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A Silence of the Lambs Sequel Series Is Happening … But Sadly It’s Not Hannibal Season Four

Hello, Clarice

Well, we have good news and bad news for fans of Thomas Harris characters. CBS has ordered a pilot, with a very likely series commitment, for Clarice—a sequel series to The Silence of the Lambs. No one has been cast yet, but the series will focus on Clarice Starling post-Silence … and won’t feature Hannibal Lecter.

This is an interesting development for a few reasons. The series itself sounds compelling enough: it will be set in 1993, after the events of Silence as we saw them in the 1991 film (or read them in 1988 book) and will focus on Clarice as she tracks down murderers and sexual predators while navigating life in Washington D.C.

The producers of the series, Alex Kurtzman of Star Trek fame and Jenny Lumet, shared the following hopes and vision of the series:

After more than 20 years of silence, we’re privileged to give voice to one of America’s most enduring heroes – Clarice Starling…Clarice’s bravery and complexity have always lit the way, even as her personal story remained in the dark. But hers is the very story we need today: her struggle, her resilience, her victory. Her time is now, and always.

This is a great description of Clarice and it’s completely true that she deserves her moment. The Silence of the Lambs was her story, Hannibal Lecter was just a small part of it—but the draw of that film (and all the Harris material) is the tension that comes from someone like Clarice or Will Graham facing off with someone like Hannibal: an evil, brilliant creature which they are both terrified of and enticed by. Take away the Lecter of it all and the story just becomes another procedural. Which may be what CBS wants anyway.

The unspoken bad news here, of course, is what this means for any sort of revival for the dearly departed Hannibal series. Hannibal wrapped up season three with an ambiguous but generally satisfying finale back in 2015, but fans have been hungry for more adventures of Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and murder husband Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) since they fells off a cliff together.

Series creator and producer Bryan Fuller wants it just as much as fans do too:

Fuller had also stated that if season four were to happen, they would like it to include some Silence of the Lambs material and Clarice Starling—which won’t happen now, as Fuller confirmed.

So, that’s something. Perhaps this new series will reignite the interest in the Harris universe and that will get us more Hannibal while we have a new, female-fronted series to enjoy. Sounds delicious.

(via: Deadline, Image: NBC)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.