Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller revealed that fans of Thomas Harris' books have a lot to look forward to in Season 3 — a handful of characters will follow Mason Verger by leaping from page to screen.
Speaking at San Diego Comic-Con on July 24, Fuller said the third season of Hannibal will introduce Inspector Pazzi (from 1999's Hannibal) who enters in Episode 2; Lady Murasaki (Lecter's Japanese aunt, with whom he develops a quasi-romantic relationship) from 2006's Hannibal Rising is introduced in Episode 3; and Francis Dolarhyde, the killer in Red Dragon, takes center stage in Episode 8, kicking off a major new storyline for the NBC drama that will draw heavily from the 1981 book.
The Dolarhyde arc would carry through to the end of Season 3. Then — if NBC opts to pick up another season — Silence of the Lambs would provide the basis for Season 4, paving the way for the NBC drama to introduce Clarice Starling!
Or, at least, that's Fuller's hope.
Long story short: MGM owns the rights to the character of FBI Agent Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster in the feature film, for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award) and hasn't granted Fuller permission to use the character... yet.
Fuller is planning a "full court press" on MGM in order to get his hands on Clarice — but should that plan fail, Fuller has a simple solution: "I'll introduce 'Schmarice Schmarling.'"