So MGM finally loosened their grasp on Clarice Starling and it wasn't to Bryan Fuller. Seriously guys? And they pretty much gave her up to become her own CBS procedural and it's all set in 1993. Wut? Are they gonna dress Clarice like Scully in season 1 of The X-Files? It did first air in 1993.
So Clarice Starling begat Dana Scully begat Clarice Starling? I'll admit I'm kinda digging the symmetry of that. It's just interesting that in order to steer clear of Hannibal the TV series with it's gothic, surreal, and bloody atmosphere they've decided to go in the complete opposite direction and maybe hit the 90s nostalgia hard. There's going to be comparisons and I think making it the anti-Hannibal and visually perhaps more of a Mindhunter type show could help quell some of the comparisons.
I am curious about how they're gonna navigate the rights issues. Ardelia and her unadulterated awesomeness will absolutely be a character. MGM has the rights to her. They can also lean in heavily into the Buffalo Bill case for backstory because all that's in the novel. I do wonder if they're just going to completely eliminate characters like Hannibal Lecter and Jack Crawford or change their names. For a procedural type show they really don't need to be mentioned much if at all.
In the novel Clarice wanted to work for Jack Crawford in Behavioral Sciences. Are they gonna get rid of Jack completely and install someone else as the head of the BSU? I haven't read Hannibal the novel so I don't know what kind of interaction Clarice and Jack had after she graduated Quantico but I think it was minimal. They could create an original character and have he or she be the one to bring Clarice into the Buffalo Bill case. If they go that route, I'm hoping for a female head to the BSU.
One of the things that caught my eye was how Clarice would be "navigating the high stakes political world of Washington, D.C." In a lot of ways Clarice ended becoming a victim of political jockeying in the boys' club at the F.B.I. People like Paul Krendler really screwed her over. He made constant sexual overtures to her and when she turned him down, he lashed out. And oh, Paul Krendler is one of the characters MGM has the rights to, so I'm betting that he or people like him are going to make it into the series.
Another group of characters that they could have access to are the Vergers. They appeared in the Hannibal novel and Thomas Harris kept the rights to that book. Could we be getting a new Mason and Margot?
And of course the epicurean elephant in the room, Hannibal Lecter, is the big character MGM does not have the rights to, therefore he cannot be mentioned by name. How are they gonna dance around the subject of Hannibal Lecter? I imagine that Hannibal Lecter cast a very big shadow in Clarice Starling's life, even if he wasn't an every day presence. He would have to come up, wouldn't he? It's part of the appeal of doing an IP that is that well known. People would be on the look out for the little pop culture winks. It was certainly part of the fun of Hannibal.
Will Hannibal Lecter become "He Who Must Not Be Named" or will they go the Miriam Lass route that Hannibal the TV show did? Will they create a character that is Hannibal Lecter on paper but not in name? Maybe. I don't think you can sweep a character like that under the rug. You can get people to tune in because Clarice is an interesting character but the property as a whole is a big part of the selling point as well. You can't strip out these hallmarks of the property and expect people to stick around without something compelling to keep them watching. If all these known characters are no shows, what will differentiate Clarice from any other CBS procedural. Perhaps they should take a page from the Bryan Fuller playbook and gender flip Hannibal. Uzo Aduba did a downright chilling rendition of Hannibal's "fava beans and a nice chianti" monologue. Is she available?
Clarice Starling is an iconic character and I get MGM not wanting to play ball with Bryan and Martha de Laurentiis. They might have perceived that she'd end up playing second fiddle to Hannibal and Will and the extraness that is their relationship and would have preferred to work with a project that would have had her front and center. MGM was simply not interested in sharing rights. According to Bryan Fuller, De Laurentiis Company repeatedly offered them the use of Hannibal Lecter if they would share Clarice Starling. They were always told no.
I say put Clarice on CBS All Access. Yes, it'll have a small audience but I feel the show has a better chance of not being a cookie cutter CBS procedural there. Heck, NBC wanted Hannibal to be a procedural too. It's why season 1 was so heavy on the murder tableau of the week. Have Clarice really look into the struggles of a woman in a male dominated profession and the institutional sexism that exists. And lastly, give the show a distinct visual look. Hannibal was a feast for the senses. It was visually lush, the score was unsettling, and the dialogue was purposely purple. If Clarice looks generic it will suffer in the comparisons but if it does it's own thing, it will be better for it.
It's all just so frustrating. It's 2020 and still no news about Hannibal season 4. It's now been off the air longer than it aired. Both Clarice and Hannibal can certainly exist independently of each other. However, I do think the chance of MGM cooperating with Bryan and Martha to bring Clarice to Hannibal is pretty much non existent. Especially, if Clarice were to gender flip Hannibal Lecter then they'll never need the rights for him from Martha. And to add insult to injury, they'll probably film in Hannibal's old stomping grounds of Toronto.
I'm just sad. I want my show back.