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What's really holding Hannibal season 4 back

As of this writing, almost a full five years have passed since Hannibal aired its astonishingly brutal, beautifully fatalistic series final. And as of this writing, die hard fans of the series continue to feast on its singular blend of high brow drama and horror movie mayhem.

Whether you're a full-on "Fannibal" or not, it's easy to understand the passion Hannibal inspires, as watching even a single episode is to know beyond question that gloriously gothic imagery and unfathomable gore have never looked so good, or been quite so bloody entertaining. The ravenous hunger of Hannibal fandom has only grown with the arrival of all three seasons of the series on Netflix, not to mention the much-hyped virtual reunion between Hannibal's cast and creators recently organized by Nerdist

If there was one big take-away from that reunion, it was the clear desire by everyone involved to return for another season of cannibalistic shenanigans, and Hannibal fans fervently believe Netflix is the perfect platform to host a revival series. Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller may agree, but in a recent Collider interview, he was quick to point out that getting season 4 of Hannibal greenlit will require more than just an influx of Netflix cash, noting in particular that rights issues for the series are trickier than we know.

"Martha De Laurentiis controls the rights for the Hannibal [Lecter] character. [Gaumont International Television], who produced the Hannibal series that we worked on, has the rights to those characters and those situations. So if we want to continue telling the tales we were telling, Gaumont needs to be involved, Martha De Laurentiis needs to be involved. Then of course we need a network to platform us."

So, it seems even if Netflix is willing to foot the bill for season 4 of Hannibal, it still might be difficult to hash out ownership rights and compensation for the series as a whole.

A certain lack of interest may also be holding back season 4 of Hannibal

Per Fuller's comments to Collider, he's got a clear plan in place for Hannibal if season 4 ever materializes. "I've had conversations with Hugh [Dancy] and Mads [Mikkelsen] and the cast, in terms of like, 'This is what we would do if we were allowed to come back,'" he says. "There's some ideas that I'm very excited about that continue the strange trajectory of season 3."

Hannibal fans no doubt recall season 3 of the criminally underrated series was a legit barnburner that led to a truly unforgettable finale. The closing moments of that finale will no doubt make a season 4 revival a bit complicated, but Fuller clearly believes he's cracked the case. He's even implied that the new season might lead the narrative into the unholy heart of darkness that is author Robert Harris' iconic serial killer tale The Silence of the Lambs.

As exciting as that prospect is, a new season of Hannibal is still a big question mark, as Fuller claims there isn't a ton of interest in the revival from studios or streamers, saying, "I have not been approached. I've knocked on every door and rang every bell. Martha and I, every couple of years, pick up our bags and go door to door and see if anybody's interested in revisiting. The biggest hurdle is that we were somebody else's show. What I love about Netflix platforming the show now is there's an opportunity for it to be seen as a Netflix show and maybe that will reconfigure their appetite, so to speak. But nobody has said anything to me."

Fuller still believes the whole of Hollywood knows Team Hannibal is eager to get the ball rolling, stating bluntly "They know I'm ready." Now who's gonna step up and make season 4 happen, already?