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     For the movie 
  • Ability over Appearance: In the novel, Hannibal has undergone extensive plastic surgery to disguise himself. For the film, the decision was made not to alter Anthony Hopkins' famously recognizable visage, both for the sake of the audience and for character reasons; Hopkins and director Ridley Scott thought Lecter was playing a game by hiding in plain sight, as if he was saying "catch me if you can."
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Zeljko Ivanek accepted his role because he wanted to work with Ray Liotta. Ivanek introduced himself to Liotta but Liotta reminded him that they worked together before on The Rat Pack. Ivanek was embarrassed that he had not remembered that.
  • B-Team Sequel: The original creative team behind The Silence of the Lambs (primarily director Jonathan Demme and actress Jodie Foster) was enthusiastic about working on a potential sequel... right up until the book they would be adapting was finally published. Demme declined to helm the film early on in pre-production, finding the source material excessively "lurid". Lambs screenwriter Ted Tally (who hadn't been as vocal in his enthusiasm for working on a sequel, but had worked well with Demme and did subsequently adapt Red Dragon) also took a pass, simply deeming it "excessive". Foster was more equivocal initially, but finally declined to return as well, officially citing scheduling conflicts (with her film Flora Plum). Some years later, she also revealed that she was displeased with Clarice's character arc in the novel, as was Demme. Demme and Foster turned down massive paychecks, with talks of a $15 million salary for Foster (and Hopkins), and as much as a $20 million director's fee for Demme. Obviously that was enough to entice Hopkins, who (as noted above) subsequently expressed misgivings about the finished film anyway. Had Harris written a more... "acceptable" version of Hannibal, it does seem much likelier that Demme, Foster and Tally might have all returned alongside Hopkins.
  • Backed by the Pentagon: Actual North Carolina State Troopers were used for the filming. They can be seen both in the search of the Verger home and driving their cruisers.
  • California Doubling:
  • Creator Backlash: Anthony Hopkins has expressed reservations about the film, feeling Hannibal's imprisonment was an essential part of his appeal. Setting him free distilled the character's scariness, Hopkins felt.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Julianne Moore is afraid of cows. She said her scene with cows scared her more than anything else in the movie.
  • Life Imitates Art: In 2013, there was a news story from Italy, where a gangster fed his rival alive to pigs. Many media stories compared this to the scene in this film.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Anthony Hopkins, alone among the roster of Oscar winners from Silence of the Lambs, returned for this film... and a $15 million paycheck. He was paid even more for Red Dragon.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • The role of Clarice Starling was recast with Julianne Moore after Jodie Foster declined to return.
    • Paul Krendler was recast with Ray Liotta after his predecessor Ron Vawter's death in 1994.
  • Sequel Gap: The film came out ten years after The Silence of the Lambs.
  • Throw It In!: "Okey dokey" was ad-libbed by Anthony Hopkins. It became a Catchphrase for Lecter.
  • Troubled Production: In this case, troubled pre-production.
    • As previously mentioned, the controversy of the novel resulted in key players from The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, Tally and Foster) withdrawing from the project, which initially cast doubt on whether or not the film would even get made. Some executives were wary of proceeding without Demme's budget-conscious involvement, and feared the price tag might spiral out of control with the notoriously temperamental De Laurentiis in control. Media scrutiny was intense.
    • Also complicating things were convoluted legal matters regarding rights to the material and characters, which resulted in a lawsuit between producer De Laurentiis and Universal Pictures (which ultimately was settled, with both parties remaining involved). However, MGM had to be brought into the mix due to their ownership of Clarice Starling, which they obtained after acquiring the assets of Orion Pictures. Further negotiation resulted in MGM acquiring U.S. distribution rights, while Universal would distribute the film internationally.
    • Once Ridley Scott was selected as director, the process turned to the screenplay. David Mamet wrote the original draft but was not available for rewrites, causing Steven Zaillian to be brought on. Adapting the novel was a long and arduous process, and Scott was heavily involved. Harris' ending for the novel was deemed far too controversial and implausible to put on film, so concepts for new endings had to be discussed.
    • After the film was finally on track and Julianne Moore chosen as the new Clarice, De Laurentiis added more fuel to the fire by making unflattering comments about Foster - mainly his opinions about her lack of sex appeal compared to Moore.
  • Uncredited Role: Gary Oldman demanded to share star billing alongside Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. When the producers denied him this, he threatened to quit the film but later angrily demanded to have no billing at all.
    • Oldman's name was added to the end credits for home video releases.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Word of God: According to Ridley Scott, Barney would take things out of Lecter's cell while he was taking a walk outside.

     For the series 
  • Acclaimed Flop: The show was widely praised by critics and adored by its devoted fanbase as one of the best horror series out there, but it faired poorly in terms of ratings, indicating that it simply couldn't find a mass audience. NBC decided to take a chance and stick with it anyways for a total of three seasons, but couldn't justify any more than that and ended up cancelling it.
  • Banned In Utah: KSL-TV pulled the series after 4 episodes, declaring it to be too violent for broadcast television.
    • However, the show was still broadcast in Utah, having been picked up by KUCW, the local CW affiliate. The channel did move its time slot from prime time to midnight, but Utah viewers got to see all three seasons.
  • Dueling Shows: With Fox's similarly-premised and similarly-uber-violent (but far cruder) The Following.
    • This isn't a surprising thing, given that it is a Bryan Fuller show. Wonderfalls suffered from this as well.
    • Lifetime is developing their own series based on Clarice Starling's early career. Since this would require the television rights to The Silence of the Lambs — something highly coveted by the producers of Hannibal — it creates the unique circumstances of two shows dueling before one has even gone into production. Moreover, the Clarice spinoff has been mired in Development Hell for years, making any real threat to Hannibal nigh nonexistent.
  • Executive Meddling: There were a few instances where the crew had to get creative in order to make the murders palatable for Network television. Bryan Fuller told an amusing anecdote about the "angels" from Coquilles:
    "NBC said, 'we cannot show that shot' - which was this great, kind of cinematic shot - and I said, 'Why? Because of the exposed spine and muscle tissue and ribs and flayed skin?' and they were, like, 'No, we see their butt cracks.' And I said, 'What if we filled the butt cracks with blood so you didn't see the crack?' and they said 'Okay!'"
    • NBC is very skittish about including homosexual material when the show got to Margot Verger, leading to the show being bafflingly oblique about her orientation. A line from the books that used the euphemism "muff-diving" wasn't allowed because it referenced lesbian oral sex, so the writers made do with "button-stitching". Though come Season 3, depictions of her in an open lesbian relationship with Alana, including a sex scene showing quite a lot of skin, were allowed.
      • In the Red Dragon arc of Season 3, Alana and Margot are married and have a son and Hannibal is explicitly revealed as being in love with Will. It's safe to say the executive meddling about this particular subject was greatly reduced.
    • In an odd example of meddling from a different network, the reason for Miriam Lass's rather truncated arc in Season 2 was because HBO only allowed them to use Anna Chlumsky for two episodes, and would only let her speak in one.
  • Fake American:
    • Hugh Dancy, who plays Will, is actually British. In fact, only Jack and Beverly are genuine Americans. The rest are English or Canadian, with Danish Mads Mikkelsen playing ambiguously-European Hannibal Lecter.
    • Eddie Izzard is British and mostly manages to cover his accent, though it does slip a bit on occasion.
  • Fan Community Nickname: Fannibals.
  • Fandom Nod: Will reveals that Freddie called him and Hannibal 'Murderhusbands' which is a popular ship name.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Murder Family: Hannibal and Will as the dads and Abigail Hobbs as their adopted daughter. Sometimes with just Hannibal and Will, it's Murder Husbands.
    • Will's dreams are haunted by the Ravenstag.
    • Team Sassy Science: The forensics team consisting of Drs. Beverly Katz, Brian Zeller and Jimmy Price, named as such because of their sassy, humorous approach to analysing gruesome scenes.
    • Many of the Killers of the Week receive such nicknames:
      • The unnamed Serial Killer from Œuf, played by Molly Shannon, has been named Wendy by fans, due to the Peter Pan/Lost Boys themes presented by her story.
      • Katherine Pimms is called Honey Bunny by some, due to both her connection to bees, and as a Shout-Out to Amanda Plummer's character in Pulp Fiction.
      • Randall Tier is Manbearpig.
    • "The Red Dinner" for the latter half of the Season 2 finale, comparing the event to the similarly shocking/gore-spattered "Red Wedding" incident of Game of Thrones.
    • "Hell on Wheels", the nickname given to the fake corpse of Freddie that's strapped to a wheelchair and set on fire.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: Bryan Fuller used in an interview the term 'Red Dinner', coined to describe the bloody events of the Season 2 finale.
  • Missing Episode: The fourth episode from the first season was pulled from the schedule, and the character-important segments were later adapted into a webseries designed to fill in the gaps. But then iTunes subverted this by putting up the uncut episode.
  • Name's the Same: Abigail Hobbs was the name of a fourteen-year-old girl convicted of witchcraft as a result of the Salem Witch Trials.
  • One-Take Wonder: At one point Hannibal Lecter is seen performing an elaborate cooking trick where he throws an egg in the air, cracks it over the narrow edge of a spatula as it falls and catches the yolk inside a small bowl. The crew were convinced the trick was too dificult and prepared several dozen eggs as well as three chefs to act as hand doubles. Mads Mikkelsen performed the trick perfectly on the first take with no rehearsals. Turns out Mikkelsen was a juggler in his youth which he credited for being able to pull off the trick.
  • The Other Darrin:
    • Michael Pitt, who portrayed Mason Verger in Season 2, declined to return for Season 3. He has been replaced by Joe Anderson.
  • Playing Against Type:
  • Production Posse: Both Ellen Greene and Raúl Esparza have worked with Fuller before on Pushing Daisies, and Eddie Izzard appeared as Grandpa in Fuller's failed-pilot-turned-TV-movie reboot of The Munsters, Mockingbird Lane.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Bryan Fuller is fan of Siouxsie Sioux's music, and he managed to convince her to compose a song (which ended up being called "Love Crime") for the Season 3 finale even though she hadn't released a single in 8 years.
  • Reality Subtext: According to the first season's DVD, many of the therapy scenes between Hannibal and Franklyn are taken nearly verbatim from Fuller's own experiences in therapy, including the line: "If you were not neurotic, Franklyn, you would be something much worse."
  • Real-Life Relative: Gina Torres and Laurence Fishburne are actually married and recently separated, which makes what their characters are going through even more depressing to some.
  • Recycled Story Arc: Almost ten years after the cancellation of Wonderfalls, Bryan Fuller finally gets a chance to properly play out his storyline of a protagonist being sent to an insane asylum by their psychiatrist.
  • Screwed by the Network: Averted. NBC have cancelled Hannibal after three seasons, due to it receiving low viewing figures. However it happily allowed Seasons 2 and 3 after already poor viewing figures in Season 1, took a chance with this risky show, and cancelled the contract while giving Fuller the greatest chance of renewing the show with another network. So Fuller is grateful, and the fans are largely understanding.
  • Star-Making Role: For Mads Mikkelsen. Though he's well-known in his native Denmark, his international movies (King Arthur, Casino Royale and Clash of the Titans) prior to the series didn't put him much on the spotlight. It's in only in this series where he earned a lot of attention which got him into franchise hits like Doctor Strange (2016) and Rogue One and there's also Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding game.
  • Technology Marches On: The original Francis Dolarhyde found his victims by getting a job as a home video developer, and the 2002 Red Dragon film was even made into a period piece to accommodate this. It is not explicitly stated in the show, but according to Fuller (and a hypothesis from Hannibal), this incarnation of Dolarhyde finds his victims through social media. When Dolarhyde shows Chilton slides of the families, it seems to resemble photos that may be taken on social media.
    • Interestingly, Dolarhyde's original job from the books of film development is restored in this show, but is not even slightly related to how he picks his victims or how his identity is discovered.
  • Throw It In!: Raúl Esparza ad-libbed Chilton's "Hannibal, Hannibal, Hannibal!" remark about how Will never shuts up about him. Laurence Fishburne likes to shout his lines unprompted in some takes (as can be seen in the blooper reel for the first season). His bellowed delivery of the line "USE THE LADIES' ROOM!" in Aperitif was not scripted.
  • Trolling Creator: Bryan Fuller gets off on this, as made apparent following Yakimono in Season 2. Chilton is shot in the face despite being a key character in the book/film plots, yet numerous fans noticed that, while the bullet exits Chilton's neck, an entry wound can only be seen on his cheek, making it possible that the bullet missed his neck and brain. Fuller then proceeded to stir up the fandom with ambiguous Twitter posts like this (SPOILERS) and a teasing response during his AV Club episode review (SPOILERS). To top it off, the next episode Su-zakana has zero mention of it, meaning it is still unknown if it's true, or if Fuller is just trying to rub salt into the wound.
    AV Club: Chilton, correct me if I'm wrong, is the first character from the literature that you've killed who's still alive in later books. Do you feel that shakes things up, or do you worry about not having that character to play later?
    Bryan Fuller: [Frank] Serpico survived a bullet to the face.
    AV Club: Okay.
    Bryan Fuller: [Laughs.]
  • What Could Have Been:
    • David Tennant tried out for the part of Hannibal. He didn't get it (obviously), but Bryan Fuller was so impressed by his audition that he expressed the desire to write him a part as a psychopathic serial killer later in the series.
    • Apparently, Fuller initially considered Lee Pace as Will Graham (The Pie Maker as a profiler?) and as Mason Verger but did not cast him either role.
    • Bryan Fuller originally wrote Bedelia Du Maurier as an older woman and hoped to cast Angela Lansbury. When scheduling conflicts made this impossible, NBC recommended Gillian Anderson. This modified the storyline slightly; instead of being retired due to age, she left her practice for other reasons.
    • Fuller stated multiple times (and extended an offer) that he'd like the incomparable David Bowie to play Hannibal's artist uncle Robert, the only stable parental figure in Hannibal's life after his parents were slain by Nazis. Who can tell in what capacity Robert might appear in the show? In any case, it would've been terrific to see Bowie interacting with Mikkelsen... However, all attempts soon ended when Bowie passed away in January 2016, months after the series finale.
      • Fuller has mentioned that, assuming everything lined up properly, Chi McBride would be his top choice for the role of Barney Matthews. He has expressed interest in working with a number of actors with whom he has past experience, specifically naming Anna Friel and Kristin Chenoweth. Fuller wanted Friel to appear in Season 2 (likely as Margot Verger), but she had already signed onto an adaptation of The Odyssey at the time.
    • Caroline Dhavernas was offered her choice of Freddie Lounds or Alana Bloom.
    • Tobias Budge was originally intended to be Jame Gumb, a.k.a Buffalo Bill (much as Franklin was supposed to be Benjamin Raspail), but when they couldn't get the rights to the character, they decided to rework him into somebody completely original.
    • Fuller originally intended Beverly Katz to die at the end of Season 1 instead of Abigail Hobbs, but was so impressed by her actress that he changed the script and story to give her more time for Character Development.
    • The role of Peter Bernadone was originally offered to Patton Oswalt.
    • A relatively minor example, but occasionally minor bits of the script that are missing from the final cuts of the episodes show up in the closed captions.
    • After being impressed with her performance in The Wolverine, Fuller cast Tao Okamoto as Lady Murasaki from the novels. He changed the character to Chiyoh after becoming worried that Tao was too young to believable as Mads Mikkelsen's aunt.
    • Fuller asked Jodie Foster to direct an episode of Season 4.
    • Fuller actually wanted Zachary Quinto to play Anthony Dimmond, though this proved impossible due to Quinto's schedule. Another actor was briefly cast as Dimmond before Tom Wisdom took the role. Quinto's schedule and desire to work with Gillian Anderson led to the role of Bedelia's patient being written for him.
    • After the release of the Season 3 finale, Fuller laid out his ideas on his hypothetical version of Silence of the Lambs. It would have paralleled Hannibal in the Baltimore Hospital under the heavily-scarred Chilton with flashbacks to Hannibal at his psychiatrist prime, possibly with Benjamin Raspail as his patient. Pushing Daisies alum Lee Pace would have been the top choice to play Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb as well as bringing back Clarice Starling expy Miriam Lass. Clarice herself would either have been Ellen Page or a woman of color.
    • In addition to explaining how Will and Hannibal might have survived their fall, Hannibal's fourth season would have further explored the effect that Hannibal's cannibalistic lifestyle had on Bedelia. Fans would have seen the payoff of Hannibal's promise to Alana, with the latter then working with Margot to dismantle all of the Verger slaughterhouses and turn them humane.
  • Word of Gay:
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