Fans of NBC's "Hannibal" are still clinging to hope that the recently canceled series will find a new home after the current third season finishes. However, any chance of a fourth season was dealt a major blow Wednesday when the cast was released from their contracts. The series is now on life support as the odds of any sort of return seem slimmer and slimmer. 

According to Deadline Hollywood, the contracts for Hugh Dancy, who plays Will Graham, Mads Mikkelsen, who plays the titular Dr. Lecter, and the rest of the principal cast expired Monday night and production company Gaumont International did not pursue a contract extension with any of the actors. With Dancy and Mikkelsen both released from their contracts they are free to pursue other projects and are reportedly already receiving offers. 

This is bad news for "Hannibal" fans. Now, even if Gaumont found another distributor for the show it would have to work hard to renegotiate contracts with the entire cast before it could move ahead with production. On top of that, securing another distributor might be difficult. Due to an exclusive deal with Amazon, most streaming service options, such as Netflix, are currently off the table. Plus, executive producer Bryan Fuller has new show, Starz's "American Gods," which would delay his availability to helm a new season of "Hannibal," a fact that makes the show even less attractive to prospective buyers. 

“The question would be for the potential new distribution partner is how comfortable they are in waiting,” Fuller told Deadline. “Because I do have an obligation to 'American Gods' and a passion for 'American Gods,' so I absolutely want to service that in the way that it needs to be serviced.”

However, Fuller did tell  Entertainment Weekly that “all options are being explored," so the possibility for a surprise renewal still exists.

Will "Hannibal" find a home for Season 4 or will fans' hopes have been in vain? Only time will tell. In the meantime, "Hannibal" Season 3 continues on Thursdays at 10 p.m. EDT on NBC.