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Hannibal stars Caroline Dhavernas, Scott Thompson, and Aaron Abrams joined producers Bryan Fuller, Steven Lightfoot, David Slade, and Martha DeLaurentiis at Comic-Con on Thursday to discuss that horrifying cliffhanger ending to Season 2 and tease the upcoming third season, which unfortunately won't premiere until 2015. 

Sadly, neither Mads Mikkelsen nor Hugh Dancy were present, but our favorite cannibal sent a video message in his stead, telling fans, "next year I'll see you for a quick lunch." Dancy also sent a video greeting, in which he jokingly hinted that Jimmy Price (Thompson's character) will be leaving the FBI to become "Jack the Ripper's personal manservant." 

But enough with the fake spoilers, and on to the real ones! Here's the scoop from the panel:

Chilton returns! Last we saw Raul Esparza's character, he'd been shot in the face while he was being questioned—but he'll indeed play a part in the upcoming third season, Fuller said. Appearing as a surprise panel guest, Esparza confirmed, "I am coming back. Bryan told me that 'I'm going to gut you... but you're going to survive.' I said, 'I know... because I've read these damn books." 

Gideon returns (sort of): Sadly, Abel's last limbless scene did not bode well for the character's future, but Fuller did reveal, "We are writing a role for Eddie [Izzard] to return as a flashback."

A cavalcade of new characters: More familiar folks from Thomas Harris's novels will visit the show in Season 3, including, Inspector Pazzi (Episode 2), Hannibal's aunt/love interest Lady Murasaki (Episode 3), Mason Verger's private doctor Cordell (Episode 4), and serial killer Francis Dollarhyde in Episode 8.  "I think Murasaki is going to kick all sorts of ass," Fuller said, but noted that the role has not yet been cast.

A Clarice Starling mash-up? MGM currently controls the rights to Silence of the Lambs/the Clarice Starling character, so there's no word yet on whether we'll see her on the show. If for some reason Hannibal does not obtain the rights, Fuller said that he'll create "Schmarice Schmarling," his nickname for whatever "mash-up" character that he and the writers came up with to replace her.

A delizioso destination: Season 1's episode titles focused on French cuisine, and Season 2's were Japanese. Fuller said that Season 3's titles will be Italian, which is a good indicator of where Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier, who escaped together on a plane last season, will land. 

Doggone it: Yes, more of Will's dogs could be in danger in coming seasons, just like Applesauce. Fuller said that fans should tweet dog names at him, and they might then become victims. "Will Graham is a mutt collector. There's something so beautiful about rescue dogs," Fuller said, and then added that people should adopt from a shelter.

The FBI diet: The first half of Season 3 will be "FBI-lite," with the organization only taking part in one episode out of the first seven. 

The time warp: Season 3 will pick back up one year after the end of Season 2, with Hannibal and Bedelia's new arrangement well-established. "We wanted to come into their story at the most dramatic point," Fuller said. "Episode 4 will address [that gap between seasons]." He also explained that the show is telling the story more "emotionally" versus temporally.

Another helping of Abigail? Poor Abigail Hobbs, whom we saw return from the apparent dead only to get her throat slit in front of Will's eyes, will return in some capacity... we're guessing as flashback. "We love Kasey," Fuller said. "She will be part of Season 3." 

Music to dine by: A four-volume Hannibal soundtrack is on the way. The first two albums will drop on August 5, and the second two will be released on September 2. Additionally, the Season 2 DVD set will hit shelves on September 16 (and includes a hilarious bloopers reel), and a behind-the-scenes photo book, The Art of Making of Hannibal, will be available soon. 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/29/2015

Season 3 : Episode 13

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