‘Hannibal’ Season 3 Release Date, Spoilers: Returning Characters Confirmed in Latest News

The NBC Series, "Hannibal' has had an impressive following on social media, and ratings for its second season have been solid, garnering an average of 3.9 million viewers tuning in every Friday night. This, in addition to the show's Best Network Television Series win at the Saturn Awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films cancelled any doubts that the show will be renewed for a third season. So what's in store for Season 3 of this gripping thriller?

According to show-runner Bryan Fuller, "Hannibal' won't get into "the literature" until Season 4, which will cover the events of "Red Dragon." This means that Season 3 will be a prequel to the books and therefore have a lot of freedom to play around with. Season 5, meanwhile, will move into the "Silence of the Lambs' era, but unlike the books, will continue to follow Will Graham's story, as well as Hannibal's.

In an interview with Shock Till You Drop, Fuller revealed a lot of details about the show's upcoming season. When asked whether old characters will be back for Season 3, Fuller enthusiastically shared the good news.

"Absolutely, absolutely, and we will. We'll definitely be seeing Murasaki. We're hoping to see Mason Verger again this season. We are developing the Francis Dolarhyde story so that's a very exciting thing for me because Red Dragon is my introduction into the Thomas Harris world," said Fuller.

When probed about when Clarice Starling or Buffalo Bill would be cast, Fuller admitted that he and the rest of the team were still working on securing the rights to use the characters in the series. MGM currently owns the rights to both characters.

"Hannibal' Season 3 is set to premiere in late 2014 or in the first half of 2015.