If you watched the final (for now) episode of Bryan Fuller's masterpiece Hannibal, you know that while the ending does leave room for the series to return, there's a definite air of we-might-not-be-coming-back-from-this to it.
Fuller himself recently told Entertainment Weekly that the episode is "totally designed" to serve as a series finale, but conceded that it "ends in a way that the show could lie fallow for a couple of years."
Still, after watching (and re-watching) that finale scene, I can't help but wonder if Fuller originally had a different ending in mind before the cancelation.
NBC announced it would not renew Hannibal on June 22, but Fuller and his crew surely had some advance notice. Could it have been enough notice to film a couple extra shots that would turn the season ender into a series ender? I think so — in fact, when you consider that Fuller has always said he was surprised by Hannibal two season renewals, it's very possible that he even had a couple contingency plans in place, in the event that the series was canceled prior to Season 4, going so far as to shoot a few extra shots and scenes just in case.
Imagine this: Originally, Hannibal (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will (Hugh Dancy) were never supposed to take their dive into the ocean. Instead, the credits would roll while the two continued embracing (just as Will had finally embraced the part of him that Hannibal was so drawn to).
The post-credits scene could still involve Bedelia, but rather than her sitting alone at the dinner table, she would be joined by a still-healing Hannibal and Will. Or, the post-credits scene could feature the two men somewhere abroad, maybe even Buenos Aires, where Hannibal and Clarice were seen at the end of Thomas Harris' Hannibal. Instead of Barney the orderly spotting Hannibal and Will, it could be Alana, who, out of fear for her and her family safety, leaves the men be.
Season 4 could then focus on the aftermath of the Season 3 finale and Hannibal and Will's new life together. Fuller once described his plan for the fourth season as "radical," saying that "there is a pocket in one of the novels of some really rich interesting character material that I’m inverting and twisting around" — I could definitely see the showrunner taking Hannibal's prolonged corruption of Clarice and superimposing it onto Will.
What do you think? Could there be another ending in addition to the one we saw? If there is, fingers crossed we eventually see it!