For a while it seemed the champion had become the underdog.

Throughout the weeks of the competition as the field whittled its way down from 64 competitors to a final pair, the voting was dominated by one iconic figure – the human flesh-eating psychiatrist whom after being nurtured in literature, sky-rocketed to fame in the Academy Award winning “Silence of the Lambs” and now makes his home on the NBC dramatic series which bears his name: “Hannibal.”

From the very first round, coming out of nowhere, Lecter’s forces seemed unstoppable, grinding to dust beneath his feet a series of formidable adversaries; Dexter, Sideshow Bob, last year’s villain champion Walter White, Tony Soprano and the film categories champion Mystique all fell before him. Hannibal consistently round after round stood at or near the top vote-getters, and nothing it seemed, would be able to stop the rise of an evil like which HItfix’s March Mayhem had never known.

Across the board, however, the reigning champion seemed to have slowed down in the off-season. Xena bested challengers Olivia Pope, Starbuck and Arya Stark, but never spectacularly; her votes totals getting the job done but her armies rarely just demolishing the competition.

Until the division, finals when the Xena forces - faced with their first truly formidable challenge of the competition in the face of Oliver Queen, finally seemed to stir and delivered the Warrior Princess from what could have been a stunning defeat.  

 From then on, however, there was no stopping them. Facing Han Solo, in the Heroes’ finals, the Xena forces destroyed the space-bound buccaneer.  

And then, in the final match-up, they showed once again what a champion is made of.

Showdowns don’t get any more heroic than this. All day long Hannibal and Xena stayed just inches apart. At one point, the race was exactly tied. Both armies proved themselves to be valiant and worthy of the Mayhem throne, leading on the fight in social media; it truly looked to be anyones game.

But in the end, yesterday’s champion was restored to her throne: by a margin just 33,000 votes out of over a million cast in one day, Xena came out on top.  

While the world will not know this year what it is to be ruled by a highly-educated, psychopathic serial killer, we can not but stare in awe at Lecter’s accomplishment. Appearing in March Mayhem for the very first time and coming just a hair’s breath away from taking the crown, there are none who could fail to be impressed. Hannibal Lecter will return to the tournament next year, and we feel only pity for those who will be forced to face off against him. Could this year have been just a practice run en route to his destined reign of terror?

And what about Xena? Will her second crown sate her need for glory? In those early rounds she appeared decidely complacent. Perhaps after another year in the throne, she will decide to retire while she’s still on top. Even in victory, the notion of facing off against Lecter again must make a year seem much too short.

Or will she come back to the field again and attempt to turn her two victories into the beginning of an ever-lasting dynasty!

The year will hold many surprises.  So come back next March and see where the chips fell.

Until then, we congratulate everyone who cast a vote in the Second Annual March Mayhem. Anyone who cares this much about their heroes makes the world a better place.  Congratulations to all our contestants and we kneel once again before our re-crowned Queen.

See you all next March!


Richard Rushfield is Editor in Chief of Hitfix