Hannibal: Beginning to Bloom

  • Mat Daniel
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture book series (PSADVC)


This essay discusses Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal (2013–2015) in relation to the regressive representation of queerness in Thomas Harris’s series of novels. In both texts, Hannibal is a remorseless killer. However, Hannibal and Will’s tortured, queer relationship occupies the emotional and narrative center of Fuller’s series, a luxury not afforded to Buffalo Bill in Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal consistently refuses easy delineations of heroism and villainy, instead embracing its characters’ perverse complexities. Its ambiguity is embodied in its consistent reflection on transformation, or “becoming,” a process observable within the characters, the structure of the series, and in the adaptation itself. Fuller’s adaptation creates room for various permutations of queerness, within a narrative space that has previously marginalized or villainized queer figures.

Works Cited

  1. @BryanFuller. “Just Checked Twitter. Lots of Farewells. Are We Expecting to Die Imminently? If So, I Love You #FANNIBALFAMILY! See You on the Other Side!” Twitter, 9 Aug. 2017, 2:24 p.m.,
  2. Demme, Jonathan, director. The Silence of the Lambs. Stonghheart/Demme Production, 1991.Google Scholar
  3. Fuller, Bryan. Interview by Emma Dibdin. “Hannibal: Bryan Fuller Talks Season 4, Sexual Fluidity, and How Will Became Clarice Starling.” Digital Spy, Hearst Magazines UK, 6 Sep. 2015, Accessed 6 Aug. 2018.
  4. Fuller, Bryan, creator. Hannibal. Dino de Laurentiis Company / Living Dead Guy Productions/ ANX Original Productions / Gaumont International Television, 2013–2015.Google Scholar
  5. Fuller, Bryan. Interview by Jim Halterman. “Bryan Fuller Breaks Down Homoerotic Charge of Hannibal.Logo, 22 Apr. 2014, Accessed 6 Aug. 2018.
  6. Halberstam, Judith. The Queer Art of Failure. Duke UP, Durham, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. ———. “Skinflick: Posthuman Gender in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, vol. 9, no. 3 (27), 1991, pp. 36–53.Google Scholar
  8. Harris, Thomas. Hannibal. 1999. Arrow, 2009.Google Scholar
  9. ———. Hannibal Rising. 2006. Arrow Books, 2009.Google Scholar
  10. ———. Red Dragon. 1981. Arrow Books, 2009.Google Scholar
  11. ———. The Silence of the Lambs. 1989. Arrow Books, 2009.Google Scholar
  12. Sharrett, Christopher. Hollywood Homophobia, vol. 121. Society for the Advancement of Education, New York, 1992.Google Scholar
  13. Wong, Curtis. “Jonathan Demme ‘Applauded’ the LGBT Backlash Against Silence of the Lambs.Huffingtonpost, 22 Jul. 2014, Accessed 6 Aug. 2018.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mat Daniel
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations