Hannibal’s Bryan Fuller argues once and for all that the show was not queerbaiting

Bryan Fuller argues Hannibal was not queerbaiting
Bryan Fuller argues Hannibal was not queerbaiting

Hannibal stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy with Bryan Fuller in 2014

Calling out the Fannibals in the year 2022? It’s more likely than you think. Showrunner Bryan Fuller is promoting a new documentary series, Queer For Fear: The History Of Queer Horror, and he would like it known that he stands on the right side of that history himself with his short-lived series Hannibal. So you can finally drop the “queerbaiting” accusations, guys, because sometimes the subtext is the point. It’s called media literacy!

Fuller painstakingly lays out his storytelling process in a new interview with IndieWire. “I was trying to tell an authentic story because I think exploring queerness from a heteronormative point of view is a complicated path. It certainly started out as a non-sexual same-sex couple experiencing a greater intimacy than they’ve ever experienced before. Then being able to transition through that to an intimacy that was qualified as love. Then a physical intimacy between them, where they are both penetrating a man, that is a culmination of their relationship with each other,” he explains with remarkable patience. “Then falling into each other’s arms and over a cliff. I never felt that I was queerbaiting. I think that’s a buzzword for a lot of folks to find something to complain about because it feels like they were duped or misled.”

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Not to mention, the series had a textually queer character in Dr. Alana Bloom: “I’m just as proud of the explicit queerness of that relationship,” he defends. “The growing queerness of what’s happening between Will and Hannibal never felt exploitative. It felt authentic about somebody who once identified as heterosexual having a complex, intimate relationship with somebody of the same sex. Then going on a journey with those feelings to what lies down the path felt less coded and more authentic to the story of this man on this journey. Because it became explicitly queer in terms of the conversation about loving each other and where that love was going to take them, I think to dismiss it as queerbaiting is cynical and a little bit of assholery, honestly.”

Whew, those are fighting words—but Fuller’s continued desire to bring the show back for a new season (with much of the original cast on board) should soften the blow. “There’s a fantastic future for these queer characters, for the murder husbands and the murder wives. There’s a lot more story to be told, and I hope we get a chance to do it. We just need somebody to want to put it on their airwaves.”

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