Hannibal (TV series)

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Name: Hannibal
Creator: Bryan Fuller
Date(s): April 4, 2013 – August 29, 2015
Medium: TV
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: NBC official page
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Hannibal is an American psychological thriller television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris, and focuses on the budding relationship between Will Graham, an FBI special investigator, and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer who is destined to become Graham's most cunning enemy.

Fuller has described the series as a "love story" between Hannibal and Will.[1]

The series premiered on NBC on April 4, 2013, and was announced to be cancelled after season 3 on June 22, 2015.


The first season of Hannibal references the first Thomas Harris book Red Dragon with notable divergence. The TV show's Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham meet earlier and work together on cases for the FBI. The show also explores in depth the nature of Will Graham's mental decline and eventual residence in a psychiatric facility following his shooting of Garrett Jacob Hobbs.

The second season focuses on the changes in Will Grahams characterisation as he tries to set a trap to capture Hannibal. Their relationships evolves from doctor/patient into a companionship between equals, at terrible costs for all characters.

The third season is divided into two distinct arcs: In the Italian Arc (episodes 1-7), Hannibal evades capture and escapes to Florence. The Red Dragon Arc (episodes 8-13) focuses on Francis Dolarhyde and the events of Red Dragon.

Bryan Fuller has been lauded for changing both the race and gender of several characters, due to preponderance of white males in the original canon. Freddy Lounds and Dr. Alan Bloom from the book are genderswapped as Freddie (Fredericka) Lounds and Dr. Alana Bloom, because Bryan Fuller felt the show needed more female energy and was keen on working again with actress Caroline Dhavernas from his previous show Wonderfalls.

Original and future plans for the show

Bryan Fuller has stated that he has a six-season plan for "Hannibal." Originally a seven-season plan, he has combined ideas for some of his seasons, in order to not be "treading water." Fuller has expressed a desire to use the events of "The Silence of the Lambs" and the character Clarice Startling in season 4 or later seasons. Currently the rights for Clarice are still held by MGM and the character is not available for use.[2] After the last episode of the show aired on NBC on August 29, 2015, Fuller stated repeatedly that Martha de Laurentiis is still looking into possibilities to bring it back in some way, and that cast and crew are up for further Hannibal chapters if the audience supports them.


The Hannibal fandom is often said to have "come out of nowhere" with a large fanbase assembling en masse in a short amount of time on popular social media sites such as tumblr, LiveJournal, and deviantArt.[3] Members of the Hannibal fandom are often referred to as "Fannibals" and "Fannibal Family".

Fannibals are a classic example of the "Serious Show, Hilarious Fandom" phenomenon as seen in the Lost and Les Miserables fandoms. While the show itself is grim, the fandom is generally cheerful, rife with dark humour, and silly tropes. As sarcastically noted by Tumblr user warpedchyld, via her tags: "We are a dark and sophisticated fandom." [4] Part of this playfulness can be traced back to a Korean commercial[5][6] that inserted twinkling stars and other embellishments into their ad for the Hannibal season 1 premiere.

The most noticeable ship war happened probably at the start of the show, when long-time Clarice/Hannibal shippers (up until then arguably the fandom majority) clashed with Hannigram shippers of the new show.[7][8]


  • Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham, often denoted as Hannigram or Murder Husbands. By far the most prominent pairing in fandom, it became (disputed) canon in season 3, although there is still some confusion about when.
  • Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham/Abigail Hobbs, ship name Murder Family.
  • Will/Matthew: Will Graham and Matthew Brown. Often denoted as Brownham or Gay Hawks.
  • Will/Chilton: Will Graham and Frederick Chilton. Often denoted as Chillywilly or Wilton.
  • Will/Dolarhyde: Will Graham and Francis Dolarhyde. Often denoted as Dolarham or Dolargraham.
  • Will/Alana: Will Graham and Alana Bloom. Often denoted as Wilana or Gloom.
  • Will/Beverly: Will Graham and Beverly Katz. Often denoted as Katz and Dogs.
  • Will/Abigail: Will Graham and Abigail Hobbs. Often denoted as Abigram.
  • Jimmy Price/Brian Zeller, often denoted as Preller. This ship also has a great gen following, fueled by the relationship between actors Aaron Abrams and Scott Thompson. In a gen context, Preller is referred to as Team Sassy Science, often including Beverly Katz.
  • Hannibal/Bedelia: Hannibal Lecter and Bedelia Du Maurier, often denoted as Hannidelia. Became canon by Word of God in the Italian Arc of season 3.
  • Chilton/Dolarhyde: Frederick Chilton and Francis Dolarhyde. Often denoted as Fredragon.
  • Alana Bloom/Margot Verger, often denoted as Marlana or Murder Wives. This pairing became canon with the famous kaleidoscopic sex scene in episode 3x, and is often seen as the most healthy successful canon relationship on the show.
  • Alana Bloom/Bedelia Du Maurier, which are often depicted in an AU setting as a female version of Murder Husbands, sometimes also called Murder Wives.

Crossover Pairings

A phenomenon fairly unique to the Hannibal fandom, inspired by the appearance of Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen together in King Arthur (2004) before their appearance on Hannibal. Fandom could not miss the opportunity to ship the actors together in another universe, both correlated to Hannigram via the idea of reincarnation, and as their own stand alone pairing. This idea soon spread and combinations of Hugh/Mads ships from non-Hannibal works began popping up. Some fans have referred to this as the "Hannibal Extended Universe".

Some of the most popular crossover pairings include:

  • Tristhad: The characters of Tristan (Mikkelsen) and Galahad (Dancy) from "King Arthur."
  • Lucadam: The characters of Lucas (Mikkelsen) from "The Hunt/Jagten" and Adam Raki (Dancy) from "Adam."
  • Spacedogs: The characters of Nigel (Mikkelsen) from "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman" and Adam Raki.

Real Person Fiction

The pairing of Mads Mikkelsen (who plays Hannibal Lecter) and Hugh Dancy (who plays Will Graham) is usually known as Madancy. The term Danish Crumpet (referring to the actors' respective countries of origin) has also been used. Hannibal RPF page on Archive of Our Own There is also some fan fiction shipping Gillian Anderson with Hannibal co-star Mads Mikkelsen on Archive on Our Own.


There are many tropes which have been circulating and developed within the Hannibal fandom, some of which have basis in the show, and some of which are exaggerations (sometimes to the extreme) of canon elements. Much like the fandom, the tropes often have a certain level of ridiculousness about them.

Some tropes include:

  • Will is a dognapper.
  • Will is often portrayed as effeminate/a twink/a boy.
  • Hannibal is a sugar daddy.
  • Beverly's death in season 2 is often ignored by fandom (i.e., it never happened).
  • In the same vein, Will and Beverly are often portrayed as best friends.
  • Murder Family: Murder Husbands Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter run off (to Europe) with Abigail Hobbs as their adopted daughter.
  • Bedelia and Alana as the female versions of Hannibal and Will, with possible Murder Husbands and Murder Family tropes.


Expressing tumblr-style feels about Hugh Dancy's public appearance wearing an actual flower crown, by nopeicant. He was wearing the flower crown because of a Tumblr meme; this collage is in the style of yet another meme.
  • Swiggity Swag the Nightmare Stag/Dire Ravenstag: The fandom nickname for the stag/wendigo hallucination that Will Graham experiences regularly in the show. Jokes about deer and stags are common in the fandom.
  • "The [item] is people": This meme likely originates from the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green, in which a character declares that "soylent green is people!" Fannibals, cast, and crew often use this meme to poke fun at Hannibal's penchant for serving the remains of his victims disguised as beautifully and sometimes unlikely food and drink to his unsuspecting guests.[9][10]
  • Eat the Rude: Fannibals have a reputation of stringently promoting polite behaviour, stemming from the show's tagline "Eat the Rude" and Hannibal Lecter's own policy of eating people he finds irritating or offensive.
  • Flower crowns: Fannibals embraced the popular flower crown meme and often photoshopped flower crowns onto serious characters or plot images to create lighthearted or cutesy scenes. Of note, the meme originated in One Direction fandom shortly before the show started, so new fans would have been seeing flower crowns all over their Tumblr dash just at the point when they would feel the urge to express their fannish love creatively. Another factor may be the May 2013 Korean Hannibal promo, which contained similar image manipulations. The meme was embraced wholeheartedly by cast and crew, with them wearing flower crowns on various occasions.
  • "This is my design": A line Will Graham often speaks in the show while channelling the serial killers he hunts and reconstructing their kills.
  • "Motive!": A gag reel scene from season 1 features cast members shouting 'motive!' and high-fiving each other after a botched piece of dialogue. This has become an accepted fannibal greeting upon meeting another fannibal.
  • Beautiful Cinnamon Roll Too Good For This World, Too Pure: Fannibals have often used this popular meme when referring to Will Graham's vulnerable state of mind in season 1. After season 2, they adapted the meme; the term sinnamon roll was added to reflect the changes in his characterisation.
  • That kind of party: Originally used by Antony Dimmond in episode 3x01, it's used by fans whenever a celebration, a party, or a threesome/orgy is in order/has happened/is about to start, etc.

History of the Fandom

Season 1 fan campaign

Hannibal season 1 premiered mid-season with rich praise from critics and a strong online fanbase but middling ratings from the general public. Rumours spread that the show would not be renewed for a second season. In response, fannibal ktgay organised a massive fan campaign on Twitter to promote the show's renewal. The campaign chose a weekly Hannibal-themed tag such as #EatTheRude and #FeedYourFear that was posted and retweeted during the broadcast of new Hannibal episodes on Thursday nights in hopes of getting the tag trending and attracting attention to the show and its strong fanbase. Cast and crew on Twitter also participated in the campaign and attributed the success of the campaign as a factor in NBC's decision on May 30, 2013 to renew the show for a second season.

Season 2 push for renewal

In its second season Hannibal continued to win critical praise. However, the low ratings meant that there were continued fears that the show would be cancelled. Large pushes to support the show were made on Twitter. Fans often tweeted directly to the official NBC twitter to show their support for the show. Fannibals were encouraged to livetweet during episodes of the show in order to get #Hannibal to trend. As before, there was usually a weekly hashtag and both the cast and crew of Hannibal joined in the tweeting. Besides the regular hashtags for the show, a special hashtag honoring one of the sponsors would be given out. For example, #BlushingBoom was used when Revlon was the chosen sponsor. Fans were encouraged to tweet with this hashtag and to tweet directly to the company sponsoring the show, thanking them for them support. Some fans also made graphics utilizing the hashtags.

The announcement that Hannibal would be renewed for a third season was made on May 9, 2014.

Season 3 #SaveHannibal and #NakamaForever

After the airing of the third episode, NBC announced that the show wouldn't be renewed for a fourth season. At this point, Bryan Fuller, Martha de Laurentiis and other officials said they were looking for a new home, and urged the fannibals via twitter not to loose hope. As in previous seasons, fans were encouraged to livetweet with the cast and crew, using the hashtag #Hannibal and a different hashtag every week. The hashtag for episode 4 and 5 were #SaveHannibal.[11] and #LetHannibalLive, and the international community of Fannibals (lovingly referred to as #FannibalFamily by themselves and show officials) tweeted art, screencaps, videos, pictures, comics, lego art, etc., featuring reasons why the show should be picked up by another network. At the same time, tumblr was used to distribute information on livetweet events, best practices, "what you can do to help", etc. In accordance with statements made by show runner Bryan Fuller, the campaign was aimed at Amazon Video, Netflix and Hulu. The various hashtags trended in different countries, creating a noticeable and international media coverage. The final hashtag for episode 3x13 was #HannibalMicDrop, trending #9 worldwide, and an undefeated #1 in the US for hours.[12]

After the last episode aired, cast, crew and fannibals alike posted a lot of thank you vids, pics, posts, etc. on various channels, thanking everyone for the amazing experience. Some of these can be found on twitter (#HannibalHangover, #NakamaForever, #FannibalFamily). Fannibals from all over the world made videos like BIG FANNIBAL HUG! and Love From Chinnibals (dead link), thanking everyone on the show and their fellow fannibals for a fantastic time. These efforts have continued long after the last episode and still continue to present day.

Twitter Screenshot

Season 3 was also the time when Fannibals celebrated/discussed/being confused over Hannigram becoming canon after every episode.[13] It started with episode 3x09 when the popular fandom shipping term "Murder Husbands" was used in the show, and culminated in the buzz after the series finale. Reactions varied: from drunken celebration, to quiet satisfaction, to "alright, not my ship, but I see what you mean", to uneasyness with the concept, to accusations of fanservice and queer baiting (because according to Bryan Fuller, he explicitly chose to not let them do more than embrace, even when he had the chance). The buzz was great enough that slash shippers of other fandoms, like Supernatural noticed, and congratulated Hannigram shippers on becoming canon.[14]

Authors, Artists, and Fanworks

The fandom has many active and talented members producing fanworks. While some authors or artists are more prolific, it is hard to say that any particular artist, writer, or group predominates within the fandom.

Some of the more possibly prevalent fanworks include:


Some other authors who have contributed, but have usually written a large number of shorter works include: madnizilla (AO3), telerafairlyreie (AO3), slashyrogue (AO3), TigerPrawn(AO3), Watermellonsmellinfelon, and others (please add more).


Fan Interviews




  • Become the Beast an original song, written and performed by Karliene.
  • Bad Taste, an original song, written, performed, and vidded by Jack Darke.
  • Tonight's Special is... an original song, written and performed by Lucinda Holdsworth.
  • The Ravenstag is an original song, written and performed by Halia Meguid. She posted an audio version on her tumblr first,[15] then a video version on her tumblr and on YouTube.[16][17] A year later, NBC Hannibal tumblr announced that they teamed up with her and made a music video,[18] which was re-uploaded to the official NBC Hannibal YouTube channel in 2015.[19]
  • Other original Hannibal songs by Halia Meguid: Waltz for Lecter, Daughter, Forensic (Song for Beverly Katz)
  • Hannibal (NBC) Medley on the Harp by maggiejg. The artist also answered a few questions about this work on her tumblr.
  • "Hannibal The Musical": a jukebox musical (with especially written lyrics), created by Maëlibé Richardier and other Fannibals, and performed live on stage at Starfury's Red Dragon Con (RDC) 3 in London, February 2017. The audience included also the convention guests Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy, Demore Barnes, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams.



  • A Matter of Taste
  • Conjoined: A Hannibal Podcast
  • Eat the Rudecast - A Podcast about Hannibal Lecter
  • Hannibalism
  • Hannigramophone: A Hannibal Podcast
  • UNspoiled! Hannibal
  • Podcasts – Suits and Madness, a Hannibal Podcast
  • The Hannibal (Lecter) Podcast by HellisFull.net
  • The Hungry For Hannibal Podcast



Communities, Fan Engagement Networks, and Websites

There are a number of active communities, fan engagement blogs, and websites which contribute to Hannibal fandom and encourage fan engagement and participation.



Archive of Our Own




Special Events

  • Crawford Week: A one-week event created to celebrate creative works which featured Jack and Bella Crawford. All types of media were invited to be submitted. The event was focused on fun, appreciation, and soothing fans through the hiatus between season 2 and 3.
  • Spacedogs Appreciation week: A one-week event created to celebrate creative works which featured Nigel from the film Charlie Countryman (2013) and Adam Raki from the film Adam (2009), one of the crossover pairings prevalent in the Hannibal fandom. All types of media were invited to be submitted. The event was focused on appreciating the niche pairing and bringing its fans together to celebrate new content.
  • 13 Hour Devour: A twitter based event hosted by NBCHannibal and Official Production between season 1 and 2. This event was aimed at recruiting new viewers and re-engaging old ones to prepare for the new season. Fans marathoned the whole of the first season alongside the official social media sources. Live tweeting was encouraged and behind the scenes looks were revealed.
  • Hannibal Rewatch: An ongoing event first started by tumblr user existingcharactersdiehorribly to encourage fannibals to livetweet (using the hashtag #HannibalRewatch) and otherwise stay engaged during Hannibal's hiatus. From February 2015 through July 2015 the schedule includes watching all of the movies involving Hannibal Lecter in release order and then the movies that Bryan Fuller has said will be themese on season 3. After these movies are watched, there will be a rewatch of season 2 of Hannibal.
  • 26 Hour Devour: Similar to the 13 Hour Devour, but longer and fan grown. Organized by tumblr users Idontfindyouthatinteresting and The-Winnowing-Wind. It was a marvelous weekend that brought an incredible sense of unity to all those who participated. The aim was to invite new fans and re-inspire current ones during hiatus. The official DeLaurentiis Company twitter even came to join, stirring the excitement.

Response from Showrunners

The Hannibal cast and crew have been unique in openly embracing fandom and fandom tropes, as seen in their 2013 Comic Con panel,[20] which writer Bryan Fuller and producer Martha De Laurentis referred to as the 'Pannibal,' as well as the crew's use of fandom slang and tropes in their Hannibal party in Nerd HQ.[21] In summer of 2014, the main cast as well as show runner Bryan Fuller, attended Paley Fest in NYC. There fandom was referenced many times throughout the panel, including a discussion of Hannigram, tumblr, gifs, fanart, and flower crowns. Bryan even requested a picture with all those who wore flower crowns to the event, delighted by their overwhelming appearance.

The show is also unique in having a detailed and engaging official tumblr[22] that is beloved of many fannibals.

Hettienne Park talks about Racism, Sexism, and Hannibal: Eat the Rude. The post was inspired by the discussions and wank in fandom after her character Beverly Katz dies in episode 2x06. Fuller said later that he learned about the concept of manpain from fannibals, referring to this discussion. Food stylist Janice Poon posts and retweets meals cooked by fannibals on her blog Feeding Hannibal and on twitter, referring to them lovingly as Hannidinners. Brian Reitzell talked about his collaboration with Siouxsie Sioux, and he said that he wanted to give the fannibals a souvenir, a song, a melody, because he hadn't seen such an intense fandom before, and "I felt like I needed to give them something, and it felt right".[23] Loretta Ramos and Martha de Laurentiis posted a lot of behind the scenes, and answered a lot of fannibal questions over the years on twitter. The cannibal puns of @NBCHannibal are legendary; the exchange of pun (NBCHannibal) and groans (fannibals) has an almost ritualistic quality to it.[24][25] Tattle-Crime [10] is not officially associated with the show, but acts as a go-between for showrunners and fannibals. Over the years there have been four major contests hosted on tattle-crime.com, with signed original scripts or signed books as the prizes.

In episode 3x09, Will Graham uses the popular fandom ship name for Hannigram, "Murder Husbands".

Bryan Fuller said in an interview, that the show had been a fanfiction approach to the Harris source materials.[26]

After the last episode of season three, a lot of the cast and crew posted thank you's to the fannibals:

#HannibalDidThis, was an official contest for fans, hosted on the NBC Hannibal Tumblr account.

Official Sites and Sources

  • NBC Hannibal on Wikipedia
  • Bryan Fuller's twitter, used for Hannibal promos, behind the scenes looks, and meta
  • Food stylist Janice Poon's behind the scenes blog "Feeding Hannibal"
  • NBC Hannibal's official tumblr
  • official twitter of the DeLaurentiis Company, used for social media campaigns and information
  • Twitter account of the Hannibal Writers, used for sneak peaks, behind the scenes, and promotion
  • Tables Have Turned, the official tumblr of the DeLaurentiis Company for all things Hannibal.
  • Setting the Table, official production blog of Hannibal, discontinued after season 1.


  1. ^ 'Hannibal' Season 3: Bryan Fuller Teases New Characters & Season 2 Aftermath, Archived versionby Hannah Shaw-Williams, Screenrant, 27 May 2014.
  2. ^ 'Hannibal' Creator Has A 6-Season Plan For Show, Archived version by Kirsten Acuna, Business Insider, 20 October 2014.
  3. ^ For a discussion see The Daily Dot, June 4th, 2013
  4. ^ warpedchyld's Tumblr tag accessed February 15, 2015
  5. ^ [1], May 2013 Korean Hannibal Promo.
  6. ^ Watch the promo clip, posted by psychoanalyzeme on tumblr, May 12th, 2013, accessed September 7th, 2015
  7. ^ Gay cannibal fiction divides Hannibal fandom, The Daily Dot, April 15th, 2013, accessed September 3, 2015
  8. ^ interaction between thecarnalcannibal and croik on tumblr, April 10th, 2013 accessed September 3rd, 2015
  9. ^ BEER IS PEOPLE by meivocis on tmblr, May 24th, 2015 accessed September 7th, 2015
  10. ^ sausage is people, vorobey008 on tumblr, accessed September 3rd, 2015
  11. ^ [2] Fans Want to #SaveHannibal, Bryan Fuller Suggests Network Alternatives
  12. ^ [3] Tweet by Mel @Melstar17, August 29, 2015
  13. ^ [4] Twitter conversation posted on tumblr by potter-who-lock, August 2015
  14. ^ Not all interactions with other fandoms have been so peaceful, though: fannibals on SuperWhoLock.
  15. ^ The Ravenstag by Halia Meguid on tumblr, 04.06.2013, accessed September 14, 2015
  16. ^ "The Ravenstag by Halia Meguid on youtube, 09.08.2013".
  17. ^ There was also at least one cover version of the song posted on tumblr, by zana13. For further interactions, see #The Ravenstag on Helia Meguid's tumblr
  18. ^ "announcement of music video of "The Ravenstag" on NBC Hannibal tumblr, 21.03.2014". Archived from the original on 2017-09-08.
  19. ^ "Helia Meguid on tumblr, 04.05.2015". Archived from the original on 2016-06-01.
  20. ^ [5], Hannibal at the Comic Con "Pannibal"
  21. ^ [6], "Hannibal" showrunners cater to fandom at Comic Con
  22. ^ [7], NBC Hannibal official tumblr
  23. ^ [8] Entertainment Weekly, August 29, 2015
  24. ^ Oh, Chiy-noh she didn't, @NBCHannibal on tumblr, July 15, 2015 (accessed September 3, 2015)
  25. ^ Sometimes, the slice is right, @NBCHannibal on twitter, August 28, 2015 (accessed September 3rd, 2015)
  26. ^ [9] HitFix, August 29, 2015