Many many moons ago, HBO put itself on the map by running a show by the name of The Sopranos, created by David Chase. It’s been 14 years since the show ended, but now, eager fans of the series have hope. Chase is back at it again with the new prequel film The Many Saints Of Newark. To better appreciate this surprising comeback, we’ll get you up to speed on what you need to know for the upcoming film.
Who Were The Sopranos?
In case you’ve never heard of or seen The Sopranos to begin with, that’s okay, we’ll go over that too (and not spoil too much either). The show follows Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss who deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life that affect his mental state, resulting in him seeking professional psychiatric counseling to cope with the stresses he faces. The series ran 6 seasons long, with 13 episodes a season, with the exception of Season 6 which got 21 episodes. When last the iconic series aired, the DiMeo crime family (run by Tony) were in a tight spot as the New York and New Jersey crime families were warring with one another. Its ending was ambiguous, and is held in high regard as one of the greatest series endings of all time.
Resurrecting An Iconic Story
The Many Saints of Newark will be turning back the clock, visiting Tony Soprano in his younger days. The film takes place during the long hot summer of 1967, a time of considerable “political and civil unrest”. Amongst the turmoil the setting presents, the DiMeo crime family’s hold over the city is being challenged by rival gangsters as they begin to rise up against them. The film will focus on young Tony’s relationship with his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti, who also struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities much like Tony will in The Sopranos later on. The movie will ultimately bear witness to the experiences that shape Tony into the mob boss fans are familiar with.
Without a doubt, The Sopranos is considered a time honored classic when it comes to drama. For those who might be less eager, there is a compelling discussion that seems to be hidden under the surface of all this good news. One of the things the article by Collider expresses, is something of a cautionary hesitance in its initial remarks about the film. Especially when talking about it being “a huge undertaking”, speaking to the notion that audiences would need to “trust a return to this world so long after the finale”. These remarks are interesting, very much so when one considers that most praise The Sopranos to be one of the best shows out there, in addition to having what is widely regarded as one of the greatest endings a series can get. It begs the question, did we really need this prequel?
To have achieved such a masterful ending, one would have had to create a distinct air of finality. Although a prequel, would this film in some sense be violating that sense of finality? It does, after all, seek to continue a story that has been finished for 14 years. To be fair though, it isn’t like the property is being brought back into existence by some stranger, David Chase himself is coming back to tell this story. If there’s any one who has the inherent right to exercise revisiting the world of the Sopranos, it is the creator of the series. On top of that, without spoiling the ending, there were many questions concerning how the show ended, so it isn’t like there wasn’t any desire whatsoever to revisit the story. The Many Saints of Newark, starring NYFA Alumni Michael Gandolfini (playing Tony Soprano) and Gabriella Piazza (playing mob wife Joanne Moltisanti), is screening in theaters.