Hannibal was an American television series that aired from 2013-2015, based on Thomas Harris's novels about the iconic fictional serial killer Hannibal Lector and FBI special investigator Will Graham. Although the show was cancelled by NBC after three seasons due to low ratings, it received considerable critical acclaim and had a strong cult following, and both cast and crew have expressed interest in continuing the story, most likely on Netflix, if they are able to find a distributor. However, streaming service contracts have so far prevented this.
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The series included multiple LGBT characters, most notably the characters of Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen) himself, whose sexuality is not labelled in the show but who show creator Bryan Fuller has described as omnisexual, and Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle), who is lesbian in both Harris's novels and the show.
Other LGBT characters include Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), who has a relationship with Hannibal at one point but later falls in love with and marries Margot, and Will, who starts the series as heterosexual but perhaps biromantic or bicurious and ends it in Hannibal's arms. Fuller has spoken about his desire to depict fluid sexuality in interviews. For example, in a Digital Spy interview after the season three finale, he stated:
Digital Spy:This season depicted sexuality as very much on a spectrum, with Alana falling for Margot and Hannibal for Will. Was that a deliberate theme?
Fuller: I definitely wanted to do that with Alana and Margot because I feel that sexuality can be fluid, and there are so many stopping points on the spectrum that it seemed perfectly natural for Alana to be bisexual, and not make a thing of it, it's just who she is. She didn't have to explain it or rationalise it, and I think there was some criticism like 'Oh, now she's a lesbian just because you want her to be a lesbian'. No, she's bisexual, she's always been bisexual, and stop being so narrow in your perception of sexuality. There's this prejudice against bisexuality that I think just stems from narcissism, because people can't accept that someone could think or behave differently than they do, and that's pathological when it comes right down to it.
Fuller has expressed some distaste for Margot's characterization in the novels, stating:
In the novel she's a very masculine character who has had years of steroid abuse and is a lesbian, and it was unclear to me in the novel whether she was either transgender or a lesbian as a result of those horrible abuses and that horrible childhood and... that's not how transgenderism or homosexuality works. So I didn't want to contribute to that misconception of what it is to be transgender or a gay woman.
The show became the focus of some controversy among LGBT fans in season two when Margot slept with Will in an attempt to get pregnant, despite being lesbian.
The relationship between Hannibal and Will was depicted as intense from the start, with show creator Bryan Fuller even describing it as "a love story" between Hannibal and Will. This eventually led to accusations of queerbaiting from fans as the homoerotic subtext grew without payoff in canon, leading to a debate within the fandom about the difference between subtext and queerbaiting that brought out both defenders and detractors of the show. For example:
- No, 'Hannibal' isn't queerbaiting—that's just gay subtext
- Why Hannigram is Already Canon… Just Not In The Way You Think
- Stop Calling Hannibal Queerbaiting
- In Defense of Bryan Fuller and Hannibal
LGBT Cast and Crew
Fandom responded to the intense chemistry between Hannibal and Will immediately, long before it became official canon, and "Hannigram" or "Murder Husbands", as it became known by fans, is by far the most popular ship tagged in the fandom on the fanfiction archive An Archive of Our Own (AO3), with more than 8000 fics tagged with the pairing as of July 2016.
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