Hello, everyone, and welcome to Vox's very first live-blog of a panel at San Diego Comic-Con International, for NBC's Hannibal, writer Bryan Fuller's mesmerizing adaptation of the Hannibal Lecter mythos. It's one of the best shows on TV! Fuller and a few other producers will be here, as well as Caroline Dhavernas (Alana) and some other cast members. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen aren't here, but the Comic-Con guide also promises "surprises," which almost certainly means either or both of them filmed some bit of video goofery we'll all get to watch.
To follow along, just keep refreshing this page, I guess, or you can follow me on Twitter, and I'll try and tweet out as I update things.
It goes without saying, but if you've never seen Hannibal and plan to catch up, there will be spoilers. But, c'mon. Why aren't you watching Hannibal? Go do that now. It's on Amazon Prime!
Live-blog begins... now.
4:45 p.m. Pacific: Time to start, and people are still filing in. Turns out there wasn't as much overlap between the audiences of Community and Teen Wolf (the previous two panels) and this show as I had thought there might be. Huh.
4:48 p.m.: The things people got most excited in the highlight reel from season two included Gillian Anderson popping up, the Verger siblings, that cataclysmic final fight (and the accompanying return of Abigail), and Raúl Esparza's delivery of "You coughed up an ear!" Man, season two was a good season of television, wasn't it?
4:52 p.m.: Jonathan Ross of BBC fame is here to introduce a show that he describes as a horrifying spectacle that also makes you hungry. Accurate! He introduces the panelists, and Bryan Fuller is wearing a magnificent suit that I would peg as orange but would not dispute you pegging as red.
4:54 p.m.: Mads Mikkelsen is sad he can't be here, in a video from Skype, it would seem. He hopes to be here next year to share "lunch" with us. Hugh Dancy is also sad. He wants some information on season three. So do we all, Hugh.
4:55 p.m.: Raúl Esparza is here! Fuller confirms he'll be a big part of season three (and four), despite his character having been shot in the face. So there's that.
4:56 p.m.: "Chilton's like a weeble wobble. You shoot him in the face, and he just comes right back. ... I told Bryan I expect him next season to have an eyepatch, a hump, and a parrot," Esparza says of his character. It's in response to Ross pointing out that people on this show don't seem to die unless they are eaten.
4:57 p.m.: And Eddie Izzard will be back, too! But Fuller confirms this will be a flashback. "He got et," says Fuller, underlining the suggestion that the only way to die in this universe is in someone's gastrointestinal tract.
4:59 p.m.: Fuller teases a lot of characters from the books, including Francis Dolarhyde (who will appear for the first time in episode eight). Others include Lady Murasaki and Commander Pazzi. Dolarhyde's the big deal here, though, as he's the big bad from Red Dragon, which should be the basis for season four.
5:01 p.m.: Martha DeLaurentiis is doing a lengthy explanation of the Clarice Starling/Silence of the Lambs rights issues that may keep the show from using that character. No movement yet, it doesn't sound like, but they're still working with MGM, which controls them. And Fuller says if they can't get the rights, they can do "Scmarice Schmarling."
5:03 p.m.: "Our Mason is much younger and much crazier!" says producer Steve Lightfoot, before continuing on to mention how Michael Pitt's performance influenced the show's take on the character from the books. Pitt was crazy good in that part. He was very over-the-top but somehow very real.
5:04 p.m.: Fuller promises a "full-court press" to get the Starling rights. But it will ultimately be up to MGM.
5:05 p.m.: Caroline Dhavernas is trying to explain why she ended up in bed with Hannibal last season. She says that he's the only thing that seems "solid" to her. Sure. Will she be eaten after season two? Fuller deflects, saying that she and Hannibal had sex, and that's "a form of consumption." Sure.
5:07 p.m.: Fuller spends lots of time telling Esparza the terrible things that will happen to him, then adds, "But don't worry! You survive!" (Esparza is the highlight of this panel, incidentally, surprising no one who's seen the man act.) Esparza mentions Pushing Daisies, where he worked with Fuller previously, and the room cheers and then, presumably, feels a little sad.
5:09 p.m.: Ross asks director David Slade why the show is so dark. Is it because of budgetary reasons? Nah, Slade says. It's about what you'd expect. The show is just that dark thematically, so it makes sense for it to creep into the visuals.
5:13 p.m.: Favorite deaths from the whole panel? Esparza says the angels from the first season. Actor Aaron Abrams says "the murder horse baby person." (Fuller says in the writers' room, they called this one "the turducken.") Actor Scott Thompson says the mushroom deaths from season one. Dhavernas says the tree man. "He looked so proud and generous, yet he was missing everything!" Lightfoot says the totem pole and was thrilled when Lance Henriksen played the part. Slade says the guy who was hiding from God, while DeLaurentiis says the eye of God mural from the season two premiere. ("That's where you got to see Mads in the weird transparent onesie," says Ross.) Fuller picks two, including the cello guy from season one and Mason cutting off his face in season two.
5:15 p.m.: Are Will and Hannibal in love? It's not a sexual love, but, Fuller says, "They have a pure love for each other, and that's what makes it so complicated." When asked what it would take to make it sexual, he says the fans have taken care of that, if you want to go looking for the art.
5:17 p.m.: Does fan fiction bother people on the show? The whole show is fan fiction, says Fuller, and then says what's good for the gander is good for the goose. Roughly translated: go nuts, fanfic-keteers.
5:18 p.m.: Time for fan questions already. First fan is very enthusiastic about Wonderfalls, where Dhavernas and Fuller first worked together. Then she wants to know what they're going to do with Barney, but, unfortunately, he's trapped in the Silence rights issues. Which other characters are the writers excited about? Fuller says he thinks Lady Murasaki is "going to kick all sorts of ass."
5:19 p.m.: Did the show draw any of its distinctive visuals from anime? Fuller says he and Slade looked at some anime, but the primary visual influences include David Cronenberg and David Lynch. Understandably.
5:20 p.m.: What to Abrams and Thompson want to see from their lab-tech characters for next season? A spinoff! Entitled Catch of the Day, Abrams says, it will be about the two of them moving to a little fishing town. But they just can't stay out of trouble!
5:21 p.m.: Next season's cuisine for the episode titles will be Italian, says Fuller.
5:22 p.m.: Do you have ideas for the names of Will's dogs? Fuller totally invites you to tweet them to him. Seriously.
5:23 p.m.: Some excellently cosplaying fans (as Will and the creepy stagman from his dreams) ask what a Hannibal musical might look like. The only person who volunteers to sing is Abrams, even though Esparza is a great singer. Fuller says he'd love to see a surreal musical number on the show, possibly in Hannibal's mind palace. And apparently Mikkelsen can dance really well. Fuller compares it to Christopher Walken in the "Weapon of Choice" video.
5:25 p.m.: Does it take longer to work in English as a second language? Dhavernas (who spoke French first, as French-Canadian) says that it can be harder, particularly late at night, but she thinks it helps her focus. Esparza (who spoke Spanish first but doesn't remember learning English) says that if he's really focusing on something, he'll do so in Spanish, but in most cases, both languages feed off of each other for him.
5:27 p.m.: Lots of love for Jaye Tyler (Dhavernas's character on Wonderfalls) from these fan questions. How do the panelists wish to be consumed if eaten? It turns out that Thompson has thought a lot about how his character would consume Abrams' character. Esparza would like to be roasted on a spit, like at a luau.
5:28 p.m.: The symmetry between Mason and Margot and Hannibal and Will is very much intentional. Both Margot and Will get nearly identical scars from their oppressors.
5:29 p.m.: Now this guy is in a straitjacket. The Hannibal fans are really showing up my cosplay here. He wants to know how much will be solving cases versus chasing Hannibal. Fuller says that you only see the FBI in one episode in the first seven, because they're abandoning that structure in favor of the pursuit of Hannibal.
5:31 p.m.: A woman wearing an Esparza mask appears, and we get some dissolve humor on the Jumbotron, as whomever is running the screens superimposes her face over Esparza's. She asks why Fuller is picking up season three a year after season two. Fuller says that they wanted to leave ambiguous who survived the finale, and the first episode is basically the pilot for a new series just starring Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson. And episode four will detail what happened between the finale and the season three premiere.
5:33 p.m.: Fuller promises that we will see Kacey Rohl (who plays Abigail) again in season three, though he also says it would be fun to see a flashback episode where we learn what she was up to in season two. So that's not a confirmation of... anything. Curse you, Fuller!
5:34 p.m.: Fuller praises Slade for sticking with the series past the pilot, including handling work in the edit bay and the like. It's very rare for a director to do so in TV, and he's grateful.
5:35 p.m.: "If you have the opportunity or the means, adopt a dog that's in a shelter," says Fuller, praising Will for taking in rescue dogs. He's a "mutt collector."
5:36 p.m.: "We needed it," says Fuller of making many male characters from the novels into women. "Most of the female characters on this show can see so much clearer Hannibal than the male characters." (Except for Alana, it would seem.) Fuller also seems to suggest Dhavernas will be in season three, though it's possible he just was listing all of the great female characters he's liked writing for.
5:38 p.m.: "It would have been really sad for the only female characters to be victims," says Dhavernas, in praising Fuller (and television in general) for coming up with good characters for women to play. "There's something unique about the female experience that has an accessibility ... that runs at a slightly wider emotional bandwidth than the male experience," Fuller says, as to why he likes writing great female characters (like Jaye from Wonderfalls).
5:40 p.m.: "It seemed natural for them to go there," Dhavernas says, once again answering why Alana and Hannibal slept together. She notes that Hannibal was so smart, he got her to come to him. And Fuller says when Dhavernas found out that Alana was going to get to hook up with Hannibal, the actress was over the moon.
5:42 p.m.: There are some cool Hannibal things you can buy if you are at Comic-Con. Or you could win them in a raffle, maybe.
5:43 p.m.: How would Hannibal serve the Emmy judging panel? Fuller says they would be spit-roasted. Then he announces a behind-the-scenes book on how the show is made. It's all about the art of Hannibal. The season two DVD comes out Sept. 16. So go watch that, America. The soundtrack of original music from the show will be out on Aug. 5 (season one) and Sept. 2 (season two). Promotional material!
5:45 p.m.: The panel plays us out with a snippet from the blooper reel on the DVD, and we are done. Stay tuned for more Comic-Con updates throughout the weekend.