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Here we submit evidence that Bryan Fuller ships 'Hannibal''s Hannigram as fully as the most hardcore superfan.

Bryan Fuller is pure Hannigram trash: Here are all the receipts why

Bryan Fuller is the creative genius behind Hannibal, American Gods, and Star Trek: Discovery, to name his most recent works. Professionally, he has to toe a certain line, but personally? Here we submit evidence that Bryan ships Hannigram as fully as the most hardcore superfan.

Party line

In early interviews around the conclusion of Hannibal season 3, creator Bryan Fuller assured the mainstream audience that Hannibal Lecter & Will Graham shared a purely platonic love. “If you take out all of the cannibalism and everything like that, you can just chart a male friendship. As a gay guy, I’m fascinated with straight male friendships.”

Right . . . straight male friendships. 🙄 Let’s dig a little deeper and see if that’s really how Bryan Fuller sees the relationship between the impeccable Dr. Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and the volatile Mr. Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Hannibal season 1

The first season of Hannibal has the doctor homing in on the prickly FBI special agent. He crashes through the traditional boundaries of a professional relationship: bringing him meals, blithely ignoring his personal space, and traveling his body with lingering gazes. When Will misses an appointment, Hannibal is so perturbed he drives for over an hour to find him in Quantico.

In a video interview, Bryan Fuller disclosed: “The relationship between Will and Hannibal in this first season is the seduction.” Perhaps recognizing the telling nature of the word, Fuller uses the word “friendship” twice in the next sentence, while still emphasizing that Hannibal sees something in Will Graham he has never encountered before.

In an interview with TV Guide, Bryan Fuller expounded: “Hannibal’s absolutely on a journey of self-exploration, and he’s fascinated by his fascination with Will. He is curious about this change that’s come over him. It’s sort of like somebody who is falling in love for the first time . . . Maybe his ultimate downfall is his attraction and affection for Will Graham.”

Hannibal seasons 2 & 3

The seduction continues in season 2 of Hannibal, although this time it’s Will capitalizing on Lecter’s feelings. Freed from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Will resumes his therapy with Hannibal, clothed & coiffed as we’ve never seen him before – as though dressed for a date. The numerous candlelit dinners Hannigram share in subsequent episodes certainly resemble dates.

The grisly tableaus these two men leave each other are referred to as a “courtship”. The tabloid press refers to Hannigram as “murder husbands”. Dr. Chilton (Raúl Esparza) refers to Hannibal’s disembowelment of Will as “flirtation”. 

Hannibal rejects the advances of the perfectly attractive Antony Dimmond (Tom Wisdom), choosing instead to flay & fold his body into an origami heart for Will to find.

Looking across the span of the Hannibal series, Bryan Fuller confessed the emergence of Hannigram happened organically. “It naturally evolved because I guess I was absorbing so much of Mads and Hugh’s performance, which felt like it was growing in intimacy, and it would have been inauthentic not to address it.”

In Hannibal season 3, the titular character’s love for Will Graham is directly and unequivocally stated in the script. Responding to a question about this development, Bryan Fuller reasoned: “It felt like we had to sh*+ or get off the pot, ultimately, because there had been so much going on between these two men . . . it is very much about death and the romance.”  

Death and romance

In an interview with Roger Ebert, Bryan Fuller took a moment to ruminate on how he would define the show. “I’ve never seen Hannibal as a crime story, so much as a romantic horror story.” Did Fuller mean “romantic” as in romanticism, an idealized view of reality? Or “romantic” as in “pertaining to love”? We encourage you to read the quotes below before you answer.

Bryan Fuller approached Siouxsie Sioux to write a song for Hannibal; here’s the context he gave her: “This is a love story. A love story between a full-fledged psychopath and someone who has nascent psychopathic abilities . . . it’s a love relationship between two men: one of them is a cannibal, and one of them understands those cannibalistic instincts all too well.”

In Hannibal’s final episode Will speaks to Reba, who has survived a relationship with the Red Dragon. Bryan Fuller referred to the scene as “a quiet moment between the two people who were in love with serial killers.”


Most people acknowledge there’s more to a romantic relationship than just sex, and you can certainly have a fulfilling asexual relationship. However, the unresolved sexual tension between the two men is what gives Hannigram their great appeal.

Addressing this, Fuller stated: “There is a quality to [Will & Hannibal’s] connections that go [sic] above and beyond sexuality. You can have this intimate connection with somebody that then causes you to wonder where the lines of your own sexuality are. And we didn’t quite broach the sexuality. It was certainly suggested, but the love is absolutely on the table.” 

While Bryan treads carefully to avoid confirming a mutual sexual attraction between the two men, he has also avoided flat out denying it.

In fact, in an Uproxx interview, Bryan Fuller teased: “I feel one is omnisexual and one is heterosexual and there’s a lot of influence going back and forth; who knows with a six pack of beer what would happen.” It doesn’t sound like they need much encouragement; six bottles of beer between two people isn’t gonna distort their judgement greatly.

In the Twittersphere

In all of the interviews referenced above, Bryan Fuller was likely trying to retain his professional veneer. Twitter is where Bryan’s Hannigram-shipping really comes into full force. Ladies & gentlemen of the jury, we submit this photo of Bryan drinking from a Hannigram mug. Adorable, right?

The evidence only grows more compelling. Here we have a photo of Bryan Fuller speaking at a convention, wearing a Fannibal flower crown and shamelessly sporting a Hannigram tee depicting Hannibal & Will sharing a passionate smooch. Responding to another fan’s agonized plea for confirmation that Hannigram is canon, Bryan posted a picture of a cannon firing. 

Bryan has also taken the time to banter with Hannigram fans by posting not-so-subtle hints at romantic liaisons. What happened in the hours between arriving at the clifftop house and Hannibal getting shot? “Well, they did change clothes . . .” What did Hannibal & Will talk about when driving to the cliff? “Their lips were busy!”

Bryan Fuller has also encouraged Hannigram fans by gleefully posting double entendres, highlighting phrases from their dialogue, e.g.: “You know better than to breed” with the tags “Hannigram” and “subtext”. Going further, there was the far less subtle tweet “Will Graham is covered in Hannibal’s body fluids” with the tag “gaygenda”.

Closing statement

Having presented the evidence, we hope the jury will take time to reflect on the idea that Bryan Fuller is, in fact, pure Hannigram trash. We see a man who carefully walks the line of professional conduct in his capacity as a showrunner, while curling up in bed at night with a ravenstag plushie, perhaps next to one of these tasty photos of Hugh Dancy & Mads Mikkelsen.

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  • Actually, this is only “proof” that Ryan is enthusiastic about the whole Hanigram fanfic and its members, not that this is actually the case, and that certain situations can be compared with a romance history, because Will is the only person in the world that Hannibal is actually interested. The point about sexual attraction collapses in on itself, about the rest, we have Ryan explicitly denying “romance” and “sexual attraction”, though he does not deny love, which shapes it more as friendship.

    Interviewer: As you said, Bedelia and Will actually discussed whether he and Hannibal are in love with each other in the penultimate episode, and it feels like the show spelled out the answer fairly clearly, even if it’s not an overtly sexual love — but where do you think Will lands on that, in the end?

    Brian Fuller: I think that’s what motivates the leap, is his realization that Hannibal was right all along. As beautiful as that felt to him, he understands that it is a place that who he is will not survive in, and so his option is essentially to pull the plug on the whole story, and that’s the only way he’s going to win himself back. It’s a sad gesture in so many ways, and it brings an interesting question to the strength of friendships. In my personal experience, I would say I’ve experienced more hurtful betrayals by friends than I have lovers, and friendships I’ve had in my life have been every bit as intense as relationships I’ve had that have been sexual , so there’s an aspect of that where nothing quite hurts as badly as a friend betraying you. In an infidelity, that type of betrayal between lovers, you understand the human nature and that the heart wants what it wants, and the draw of sexuality and the temptation of that, so you get how human nature is the betrayer in that situation. When it comes to a friend and it’s not about genitals, it’s about the souls, it cuts much deeper.

    March 14, 2021
    • cope and seethe and keep trying to over=explain how it’s about friendship, it’s just a REALLY DEEP FRIENDSHIP YOU GUYS! it just makes you look unbalanced.

      December 10, 2021
    • absolutely nobody would reach this far to try and deny a straight relationship that has literally been referred to as canon by the creator of the show. even in the writing, their relationship and feelings for one another has been called love. denying it is just willful ignorance

      December 23, 2022

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