Hannibal EP Talks Bloody Finale: Who's Dead, Which Brutal Scene Got Moved, Why [Spoiler] Boarded That Plane

Hannibal - Season 2

The spectacularly violent Season 2 finale of NBC’s Hannibal was something of an inevitability, says executive producer Bryan Fuller.

“I felt like it was a fated conclusion to the story that we have been telling: Inasmuch as we were trying to garner sympathy for the devil, you also have to respect the devil — or else you’re going to end up gutted on the floor,” says Fuller.

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And thus, Friday night’s installment ended with Alana Bloom being hurled out a second story window by a resurrected Abigail Hobbs; the titular Dr. Lecter driving a curved knife into Will’s abdomen, then slashing Abigail’s throat as if she were a sacrificial lamb; and Jack, whose neck wound had been foretold via flash-forward in the Season 2 premiere, bleeding so profusely that gore dripped into the basement below.

If those characters’ uncertain (but certainly precarious) fates weren’t enough, the hour wrapped with a post-closing credits scene featuring Hannibal sipping champagne on an airplane alongside his enigmatic therapist Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson).

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TVLine caught up with Fuller to explore Bedelia’s motivations, Will’s conflicted loyalties and a number of last-minute finale changes (including a scene initially intended for Episode 7, plus a tweak to the airplane passenger list):

TVLINE | In Episode 12, Bedelia Du Maurier tells Jack, “If you think you’re about to catch Hannibal, that’s because he wants you to think that.” But it became clear in the finale that Hannibal was actually so enamored of Will, or felt so connected to him, that he’d truly let his guard down.
Absolutely. In that moment when Bedelia’s saying that, she’s working off the Hannibal that she knows. So, from her point of view, it’s wise not to trust a damn thing about this man. And yet, [Hannibal] was seduced by humanity in a true form, [by] Will Graham. That kind of seduction surprises Hannibal, and it surprises him that he allowed it. And that’s why his response [to Will's disloyalty] was so brutal and spiteful and devastating.

TVLINE | So, if Hannibal hadn’t gotten the whiff of Freddie Lounds on Will’s skin, would he have wound up behind bars?
If Will had stayed true to his alliance with Jack Crawford, absolutely. If Hannibal hadn’t gotten the whiff, and if Kade Prurnell hadn’t shut down [Jack's] operation, they would’ve had Hannibal Lecter.

TVLINE | When Will saw the FBI cars coming to arrest him, and he made that call to Hannibal and said “They know,” what was his motivation?
Well, there are several possible reasons, and we won’t know exactly which one it was until Season 3. But I think Will is feeling very conflicted about everything concerning Hannibal Lecter. And so, in that moment, he could have been calling Hannibal Lecter for one of two reasons: One was to warn him to get out of dodge, so his partner in crime could escape. Two was he wanted Hannibal Lecter to leave before Jack Crawford arrived, because he feared for Jack Crawford’s safety. We very intentionally wanted Will’s actions to be open to interpretation.

Hannibal - Season 2TVLINE | The scene of Alana falling out the window was so strangely beautiful — despite the fact that it featured one of the show’s central characters possibly plummeting to her death.
That scene was shot much earlier in the season, and was originally going to open Episode 7, reminding the audience what we were heading for. We knew [from the season premiere] what was going to happen to Jack Crawford, but here comes Alana Bloom into the scenario, and then, you know, we’d say “six weeks earlier…” As we got into Episode 7, though, it felt like we were so much in the Miriam Lass world, and so intrinsically tied into Dr. Chilton’s story and Will Graham’s release, [the scene of Alana's fall] felt out of place. And so, I just said, “Screw it, let’s save it for the finale.”

TVLINE | I felt like you could’ve taken a frame-grab of any moment of her fall and it would’ve looked like artwork.
Well, that’s the goal of everything on this show, particularly in the second season as we’ve moved into this quasi-surreal state of being, and embraced the dream logic of Will Graham’s nightmare a little more tightly. Everything has to have that dream-like quality.

TVLINE | So, let’s talk about the final twist. We see Hannibal leave the scene of his carnage, everything fades to black, and then this piano music begins to percolate and we see an airplane with Hannibal and Bedelia. Why go to the credits first and risk having some viewers miss the subsequent scene? Also: What the heck is Bedelia doing on the plane? Is there any chance she’s his captive?
Well, we wanted separation between the finality of Hannibal Lecter walking out to the rain, having it wash over him, and cleanse him, and leaving this experience behind — an experience that has been beautiful but also demonstrative of his own weakness. He’s shedding it all. And we wanted that fade to black on the stag, the stag heaving its last breath, to be emblematic that this is the end of this chapter of the Hannibal/Will Graham relationship. The stag was symbolic of Hannibal and Will, and Will’s attraction to Hannibal, because it first showed up after he was exposed to Hannibal’s murder scene, with the raven and the severed stag head and the girl impaled on the antlers.

The stag had to heave a sigh, go to black. This is the end of Season 2, and essentially, after credits, that scene on the airplane is the first scene of Season 3. And the fun thing about the Season 3 opener is that we’re going to get into the specifics of exactly why Bedelia is in that chair, how she came to be in that chair, how it was actually an intriguing, smart decision for her, as opposed to Hannibal Lecter hijacking her and kidnapping her. I think she is absolutely where she has chosen to be, and how she made that choice is the hinge of Episode 1, Season 3.

TVLINE | Interesting! When Will and Jack were interrogating Bedelia in Season 2, Episode 12, I felt like she hinted at the attraction for her — at least as a therapist — to understanding Hannibal’s mind. So, I guess there was a bit of a payoff of that in the airplance scene.
Right, exactly. All those scenes were shot in the same day. [Bedelia's] two interrogation scenes [in Episode 12] and the airplane scene [in Episode 13] were all shot in the same six-hour period that we were able to get Gillian between wrapping Crisis on Saturday morning and starting The Fall on Monday. I mean, she wrapped Crisis at 4am, got on the plane at 9am from Chicago, landed in Toronto at 10am, was in makeup by 11am and on stage by noon, then out by 6pm on her way back to the airport to catch a flight to Ireland to land first thing Sunday morning to get fitted for her wardrobe to shoot The Fall on Monday.

TVLINE  That’s crazy.
It’s demonstrative of Gillian’s dedication to the show, and it was so nearly not going to happen. Gillian and I were communicating very closely throughout the season to find windows in her schedule that would allow us to continue the story. And Gillian is the one who navigated all of the different studios, and was like, “I’d really like to do this.” So, she was wonderful about it, and I can’t sing her praises enough — not only as an actress, but as somebody who can get s–t done.

TVLINE | Did you always envision the final scene of Season 2 would be the airplane moment with Bedelia and Hannibal? Did you have to have a second option in case her availability wasn’t what you wanted it to be?
Well, the [original] plan was to have Abigail on the plane with Hannibal. But then we got into the story and the emotional content of Will’s betrayal of Hannibal. Knowing Hannibal had worked very hard to create this alternate reality where Abigail lived, and where [all three] go on as a family in the shadow of horrible, horrible deeds, it felt like for Hannibal, after this betrayal, he would not be able to go on with Abigail. She was so symbolic of his relationship with Will. So, Hannibal was clearing the table. He was burning the village down. He was leaving nothing behind. He was walking away pure, and unfortunately, Abigail was a Will association for him, and was too painful to carry with him. So, it made sense for him to do what he did to Abigail in that moment, to punish Will. And then Bedelia felt like she had a story with Hannibal Lecter that was yet to be told, and it was a story of equals in some sense. Because I do believe that Bedelia is perhaps the smartest person on the show, and certainly enough to hold her wits against Hannibal Lecter. And I want to continue exploring what that’s like for Hannibal.

Hannibal - Season 2TVLINE | In an ideal world, will Gillian Anderson be a series regular for Season 3? And given that we haven’t seen this much bloodshed in a finale since maybe Dynasty’s Moldavian massacre, do you have a sense of who else will and won’t be back next year? 
Not everybody walks out of Hannibal’s house alive, and I would love, love, love for Gillian Anderson to be a regular in Season 3, but that is all yet to be negotiated. In my mind, I would love to work with Gillian on everything. So, I’m hoping that she can be a big part of next year.

TVLINE | Is there anyone who’s definitely dead? To my eyes, Abigail had lost so much blood that she can’t possibly survive.
Well, don’t rule Abigail out. Don’t rule out anybody for dying, and don’t rule out anybody for living.

TVLINE | But the sheer amount of blood — all that spurting — yikes!
Crazy, crazy. I would be curious to ask a doctor, “If your throat’s been cut once, and you lost a lot of blood but you survived it, does your body adapt? Like, ‘Okay, I can lose a little bit more blood next time [my throat is slit]?’” [Laughs] We’ll have to figure that out.

TVLINE | Jack was also in pretty bad shape — all that blood flowing down the front of his shirt.
Yeah, and it was spilling underneath the floorboards into Hannibal’s basement. It was neat to see his blood flowing down to where Beverly Katz lost her life.

TVLINE So let’s look ahead to Season 3. Cynthia Nixon’s character had actually put out a warrant out for Will and Jack’s arrests. Can Will go back to working with the FBI in the wake of that? Or does the fact that Hannibal really is a deranged killer get them out of that pickle?
Well, it certainly helps getting the pickle at least sliced and relished, but Will is going to have all sorts of unexpected allies in Season 3, some who we’ve met, some who we’ve not met. And he probably shouldn’t trust any of them.

TVLINE | What if NBC had not renewed Hannibal for Season 3: Would you have been happy with the Season 2 finale as a series finale?
Yeah, actually, in a way, very much so. There’s something so poetic about it, because you leave the audience with the power of interpretation. At the moment we left all of these characters, they were still alive. So, you can live in that moment and choose your own story as it were, but the follow-through and satisfaction for me would be seeing Hannibal Lecter walk out cleansed, baptized, and rebirthed, in the way that he did. I would have held my head high, as far as ending the [series] on such a bold note.

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60 Comments
  1. alistaircrane says:

    Pretty sure Jack is dead, since Laurence Fishburne has a new show, Black-ish, coming this fall.

    • Tom says:

      Or he could be in an off-screen coma for a good portion of the season, his bed next to Bella’s. I can imagine Fuller giving us something heartbreaking in that respect… maybe both husband and wife pass away together, or Bella tragically dies before Jack regains consciousness.

    • DL says:

      Believe he’s only a guest star, not a regular on that show.

    • Drew Melbourne says:

      He’s an Executive Producer but not a regular on that show.

    • Diz says:

      That show has cancelled written all over it after 2 episodes. I wouldn’t put much stock into him not being able to appear in Hannibal because of Blackish.

    • Pretty sure he would be contracted to stay with Hannibal. If the writers are set on him returning, that is. No doubt Fishburne also gets to have a conversation with Fuller et al on what he personally wants to do.

    • Taelor Rye says:

      the original reports for Black-ish stated that that role was second to his role in Hannibal, pending renewal

  2. R.O.B. says:

    Well done, Bryan Fuller and the entire cast and crew of Hannibal. Your show is high art. I am doing everything I can to get people to watch this show, which deserves many more seasons. NBC should be looking at this like a rare jewel that will appreciate with time, and should immediately give you at least two seasons to plot your next ingenious storyline. Maybe it isn’t pulling the numbers now, but it is a thing of beauty and something to display with pride. “I can’t believe this is OURS,” is what the NBC execs should be saying to themselves. This is the kind of production and acting where one wishes academy awards were available to TV shows. When the audience does catch on – and they will, once season 2 makes its way onto Netflix – NBC will reap the rewards. Take your cue from the first two seasons of Hannibal, NBC – patience will be rewarded.

  3. WIF says:

    He just basically said Will is alive. As he should be, of course.

  4. JB says:

    Did I miss the discussion of the homoeroticism? You indicate it was discussed but it doesn’t appear to be. He previously said it wasn’t intentional, which I find hard to believe.

    • R.O.B. says:

      I prefer it was not homoerotic. I saw it more as a brotherly bond, something deep and rare, but not sexual. Hannibal is inhuman, a sociopath – yet somehow Will Graham was able to connect with him on a deep human level. This made the season-ending bloodbath all the more poignant. We get betrayed all the time by this or that person, but getting betrayed by the rare person who you have opened yourself up to is something entirely different. Will and Hannibal taking their relationship to a physical place would have killed that, no pun intended.

      • It has been said out loud that the Chesapeake Ripper (Hannibal) does not exhibit the typical behavior of a sociopath. Hannibal has feelings and humanity within him in spite of his murderous dark side. That’s what makes him such an fascinating character.

        Also, you might not wanna check out some of the Fannibals’ DeviantArt if you don’t want to see any Hannigram action. Or maybe you do, nothin wrong with that.

        • jag says:

          Nothing wrong with the concept of homo-eroticism but with the concept of Hannibal the story in my opinion would grow in the direction of finding a nitch. Hannibal is such a unique and rare persona that the challenge of finding another like him is next to impossible. The facade of the plot heavily relies on the human nature to belong and be accepted. I do also believe that Hannibal is at some level a human with emotional needs. Psychopath in my own understanding has emotions but that emotion is greatly emphasized towards the persons own goals and aspiration to the point of not caring for the things around him. Hannibal’s emotional connection with Will is based on the need to be understood and the goal to find or in this case make someone like him.

  5. Fabe says:

    I really hope Caroline Dhavernas will be back next year! There’s something transfixing about her. The way they filmed her fall was so spellbinding! I love that this show puts so much care into the cinematography!

  6. JohnDoe88 says:

    Best show on TV right now in my opinion.

  7. palomaplum says:

    I love the show but there are some things…

    Alana. She’s so stupid throughout the whole series. Anyone tells her anything, she believes it except for the truth.

    And honestly, Jack. Isn’t it suspicious that you mention someone to Hannibal or someone meets Hannibal and they end up dead in a freakin’ creepy way?

    And those dinner conversations! It’s like they’re throwing the opening and ending quotes from Criminal Minds at each other! No “how was last night’s game?” or “have you seen that documentary about black holes,”

  8. Jason Paul says:

    Would love more Bedelia in S3.

  9. Tav says:

    That finale was insane (in the best way)! Could not believe the number of people pulled into the fray, but I guess when dealing with Hannibal Lecter no one is safe from carnage.
    Can’t wait for season 3 and exploring the relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia; Gillian Anderson MUST be a season regular.

    • John says:

      Gilians main show Crisis has been canceled so fingers crossed. Hopefully she can navigate between Hannibal and the falls. She’s a wonderful actress and easy on the yes.

  10. caramel says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Season 2. Kudos to producers, writers, actors, etc. I anticipate season 3.

  11. wangxiuming says:

    If the series had ended at the season 2 finale, I think my head might’ve exploded.

    HANNIBAL WHAT HAVE YOU DONE.

  12. Babybop says:

    Bryan Fuller is too much… All of his shows are just perfection. It’s like it’s not even TV, it’s some weird form of real life. My dad and I have even had many lengthy phone conversations about where Will’s loyalties lie and who should live and why. Personally, I hope Alana lives (mostly because I just binged Wonderfalls and Caroline Dhavernas was SO good in it) but I trust Brian with the plot going forward. It’s just too good.

    • Sarge says:

      I agree that the show is masterful in terms of casting, storyline, art/food/music direction, suspense, horror, character development, etc. It really has “measured up” to the movies where Anthony Hopkins made Hannibal Lecter legendary. The only small disappointment I have is that it didn’t follow the original stories written by Thomas Harris. If they had been able to weave the TV series in with the books and movies, I would say the TV series is a stroke of genius. Oh well. It’s still freaking awesome! P.S.: My predictions are: Will Graham, still alive. Alana Bloom, still alive but possibly paralyzed from the fall. Jack Crawford, barely hanging on but still alive. Abigail Hobbs, may live long enough to say something to Will Graham but I don’t see her surviving.

  13. Frank says:

    Crap show. Started out well but totally lost its way. Season 2 was rubbish so will not be watching season 3. I plan to re watch the movies at least they were good.

  14. That was an incredible Season finale, like not the very few i’ve seen.

  15. Sabrina says:

    Great interview. Looking forward to season 3.

  16. JEANNEB says:

    im obsessed with hannibal. 2nd and 3rd to last episodes this season were not my favorite but before that i loved and the finale i loved AND season one i loved so id say you cant win em all and BRING ON SEASON 3!

  17. Isabelle says:

    That last set of scenes was so devastatingly, breathtakingly gorgeous–our version of the Red Wedding. I hope Hannibal gets some serious Emmy recognition this year!!!

  18. Kristi says:

    It was “neat” to see his blood flowing into the basement? Really?? Are we that desensitized to violence?

  19. Diggy says:

    It’s an absolute thrill to watch this show each week. So deep & enthralling from both an emotional & a psychological point of view yet so visceral & visually stunning at the same time. It’s as thoroughly rich & well prepared as each meal we’ve seen on Dr. Lecter’s table. The most shocking thing about the show Hannibal is not it’s content but that it’s broadcast on a network!

  20. Kari says:

    I absolutely love this show. However, I did find a few errors ( maybe explainable?) in the season finale. The FBI came to Will’s house to arrest him, what happened to them for the arrest of Hannibal? They never showed.
    Alana made a call to police claiming shots fired, they never showed up either.
    Will called 911 when he found Alana, they never showed up either.

  21. Mikael says:

    Hannibal is such an amazing show. It’s like art! I love the tone and the cinematography. The characters are so well-acted. I’m not a huge fan of Alana since she was sympathetic to Will, then believed he was a killer and slept with Hannibal, then believed Hannibal was the killer. Too much flip-flopping. I can’t wait for Season 3! I hope Bedelia can come back.

  22. jm says:

    Awful finale. Ludicrous.

  23. Fannibal/Sherlockian/Whovian/Fangirl says:

    Oh, my goodness, can you just IMAGINE if the show WASN’T renewed, and we were left with THAT as a FINALE?!?! It would be Sherlock Season 2 ALL OVER AGAIN, BUT WITH NO CHANCE OF CLOSURE. OMG.

  24. Nanny says:

    Bravo for such an intelligent, compelling tv series and Outstanding cast!!! SO glad it will continue!!!

  25. BriDeSi says:

    Phenomenal series with stellar acting by all characters involved.
    Will will most definitely survive as the series is based off of Red Dragon with other elements being involved in future seasons. In the book, Hannibal essentially guts Will which is why Will has trouble walking in the future (with a limp).
    I believe that Abigail and Jack will live. Abigail has to fill Will in on how they faked her death and where she was kept all that time. I think its over for Alana Bloom though. She sealed her fate when she started sleeping with the enemy. She almost the exact opposite of Bedelia in that Bedelia was manipulated but managed to open her eyes and see Hannibal for the monster he truly was, whereas Alana refused to see what was right in front of her. I, for one, would not be upset if her character was killed off, as it will drive Will to want to catch Hannibal even more. Plus…that’s what you get for deserting your boy Will

    Cant wait til Season 3

    • Mari says:

      Wouldn’t it be interesting to see her agonize over her poor decisions and flawed judgements? How foolish she’ll appear describing the intimacies of her Hannibal relationship! Then she can die!

  26. Zack says:

    Hi guyz,i am Isaac from Kenya n a big fan of the hannibal series. Ever since i watched the first pilot episode of season one,i have to say i realy got hooked to it. The thrills n story line flow gives me such adrenaline,its as if i’m witnessing the events taking place right before me… marvelous work to the cast n producers of this show and thank you NBC for making it happen…Dr. Hannibal you are the best character ever in my life time(though u give me the chills everytime i see u on screen). But i wouldnt mind enjoying ur dish(vegetables ofcos,cnt trust u with meat :). Sucks that i’ll have to wait till nxt year but i just Cant wait for season three. Cheerz…

  27. Rebel says:

    That wouldn’t make any sense. Jack Crawford is an element all the way to where The Silence of the Lambs starts…maybe even later (I don’t remember). We already know Jack Crawford is going to survive otherwise it wouldn’t make sense with the movies.

  28. ivi says:

    i think the best part of the show and the finale in general is that there is an odd sense of beauty in all the sick scenes. it’s horrible and you feel sick to your stomach but you can’t take your eyes of and stop thinking. such beauty. i was intensly against having someone other then the original actor to play hannibal. but i feel like mads really did give the character justice.
    lets just cross our fingers and hope for a long lasting series. not too long but long enough so we can feel satisfaction.
    bring on season 3 <3

  29. Katy S. says:

    Hannibal is one of my favorite 3 TV shows of all time. The movie-quality acting, cinematography, the spell-bindng dialogue, the “bromance” between Hannibal and Will, the romance between Alana and Will, the father fantasy between Will and Abigail…I’m not sure I’ll be as involved though if Alana dies, if I’ll have that much to connect to…without the romance, it’s ALL dark…I do have to watch some parts with my eyes closed, like the Verger face-eating scene…The episode that wasn’t aired I bought on Itunes…I’m glad it wasn’t aired, it’s not really up to the same standard as the other episodes for some reason I can’t put my finger on…Anyway, it’s a great show, and i’m thrilled it’s coming back for S3!

  30. Beverly says:

    Awesome show. Has everything in it. Suspense. Murder. Love. Laughter. Dr show. Law show. I tell everyone to watch it

  31. Beverly says:

    Awesome show. Has everything in it. Murder suspense. Dark humor. Dr. Analogy law. I tell everybody about show to watch it

  32. Paola says:

    hey! I’m Paola from Chile. Here we watch the show through cable tv and…. God Thanks for it!!!!
    I could not believe what was witnessing, i mean….it was AMAZING.
    I love the characters, the scenarios, I love Gillian….. And Hannibal post mortem with mr. Thomson is just hilarious.

  33. Eva says:

    I am of the view that Bedelia is manipulating Hannibal and the FBI agents. She is his teacher. She is the origin of Hannibal. How about this twist of the story !! He is copying her fabulous style since he is deeply in love with her. Bedelia is the origin. She is the key. Hannibal, such a gentleman, does not offer her a drink in the plane as she is so superior, she is his master.
    Eva Zanuy

  34. jemmaswales says:

    will must live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Braeden says:

    I hope that they keep abigail alive because in a way it would be almost pointless to bring back such a large character to wills life and then kill her. Yet it makes so much sense to bring her back for just this reason the fact that will gave everything to help save her and then lays there helpless as she dies it also cuts off the relationship between will and hannibal. Killing her ends the two together

  36. aqilaqamar says:

    Reblogged this on aevumus ♠ and commented:
    I want to see Hannibal Season 4 soon. I really want someone intellectually, emotionally and even spiritually defeat Hannibal Lector. It would be fun to watch Hannibal be a hot mess XD

  37. Will obviously survives, but he’ll take a few episodes to heal. I suspect Jack will survive, but will probably be in hospital or otherwise absent for most of season 3 with Prurnell taking over his job until season 4. I hope Abigail lives so that looking after her gives Will a reason to go on. He can become her ‘therapist’ to mirror Hannibal and Will, and help untangle everything that Hannibal has been doing to her since season 1 – brainwashing etc. Then I suspect she’ll leave for a while and maybe turn up again in a later season. Alana is dead, or will die of her injuries at the beginning of season 3. She has served her purpose in the show and I wouldn’t be surprised if Molly shows up soon, so Will doesn’t need Alana as a potential love interest anymore.

  38. Jerry Boatright says:

    Totally awesome show.
    Like the books butmich more behind the books backstory not in the books
    Very Gorey which is what makes it so addictive.Hope its on for a few more seasons.

  39. Joe verchot says:

    I am completely intrigued by this series and up until now wasn’t sure if season two was the end of it all. I a have watched every episode up until now more than once and look very much forward to season three keep up the excellent work. Thank you for the incredible entertainment!

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