Why does Will, to your mind, pull Hannibal off the cliff. Is it what Bedelia said about how he can't live with him or without him, so they have to go down together?
Bryan Fuller: Essentially, the conclusion of the season really started very early in the Italian chapter of the story, where Will is admitting if he doesn't kill Hannibal Lecter, he has the potential to become him. Then he escapes that trajectory with Hannibal being institutionalized, and finding a family, and once being exposed to the heroin needle again, as it were, he's realizing how much of an addict he actually is, but is aware enough to know, and to start making moves toward his previous goal of ending Hannibal. And he's willing to do what it takes. Bedelia says, "Can't live with him, can't live without him." It's not necessary for him to survive this, in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish. There's something so fated about that final act of Will's. And also, the awareness of this is perhaps the best solution for both of them.
Hannibal looks so happy when Will is embracing him. Does he know what's going to happen next, or is he thrown for a loop when they go over the cliff?
Bryan Fuller: I think Hannibal is thrown for a loop when they go over. In that final scene between them, it was Hugh Dancy and I talking about what those last moments that we see of Hannibal and Will in the series on NBC, how they need to connect, and yet Will can't totally surrender to Hannibal, because he's still Will Graham and still a human being, but he also knows that it's going to be very difficult to go back to his family life, seeing his wife murdered over and over again in his mind every time that he looks at her. Any possibility of a relationship that could save him from Hannibal Lecter seems dimmer and dimmer in his mind, that it is acceptable to him that he not survive.
You've talked about this relationship in romantic terms. Bedelia makes that even more explicit in some of her conversations with both men this season. Was there any thought given to having them do more than embrace at the end, or would that in some way be diminishing the very unique and strange nature of their relationship?
Bryan Fuller: Mads and Hugh, there were a lot of takes where they got very intimate, and lips were hovering over lips. I definitely had the footage to go there, because Mads and Hugh were so game. They called me and warned me: "We really went for it!" And then I saw the dailies, I thought there was a fine line from that #Hannigraham fan fiction motive to give the hardcore audience exactly what they want in terms of this actually being a homosexual relationship between these two men, and what is authentic for the characters in that final moment. I mean, it's not "Brokeback Mountain." Mads isn't gonna be spitting on his hand and getting to work. (laughs) We felt we had to keep it genuine to the tone of the relationship as we've been telling it in the series, and even in that moment when Will asks if Hannibal is in love with him, and Bedelia says, "Of course he is, ya big queen!" Even in that moment, it's not quite dipping into the physical passions that would be the case if they were both homosexual. But I feel one is ominisexual 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.
Speaking of Bedelia, the series' final image isn't them going off the cliff, but Bedelia waiting to serve a guest who is never going to come. How did you decide that was the image you wanted to end it on.
Bryan Fuller: Well, that's a really interesting interpretation of the scene. You think she cut off her own leg and is going to serve it to somebody?
She seems as if she is throwing a dinner party.
Bryan Fuller: (laughs) No, that's our little nod to the audience that perhaps Hanibal could have survived that cliff dive. She's sitting at the table with her leg on the table and she's looking absolutely terrified, and she grabs the fork and hides it under her napkin and waits for whoever's going to return. This woman still has some fight in her. We don't know if Hannibal is indeed serving her her leg, or is it Hannibal's uncle Robertus, or Lady Murasaki, or is it Will Graham?
So it was just your tease for the possibility of more?
Bryan Fuller: Yes. But I love your interpretation! (laughs) I love the thought that she's thinking, "Fuck! I cut off my leg for no reason!"