In the TV series Hannibal, a prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal clearly has a normal set of digits.

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But, in the book Hannibal, set after Silence of the Lambs, there is great discussion about Hannibal's polydactylism, i.e. an extra finger on his left hand, in terms of tracking him down.

Is there any explanation for the TV series diverging from the book?

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    The TV series also stop Hannibal from having red eyes, as well as de-aging him somewhat. I would imagine that it is because casting an actor with 6 fingers on one hand would be difficult and limiting, and that the special effects required to do either the thumb or the eyes are not worth the pay off. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Because it isn't important.

It's worth noting that the extra digit on Hannibal's left hand isn't the only remarkable feature that Hannibal chose to not portray - in the books, he is also described as having red eyes.

The most obvious reason for the lack of his extra finger/red eyes is simply that the person in charge of the show (Bryan Fuller) was not interested in the physical aspects of the character as much as he was the psychological ones. Casting an actor with six fingers on one hand would be difficult and limit the shows choices severely, and the extra budget/time required to include an extra finger or make his eyes red throughout wouldn't really be worth it. As such, they simply left it out.

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