough time for the actual cases, as already mentioned before. The general character development and the solving of a new case with everything that's connected to it takes up roughly 20 minutes of the running time, respectively. Nevertheless, this episode, now in its initial form, has all the qualities that made the first episodes so intriguing. Graham thinking his way into the cases at the dark and morbid scenes of the crime, a little bit like Dexter Morgan, is shown in an optically appealing way and in the end, he always comes to the right conclusion, despite his psychological problems, of which we get a glimpse from time to time. In the meantime, Lecter stays in the background and manipulates others, mostly verbally. The complete material also contains smaller parts which are important for the frame story, like information about Graham's childhood during a conversation between him and Lecter. Moreover, Crawford's desire to have children is introduced in the final conversation between him and the rescued boy.
This is a quote from the showrunner Bryan Fuller, "In the first season we have this weird bromance between Will and Hannibal, season two is the nasty break up and the third season would have a fugitive angle to it, the fourth season would be 'Red Dragon,' the fifth season would be in the realm of 'Silence Of The Lambs,' the sixth season would be 'Hannibal.'"
Update:At Paleyfest 2014, Fuller confirmed that Red Dragon will be covered as the second half of season 3.
Update: From Bryan Fuller Interview with The Wrap June 3, 2015: "the idea for Season 4 is another reinvention of the format and the relationship. If we're able to do that, then ideally we'd get into Silence of the Lambs at the end of Season 4, beginning of Season 5. But all of those plans shift because we just don't know how much time we'll get to tell the story"
Yes, the home video release of the first season features several unrated episodes that contain content that was cut for broadcast, mostly prolonged violent content but some nudity as well.