NBC may have unceremoniously dumped its crown jewel, Hannibal, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the show’s presence at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. Both on- and off-site, Fannibals had opportunities to celebrate their favorite show in style.
The celebration began on Friday with a highly exclusive signing at the Funko booth within the exhibit hall. Only 144 copies of Bryan Fuller’s “mini-me” were made, and they were there for fans to get signed on an extremely limited basis. Fans began circling the hall past the Funko booth as soon as the exhibit hall opened – five hours before the signing would even begin! If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is. With about two hours to go, word came down from on high that anyone with a flower crown on could get in line, as the booth had been closed down for (an extremely well-deserved) lunch for the fine ladies and gentlemen manning it. This whole thing sounds cool enough on the surface, but it gets better. The reason Fannibals in flower crowns got to get in line early was that it was per the direct order of Bryan Fuller himself. People may think I exaggerate when I try to explain just how much this guy loves and dotes on his fans, but this is a prime example of how I’m being totally honest. Fuller knows how dedicated his fans are, but he also knows how conventions – and especially exclusive signings – go. Therefore, in an effort to ensure than the real fans (rather than autograph hunters) would get their Pops, and knowing that most Fannibals would be wearing flower crowns, he insisted that those wearing flower crowns would get their guaranteed spots in line. Who else puts that much thought into this sort of thing? The answer is probably no one.
To compound on that, Fuller made sure that every single fan would have the best possible experience when it was their turn to meet him. This meant he would spend about three to five minutes with each person – at least those at the front of the line with flower crowns and stag antlers. There was conversation, selfies were taken, and every Fannibal left the booth feeling genuinely adored. The thing about Bryan Fuller is that a priority for him is making sure his fans are able to feel just how much each and every one of them means to him. As a matter of fact, he will do just about whatever it takes to prove exactly that. One Fannibal brought some beautiful hand-made blown glass pens in the shapes of red dragons and black stags. She gave one to Bryan and asked that he give the ones she made for Richard Armitage and Hugh Dancy to them on her behalf. Instead, Fuller insisted that she be able to give them her gifts in person the next day. Whether or not that worked out, I don’t know, but that wasn’t the limit of Bryan Fuller’s capacity to love his fans.
The next day was the highly anticipated 2015 “Pannibal” in Ballroom 20, the second largest venue at SDCC. Let me tell you, that room was packed to the gills with Fannibals. This year’s panel may have been smaller than that of years past, but that did nothing to diminish the fervor of the Fannibals in attendance. Anyone hoping for some news on a new home for Hannibal were disappointed, but the panel as a whole was anything but disappointing! For starters, the audience was treated to a delicious video montage of what is to come in the rest of this season. Included were exciting new clips of Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde (and Francis Dolarhyde becoming the Red Dragon!), our first look at Rutina Wesley as Reba McClane, and the iconic moment where Will Graham asks for help from a jailed Hannibal Lecter! It was, truth be told, almost too much for our poor Fannibal hearts to handle.
Gorge yourself on that delicious video below:
And that was only the first gift bestowed upon the audience. Panel discussion delved into everything from the differing ways in which Will and Hannibal view Dolarhyde to the finer points of choosing a euphemism for lesbian sex (Fuller explained how he landed on the phrase “button-stitching” by searching the internet for the perfect euphemism). During the panel one fan, while asking a question, told Fuller she had a scarf that she knit just for him. Flouting the typical SDCC code of conduct, Fuller all but leaped off stage to greet the fan, hug her, and accept his gift. Speaking of gifts, as a token of the show’s appreciation, every fan who asked a question at the panel was gifted with a variety of prizes – all of which had been signed by Fuller and the cast!
The entire panel was recorded, and can be viewed below:
The next day, Fuller and company held a book signing across the street from the convention center. This event allowed Fannibals who may not have been able to go to either Fuller’s Funko signing or the Pannibal to get in on the action. At this event Fannibals got to get up close and personal, meeting the stars and producers who made up the Pannibal the evening before (including Fuller, Armitage, Dancy, and producer Martha DeLaurentiis). It was an exciting affair, held out in the open, allowing for Fannibals to mix and mingle and bond over their shared love of their favorite fictional cannibal.
If this does end up being the last we see of Hannibal at Comic Con, let it be known that the show went out with a bang, and never a whimper!
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