The season three premiere of Hannibal is just around the corner (June 4) and I’m looking forward to some pretty juicy storylines and delicious performances. Its been a long, tortuous wait, but television’s most surreal, twisted, and delightful series is coming back to our screens. So in preparation for the season three opener, here is an examination of the main actors in the series, their characters, how we last left them, and what we can expect from them going forward. Needless to say, if you haven’t seen the season two finale then there are major spoilers ahead.

Hugh Dancy – Will Graham

Before landing the role of tortured FBI consultant Will Graham, the English born Hugh Dancy was perhaps best known for Black Hawk Down or King Arthur. However, there’s a lot in Dancy’s career that’s actually much more interesting, especially Hysteria, a movie about the invention of the vibrator. When we last saw Will Graham he had been stabbed in the stomach by Hannibal Lecter as he scrambled to escape the deft trap Will had set for him. Along with Jack Crawford and Alana Bloom, he lies victim on the floor of Hannibal’s house. In the upcoming third season, it looks as though Will recovers and is on the hunt for the at-large Hannibal and his companion Bedelia Du Maurier.

Mads Mikklesen – Hannibal Lecter

Before turning his hand to acting, Danish actor Mikklesen spent ten years as a professional dancer, and it shows in the grace and depth of his acting. His most memorable US role came as the Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, but some of his best acting can be seen in films like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising and Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, for which he won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival. Mikklesen was also in King Arthur with Hugh Dancy. When we last saw Hannibal, he made a violent escape from a quickly tightening trap set by Will Graham and Jack Crawford, with Alana Bloom caught in the crossfire. As the episode closes, we see him flying blissfully away on an airplane with Bedelia. We now know they were on their way to Italy, where they assume the identity of another man and his wife.  This season we see them living their new lives together while avoiding the pursuit of Will Graham and the FBI.

Laurence Fishburne – Jack Crawford

You probably know him best from The Matrix, but Laurence Fishburne had had a long and prestigious career way before the Wachowskis cast him as the mysterious Morpheus. His credits include Apocalypse Now!, The Color Purple, Event Horizon, and Miami Vice (TV Series). When we last saw Jack Crawford he’d been stabbed in the neck after his struggle with Hannibal. While it’s been confirmed that Fishburne will be returning in a diminished capacity, we really have no clue what his chatacter’s role will now entail, how he now fits into the storyline, or whether he even survives. Fishburne, having landed a role on the ABC series Black-ish, will be splitting his time between the shows in smaller, recurring roles.

Gillian Anderson – Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier

Gillian Anderson was kind of a catch for Hannibal. It was no secret that Bryan Fuller wanted Anderson to come back for season three and even successfully promoted her to series regular. Just in time too, considering that Anderson is now busy making a return as Special Agent Dana Scully in the upcoming X-files miniseries. While it’s Scully that she’s best known for, Anderson has kept busy over the years appearing in British film and television and on stage. She recently starred as Blanche in an Old Vic production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” to sell out audiences, and has filmed two seasons of a British series called The Fall in which she plays a tenacious and intelligent police inspector on the trail of a serial killer played by Jamie Dornan. Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal Lecter’s personal psychiatrist and now companion, is something of an enigma. She knows what Hannibal really is, but plays her emotions and motives very close to the chest. When we last saw Bedelia she was with Hannibal on a plane to Italy, seemingly prepared to join him on the run and as accomplice. This season we get to see a lot more of Bedelia outside of the sterile confines of her office and in some pretty intense and trying situations.

Richard Armitage – Francis Dollarhyde

Armitage is new to the cast this season as “Red Dragon” serial killer Francis Dollarhyde (aka The Toothfairy). Armitage is most recently known as the dwarf king Thorin from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. However, the English born actor has appeared throughout British film and television, with roles on North & South, MI-5, and Robin Hood. The tall, dark, and brooding Armitage just might be the most canny choice to play the reclusive Dollarhyde – and a rather high profile choice at that. There’s no knowing how his storyline will play out, given Fuller’s penchant for blending storylines, but based on the preview we will at least be getting the “Red Dragon” basics.

Caroline Dhavernas – Dr. Alana Bloom

Canadian actor Dhavernas is perhaps best known for her role as Jaye Tyler on the Bryan Fuller series Wonderfall or for supporting roles in films like The Switch and Hollywoodland. Her role as Alana Bloom on Hannibal has been an integral part from the beginning, later evolving into a conduit to help bridge the gap between Hannibal and Will, helping to symbolically express their friendship and desire for each other (recall the “threesome” scene from season two). Of course, we all know that Alana made a terrible mistake when she started sleeping with Hannibal – a terrible, cringing, upsetting mistake – and that she was bound to pay for her blindness. When we last saw Alana, she had been pushed from a second story window by the until then presumed dead Abigail Hobbes. As the season closed, she lay motionless on the stone pathway as Hannibal stepped over her body to freedom. While it has been confirmed that Dhavernas is returning for season three, we still don’t know if her character actually survives the ordeal of the season two finale. Like Crawford, she may only be returning as a remnant in the over-active mind of Will Graham.