Richard Armitage Is Outstanding As ‘The Great Red Dragon’ In His ‘Hannibal’ Debut

Richard Armitage transforms into The Great Red Dragon

The much awaited debut of Richard Armitage as “The Great Red Dragon” in Hannibal happened on Saturday night and it was outstanding. But we already knew it would be.

Showrunner Bryan Fuller and executive producer Martha De Laurentii have been singing Armitage’s praises on Twitter and at the San Diego Comic Con. Fuller even went as far as saying he and his editing team had been brought to tears as they watched the British actor’s footage of his portrayal of the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a The Red Dragon/The Tooth Fairy.

Francis Dolarhyde is a disturbed man, who has a cleft palate, and was abandoned by his mother after his birth because she was too disgusted by his deformity. The serial killer has murdered entire families, the aftermath of which we witness when Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) visits one of the homes. Bloody doesn’t even begin to describe what he sees at the crime scene.

Richard Armitage debut Red Dragon

Richard Armitage as The Great Red Dragon in Hannibal (NBC)

In his deranged mind, Dolarhyde has dreams on grandeur and is a big fan of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), who three years later from the events we saw in Season 3’s previews episode, is imprisoned in a mental institution. Will, very reluctantly, reaches out to Hannibal for his help in finding the serial killer.

If you didn’t know Richard Armitage before Saturday night, you were most certainly wondering who this man is and why you haven’t heard of him before this. Despite his 43-years of age, Armitage is still mostly unknown in the U.S., not so in the U.K. and has legions of adoring fans who were all aflutter last night watching their man blow everyone away.

The transformation was nothing short of brilliant and if Richard Armitage doesn’t get an Emmy nod, we will hear about it. The interesting thing is that he didn’t even speak. Not one word in the entire episode, but the display of physical strength in his yoga moves was stunning and the result of the renowned dedication to his craft.

We also got a glimpse at the horrible aftermath of his latest crime, against the Leeds family, in which he murders the parents and two young kids in cold blood. If you have read the book, you know that we will hear more about what Dolarhyde actually did at this particular crime scene.

In sum, Richard Armitage’s performance was stunningly beautiful considering the character he portrays, which is in tune with the incredible cinematography Fuller brings to Hannibal. The showrunner and De Laurentiis promise even more greatness to come as the season moves on to its end. Sadly NBC has chosen to cancel the show — which received second place in Saturday night’s ratings — and Fuller hasn’t found a home for it yet. A movie focused on the Red Dragon is one possibility being discussed at this time.

[Image via NBC]

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