A new scene from The Sopranos creator David Chase imagines Tony survived the finale, but now has to put up with quarantine. The HBO mob show starring James Gandolfini as a New Jersey mafia boss dealing with any number of existential crises first debuted in 1999 and quickly became one of the most acclaimed shows in TV history. By the time The Sopranos was ready to end its run in 2007, it had secured an undeniable place in pop culture history.
When people today discuss The Sopranos and its impact on pop culture, the conversation inevitably turns to the show’s final episode, which aired in June 2007. Famously, the series ended on an incredibly ambiguous note as it suddenly cut to black in the middle of a seemingly innocent scene of Tony and the rest of the Soprano family gathering at a local ice cream parlor. Many took the sudden cut to mean that Tony and perhaps his family members were killed inside the ice cream shop, literally seeing their lives cut short.
For his part, Sopranos creator Chase has always refused to clarify the meaning of that final scene, choosing to leave Tony’s fate up to the viewer’s imagination. But now, Chase has finally written a new Sopranos scene that imagines Tony actually survived the final episode and indeed is still alive today, enduring the coronavirus quarantine like everyone else. The scene was revealed on Sopranos stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Shirripa’s new podcast Talkin’ Sopranos and can be read in its entirety on Vulture. In the scene, Tony and his family members all have something to say about the lockdown, and not surprisingly, there’s a lot of cursing. A sampling of the dialog can be seen in the space below:
TONY SOPRANO: Sports betting? F–king gone with the wind, along with professional sports. Me and my friends are dying over here. The president might have a point. Let’s get business and manufacturing going again — by Easter, May Day, whatever the f–k.
CHRISTOPHER MOLTISANTI: I’ve been to Hollywood. Out there they should call it the swine flu.
ADRIANA LA CERVA: I’d volunteer or something. I feel so bad. I’ve been crying a lot, but I got an underlying condition. Irritable bowel syndrome, right? I can’t reach my doctor to find out if that would exclude me passing out masks or something.
TONY: Bing f–kin’ shut down, my income stream was already compromised. We can keep the pork store open, though, essential critical infrastructure. Pork!
Obviously, Chase wrote the new “scene” as a way of having some fun with the current lockdown situation (and throwing a bone to Imperioli and Shirripa as they launch their podcast). Clearly the scene does not represent an actual continuation of The Sopranos as it features several characters who definitely died on the show, including Tony’s mom Livia, Christopher Moltisanti, Christopher’s wife Adriana, Bobby Bacala and Phil Leotardo. So no, Chase’s new scene does not mean Tony Soprano is still alive in Sopranos canon. The question of whether the cut to black at the end of the series’ final episode was actually Tony’s last moment on earth remains an unanswered one (and it seems Chase never will answer that question, no matter how many times fans ask).
Even if the new scene isn’t real, it is fun to have Chase back writing dialog for characters from The Sopranos, the writing of course being a major reason why the show became a classic in the first place. As for Chase’s future with the Soprano family, there will be a prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, which includes the late Gandolfini’s son Michael as the young Tony Soprano. So even though fans will never find out what really happened to Tony after that ice cream parlor trip with his family, they will at least get to see what Tony was like as a kid (he definitely didn’t have the makings of a varsity athlete).