The prospect of a Hannibal future seems farther and farther each day, with Bryan Fuller split between American Gods and Star Trek, and its stars all off in their own galaxy, though fans well know the most fertile ground left to cover would be that of Silence of the Lambs. Rights issues made it impossible before, but Mads Mikkelsen claims NBC was close at the time of Hannibal’s cancellation.

Speaking with Express, Mikkelsen reiterated some of the same Hannibal sentiment we’d heard in recent months; namely that all involved would be open to the possibility after a few years of current career projects. Perhaps most notably, the Rogue One star claims that Fuller was actually on the verge of attaining rights to Silence of the Lambs characters Clarice Starling and Buffalo Bill (among others) at the time of Hannibal’s cancellation:

We were very close to solving the rights issues. Silence of the Lambs was coming up around the corner, and it’s such a beautiful story with great characters … And season four was actually the one we thought we’d definitely get. Seasons two and three were on the verge. We didn’t know whether Hannibal would be renewed. But by the time we got to season four we thought it was a definite. We were very surprised at the decision.

That said, few real details have been clarified of a potential fourth season, one Hugh Dancy claimed “took us back to the first season in a very unexpected way … but it wasn’t the Clarice / Silence of the Lambs storyline.” Producer Martha De Laurentiis also suggested that online piracy might have hurt Hannibal‘’s chances for a fourth season.

One presumes that if Hannibal did get together again down the line, Silence of the Lambs would prove the most attractive target for increasingly-busy schedules, but will anyone ever manage to sort out the rights?