Mads Mikkelsen turned down Thor 2 to star as Hannibal Lecter in NBC's Hannibal

The James Bond actor turned down a starring role in a Marvel film to play the serial killer made famous by Anthony Hopkins

One of the best things about 'Hannibal', apart from everything, was the performance of Mads Mikkelsen as the titular character, his cold brooding manipulative version of Hannibal Lecter was nothing short of phenomenal and it very nearly didn't happen.

Whilst trawling through the infinite ether that is the internet I stumbled upon this revelation in an article in Total Film. Whilst this isn't strictly new news, it is relevant with 'Thor 2' being the last Marvel film to hit the big screens and I feel it's always important to look at what could have been and realise how lucky we are!

This is because Mads Mikkelsen was in talks with the lovely people of 'Thor 2' to play its main villain, the Dark Elf Malekith. However Mikkelsen dropped out of the role because production was taking too long and it would have overrun into his filming schedule for his role as Hannibal Lecter in NBC's 'Hannibal'.

As you can see back then, without the benefit of hindsight that was a massive risk for the Bond actor, as Hannibal hadn't aired yet and was looking like a risky show, and that's putting it lightly. Luckily for him, and us, the show turned out to be a rip-roaring success critically, despite not getting the ratings it deserved. So, whilst 'Thor 2' was an enjoyable comic-book romp, I can't help but feel that Mikkelsen made the right choice by choosing Hannibal.

Although when you really think about it the choice was a rather easy one. Either play one of the most iconic film and book characters ever to exist in this world in Hannibal Lecter, or bring to life the relatively unknown Dark Elf Malekith in a big blockbuster comic-book movie. Okay so the choice isn't that simple, but Lecter has to win hands down right? Especially when you were never really sure who was playing Malekith in the 'Thor 2' film, turns out it was Christopher Eccleston, although it was hard to tell under all the prosthetics and makeup.

So, whilst Eccleston didn't really garner a career defining performance behind all of that latex, although he did do a sufficient job, I think it's safe to say that Mikkelsen in all his understated malevolence and witty cannibal punnery will forever be known as Hannibal Lecter, so again the fact the show has raised Mikkelsen's profile is an indication that we, the fans of 'Hannibal', lucked out when he decided to do the television show instead of the movie.

Interestingly David Slade, the man who directed the Hannibal pilot left a possible reboot of the Daredevil franchise in order to do so. I can only assume Bryan Fuller's script and vision were something special for so many people to choose it over their other projects (well I can do more than assume, I've seen the show, it's really good.) However it does mark a turning point for television as more and more actors and actresses are choosing the small screen over films, thanks in part to the increased budgets and quality in shows like 'Breaking Bad' and 'Game of Thrones.'

So you see, it could all have been so different!

Daniel is a graduate from Bristol, who has an unhealthy obsession with crime fiction, a secret passion for superheroes and an avid love for all things fantasy. Consequently he also has a very understanding girlfriend! Follow Daniel on Twitter.

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