The third season of "Hannibal," the critically adored, absolutely terrifying NBC show about one Dr. Lecter, will kick off Thurs., June 4 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC. We pick up shortly after season two's finale: Hannibal and his therapist/partner in murder, Bedelia (Gillian Anderson), are touring Italy and pretending to be just another normal couple on vacay. But, as showrunner Bryan Fuller explained, things won't stay tranquil for long. Hannibal meets the Red Dragon in season three, which means it's about to go down. Has the Cannibal finally met his match? It may be, because, as readers of the Hannibal novels already know, this dude could actually be the only character in TV history to out-creep even Lecter.
Richard Armitage, who plays the Red Dragon, is no stranger to out-there roles. He's best known for playing the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the "Hobbit" trilogy, for which he wore extensive beard and hair extensions, and elaborate Middle Earth costumes. Most recently he starred as John Proctor in the latest adaptation of "The Crucible." But no character he's played over the course of his 23-year career comes close to matching the Red Dragon's cruelty or fearsomeness.
Here's everything you need to know about the Red Dragon before the season premiere of "Hannibal":
He goes by many aliases
Of course, the serial killer wasn't born with the name Red Dragon. Though he's chosen it for himself (based on the painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun" by William Blake), his real name is Francis Dolarhyde. When Hannibal first encounters him, he's going by yet another moniker, The Tooth Fairy, because ...
He has a unique calling card
... he bites his victims to leave teeth marks after he kills them. The Red Dragon is just as gruesome as Hannibal, but less disciplined. As a practice, he kills entire families and leaves bite marks on their bodies.
He's a big fan of Hannibal
At least in the books, the Red Dragon knows of Hannibal's own crimes and he admires the more famous killer. Hannibal wants nothing to do with him, however (Lecter's not the most social guy at the best of times).
He's appeared in films before
The Red Dragon has been played by multiple actors in different Hannibal films since the books were first adapted. In 1986, Tom Doonan appeared in the role in the movie "Manhunter" and Ralph Fiennes played him in 2002's "Red Dragon."
Watch the trailer for the season premier of 'Hannibal':
Will you be tuning in?