Emmy Award winner David Chase finally confirms that Tony died in The Sopranos series finale after refusing to answer the question for years. James Gandolfini led the series as Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and centered on his life in the New Jersey-based mafia as well as the lives of his family, mafia colleagues and rivals. The Sopranos featured an ensemble cast alongside Gandolfini that also included Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco, Dominic Chianese, Steven Van Zandt, Tony Sirico, Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
The Sopranos became a smash hit for HBO upon its premiere in 1999, garnering rave reviews from critics, bringing in 21 Primetime Emmys and five Golden Globe nominations across its six-season run. Its popularity also saw HBO expand the property into other mediums, including the 2006 video game The Sopranos: Road to Respect, books, soundtrack albums and podcasts. The series also recently made its big screen debut with the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark starring James’ son Michael Gandolfini as a teenage Tony during the 1960s and ’70s, which has received generally positive reviews from critics and became a streaming hit for HBO Max.
On the heels of the prequel film releasing, Chase recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast to discuss his acclaimed series. In reflecting on The Sopranos‘ series finale and his seeming confirmation a year prior that Tony died in said episode, Chase noted he wasn’t explicitly referring to that scene in the previous interview but confirmed it was the planned location for the character’s death. See what Chase said below:
“Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed. Yeah. But I think I had this notion — I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, “Tony should get it in a place like that.” Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before.”
In the near 15 years since it aired, The Sopranos‘ series finale remains the most-talked about element of the series over anything else for its abrupt cut-to-black ending. Prior to his latest comments, Chase was notoriously tight lipped about the meaning behind the final scene, always choosing to leave it up to interpretation of whether it meant Tony’s death or something else. Though it should be noted that Chase says the scene he refers to in both the new and previous interview wasn’t necessarily that of the diner, his description of the moment certainly lines up with the show’s final moments.
While one would think Chase would be frustrated by this point at viewers’ questions regarding the meaning of The Sopranos‘ ending, he also recently spoke that his annoyance on the subject came from those wanting to know Tony had been killed. The Emmy-winning creator believes that given audiences fell in love with the character for seven years, it seemed odd they’d want to see Tony dead, certainly an understandable point for an antihero-centric crime drama that fans would feel similarly about with AMC’s Breaking Bad years later. Audiences can revisit or dive into The Sopranos for the first time on HBO Max now.