There was a time when Hannibal Lecter was a properly chilling less-is-more villain with minimal screentime and maximum impact. Gradually though, he's become everyone's favourite mischievous uncle, and we'll get to spend even more time with him when Gaumont's Hannibal series arrives on TV.
Hannibal is an inaugural project for the new LA-based outpost of the French film studio, and will be executive produced by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, and Martha De Laurentiis, who was behind the most recent three Lecter films, Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising. It's unclear whether original author Thomas Harris is involved.
The premise revolves around the back story discussed in Red Dragon (film and book) and Manhunter: the early relationship between psychiatrist Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham, who can see inside the heads of serial killers. Quite how this will play out week-by-week remains to be seen. Are we looking at one story per season? Or individual stories about Lecter killing sprees and Graham on his trail? Or individual stories about Graham on cases, visiting Lecter for advice occasionally? Or a mismatched buddies double act, where Howlin' Mad Hannibal must be regularly sprung from the Baltimore State Hospital for another crazy adventure?
Whatever, there are no showrunners or writers attached so far, and no cast yet chosen to fill the shoes previously inhabited by Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, William Peterson and Edward Norton. We'll keep you posted, and in the meantime, give us your suggestions for Hannibal's TV formula (sponsored by Chianti and Napolina) in the comments below.