There Is a Reason You Won’t Hear Hanibal Lecter’s Name in ‘Clarice’

CBS’s much-awaited series, Clarice, will air at 10 pm on Feb. 11. While the series promises to follow Clarice Starling’s life as she navigates the world after the events of The Silence of the Lambs, there is one big name that the cast won’t utter. Fans won’t be seeing Hannibal Lecter, and they won’t even hear his name uttered. There is a very good reason for that, though.

Hannibal Lecter won’t be mentioned in Clarice

While Clarice will focus on Clarice Starling’s life and work, including what happened to her in the past, one name won’t be coming up in the show. Hannibal Lecter won’t be mentioned. The monster that haunted Clarice in Silence of the Lambs is off-limits.

Anthony Hopkins stars as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Julianne Moore stars as FBI Agent Clarice Starling in 'Hannibal' |
Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in ‘Hannibal’ | Phil Bray/MGM Pictures/Universal Pictures/Dino DeLaurentiis

According to The Wrap, Elizabeth Klaviter, the showrunner, explained that CBS only has the rights to characters introduced in the 1988 novel, The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter was a huge part of that story, but it isn’t where his tale began. Lecter was introduced in Red Dragon, the 1981 book by Thomas Harris. CBS doesn’t have the rights to the character but doesn’t mean Clarice will ignore the character. Klaviter told The Wrap that he’ll come up, but mentions of him will be vague. Fans of the movie will know who they are referencing.

Clarice will focus heavily on Clarice Starling’s story

It might be hard to imagine Clarice without Hannibal Lecter’s inclusion, but the production team is confident that they’ve managed to make it work. Although it takes place about a year after Clarice’s ordeal in The Silence of the Lambs, the show will delve deeper into her backstory. The goal is to take fans on a wild ride back into her childhood. It will still honor what she went through as an adult, though.

The show will also follow Clarice as she dives, headfirst into a new murder case. Whether she’s ready to get back to work or not is a theme that the show will heavily explore. The character of Clarice won’t be flying solo, either. Fans of the books and films will see some familiar names come to life on television.

Other characters mentioned in the 1988 novel will come up, though

Hannibal Lecter might be off-limits, but the team behind CBS’s new series will be drawing characters in from the world that Harris created in his book. Major and minor characters from the novel have been pulled in to create a robust world that fans will recognize, even without Hannibal’s direct mention.  

Marnee Carpenter will take on the role of Catherine Martin. Buffalo Bill will also show up in the show. Simon Northwood is set to take on the part for at least three episodes. Klaviter notes fans will feel the character’s presence throughout the series. According to IMDb, Ruth Martin and Paul Krendler will also appear for at least one episode each during the show’s first season.