"Hannibal" and "Clarice" Separate Shows Forever Linked
While there has been the fable of a Season 4 of the very much beloved Hannibal series developed by the massively talented and clever Bryan Fuller, there has always been hope. Hope that we will one day get our season 4 and get Hannibal’s take on The Silence of the Lambs. One of the most intriguing elements of the seminal crime novel is the protagonist Clarice Starling. Thanks to the recent CBS Series Clarice, there leaves a desire for a fresh and unique take on the character with now three unique adaptations of the character. With Bryan Fuller’s near-perfect record of adapting characters in exciting new ways, he has given very few clues on his take on Clarice. The idea he might be highly flexible in casting an African American actress in the role or seeking his one-time dream choice of actor Elliot Page, and more recently, Black Panther’s Letitia Wright.
This article isn’t about the casting, though. Knowing some names that have been thrown around is important in the sense of imagining what amounts to a longtime Fannibal’s Pitch for how the series can adapt the character. It has no reliance on the character’s race. Frankly, any wonderful actress could play Clarice and knock the role out of the park, though for my money, I’d love to see Empire’s Sierra McClain or Dope’s Kiersey Clemons for the part. No, this takes centers more on what the series could take from the novels and re-imagine the character in a way that hasn’t been thought of before.
One of the unique elements of the Series is Hannibal’s effect on those around him. He’s turned a many-a-good person into hypocrites or monsters. His most effective alteration came to how he changed the series protagonist Will Graham. With a singular incident ending the series phenomenal pilot episode, Will was broken and slowly unraveled that he could be driven to become a serial killer, just like Hannibal. It’s an idea that stuck, a classic character arc that breaks and rebuilds and breaks again a character taking audiences through a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil each week. With Clarice, we do have such inciting incidents that could drive her through the same dark path as Will Graham. Be it her father’s shooting or the infamous screaming of the lambs, Clarice is mentally vulnerable to such a fall that took over Will.
Turning Clarice into the same kind of societal shark sparks some interesting story ideas. Change elements, where instead of her accidentally passing Hannibal the paper clip that led to his freedom in the novel and the films, she could intentionally. The young West Virginia-raised F.B.I. Agent could now be a killer in the waiting who, by luck or skill, is given the task of interviewing Dr. Lecter, leading to discovering a mentor. She could fall in love with Hannibal, not because of his magnetic charm, but because this version understands her in a way no one else could and doesn’t judge or condemn her for it. When Lecter escapes and leaves for sunny skies, Clarice’s call out for Dr. Lecter (As it happened in the film) could now be a cry for a killer needing their mentor and fearing a world without guidance, a world that could see her caught and exposed.
In the Novel Hannibal, Clarice makes a mistake in taking a drug dealers’ life could be less an accident and more a killer taking advantage of an opportunity. The opportunity for this is limitless and helps such fantastical notions, like Clarice willingly joining Hannibal and in the act of love dining on Paul Krendler’s brain and bring it to a more realistic and reasonable portrayal.
It’s a concept that I feel would be well within the series’s frame of reality. Frankly, any imagined actress listed would be able to give an Oscar worthy performance with material like this, written by Fuller and his writing staff. This, admittingly, drastic alteration to Clarice’s character would feel like a massive juxtaposition to the character. The tone and style of the series would fit in the long run.