Season two ended on a cliffhanger. Will Graham, Abigail Hobbs, Alana Bloom, and Jack Crawford all injured, potentially fatally, at Haus Hannibal, while Dr. Lecter saunters off into the sunset with Bedelia Du Maurier. Bryan Fuller has said that at least one of those people is permanently and irrevocably dead.
We must remember, though, that Fuller has said that Abigail Hobbs was for sure, really, for realz dead at the end of season one and that turned out to be a Big Fat Lie. Do not trust the word of God, in this case, because he is tricksy and will lie to preserve plot developments. (Related: nobody is dead until you have seen their body, or at least an identifiable portion which they cannot live without- a head, for example.)
I posit that the most likely dead of those four is Abigail- we knew Will wasn't going to die, and we've seen him in the trailers, as have we seen Alana and Abigail. I can't remember if Jack Crawford has appeared in any of the trailers, but I know that Fishburne has given interviews and I'm pretty sure he's up in Toronto filming, like, as we speak. (As it were.)
(I wish I could find the trailer that I saw Abigail in, but it doesn't matter, because I'm pretty sure she was from Will Graham's mind palace. I'm willing to postulate that Abigail is hella dead, if anybody is.)
It seems that they are drawing strongly from elements of the book, Hannibal, for this season, as well as using Francis Dolarhyde's plotline from Red Dragon. This is a great choice for a lot of reasons.
Reason the first- Du Maurier is filling in some of Clarice Starling's role from the book, Hannibal. This is ideal because, while I still wish that they could get Starling into the series, the way that Hannibal gets her into his life is decidedly icky. So, in the first place, Du Maurier and Hannibal are playing out the post-credits sequence of that book (as it were) where Starling and Lecter run off to Brazil together. But Du Maurier does it with eyes wide open- she knows what kind of a monster Lecter is, or at least can guess. She goes for her own reasons. In the second place, Du Maurier has the kind of internal strength we expect from Starling. She can look the monster in the eye and still talk to him.
Reason the second- Red Dragon is, technically, the first Hannibal Lecter book, but it's not a really a Lecter book. He's barely in the damned thing. He made a strong impression on Harris, clearly, but if you read the book it's clear that Lecter is sort of a footnote in the overall plot. The Silence of the Lambs is dominated by Lecter's personality and his interaction with Starling, but Red Dragon is more about Graham's process, how he solves the Dolarhyde murders, and how much it tears him up.
Combining these two storylines (and also elements of Hannibal Rising, come to think of it, which I've only read and seen once) provides a richer ground for the series to make it's own way through these stories. We already know how conflicted and torn up Will Graham is about his abilities, how much it effects him, so we need for other things to carry the story. Dolarhyde, and a firmer relationship with Lecter (who will presumably be locked up during this portion of the season) will help to fill in those gaps.
Reason the third- stunning visuals is another thing that this show does very, very well. Adding Florence (and possibly Paris?) and a flamboyant, conflicted serial killer to the roster is going to give them a lot of elbow room to work.
I do believe that they are going to subtract or downplay the rape from Dolarhyde's murders for the series, I believe Fuller has stated that he would pull those out but I can't find the interview off the top of my head so I can't say for certain.
I think we're going to see Lecter captured, this season, though it's hard to say when that may happen. I imagine we'll get a couple of episodes (2-3 is my guess) after the Europe storyline where 1: Lecter is undergoing his trial while 2: Will Graham is off with his dogs and Molly AND 3: Dolarhyde is killing people and meeting Reba and 4: Crawford and the forensic dudes (BEVERLY WE MISS YOU) are trying to work it out. These storylines will probably bleed over each other and into each other until they are essentially one- Will Graham may very well need to testify at Lecter's trial, we know that Crawford draws Graham into the case by visiting him and his wife and pulling him back in for one more go, and Lecter gains a side interest in Dolarhyde.
I think this season, if no other, has a chance to more or less end like the book. Particularly because it's a strong, awful ending and this show sort of specializes in those, though it would be particularly quiet. Reba, saved, Dolarhyde stopped. But Graham alone and devastated, and Hannibal (though still locked up) has won. In fact, one of my favorite quotes from Harris is from the end of Red Dragon
Yes, he had been wrong about Shiloh. Shiloh isn't haunted--men are haunted.
Shiloh doesn't care.It's a hell of a way to end a book, anyway, and I think we can look forward to a poetic soliloquy from Will Graham about Shiloh, at some point.
(Look I love Graham's half-creepy poetic soliloquys and Dancy always acts the hell out of them and this is one of my favorite quotes- please,
A note about Freddie Lounds- I have honestly NO IDEA what they're going to do to her, but I kinda hope that she ends up injured, but still going- Fuller plays loose and fast with canon, anyway, and I love Freddie Lounds like whoa. We all know nothing short of death will stop her, so fingers crossed that she gets hurt, but doesn't go down.
(I also hope that they change the way they bait Dolarhyde- in the book they basically piss him off by calling him gay in the paper, in the hopes that he tries to drop in on Graham over it, and it blows back on Lounds, instead. I suspect they'll try to shake him out with an article, but I hope it's done in a less shitty way- that seems likely, IMO, but it's something to look out for.)