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Things We Saw Today: The New Silence of the Lambs Show Clarice Can’t Even Mention Hannibal Lecter

The Silence of the Lambs has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it at what was most definitely too young an age, so I’ve been looking forward to CBS’ upcoming show Clarice with cautious excitement.

For the unaware, The Silence of the Lambs is the story of Clarice Starling, a young FBI academy cadet who is sent to obtain the cooperation of serial killer-cannibal Hannibal Lector in helping them find an active killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice is a sequel, picking up one year after the end of the original film/novel and focusing on Clarice Starling’s time at the FBI academy.

But according to Entertainment Weekly, not only will the show not be featuring Hannibal–who (spoiler) escaped at the end of the movie and would still be at large at the start of this series–the show can’t even mention his name.

As it turns out, the characters in Thomas Harris’ novels are “bewilderingly” split up between two studios, MGM and the Dino De Laurentiis Company. (It’s a real Sony/Disney MCU situation, I guess.)

You never heard Clarice or Buffalo Bill or any number of other characters mentioned on NBC’s Hannibal because they couldn’t mention them. Clarice, on the other hand, legally won’t be able to say the H-word.

“I’m still trying to understand how the rights are divided,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman tole EW. “But it’s been quite liberating because we have no interest in writing about Hannibal — not because we didn’t love the films and the show, but because it was done so well by so many people that it didn’t feel fresh for us.”

I actually don’t mind the idea of the show not being able to focus on Hannibal–I like the idea of this being Clarice’s show. But the events of The Silence of the Lambs would have been incredibly traumatizing for that character and it seems strange that she won’t be able to talk about it. Of course, she can still talk about Buffalo Bill, but again, the series starts just one year out from that harrowing experience and I hope that a legal issue doesn’t keep the show from fully acknowledging that trauma.

That EW article has some more interesting tidbits about the show, including the lack of a traditional serial killer, the planned deconstruction of the white gaze, and what happened to Buffalo Bill’s dog. (via Entertainment Weekly)

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  • It’s time for the TARDIS team to be all women. (via Nerdist)
  • Barack Obama shared his 2020 reading list. How many of these have you read? (via LitHub)
  • Twitter, what are you doing, part one million.

  • This is so exciting!!!

  • The Nancy Meyers family internet drama, explained. (via Pajiba)
  • WHAT. ARE. THESE. GLASSES??? (via Go Fug Yourself)

It’s Friday!!! Go out and do some safe, socially distanced frolicking.

(image: Brooke Palmer/CBS)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.