Despite being the prequel film to the seminal HBO drama The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark never fully resolves whether Tony Soprano ever found out the truth about Dickie Moltisanti’s death. In the final act of The Many Saints of Newark, Dickie gets assassinated under the orders of Junior Soprano, putting an end to the speculation regarding the true circumstances of how Dickie died. In The Sopranos season 4, episode 1, “For All Debts Public And Private,” Tony told Christopher that his father Dickie was killed by Barry Haydu, a New Jersey detective. According to Tony, Barry was taking orders from a criminal named Jilly Ruffalo, who had his eye gouged out by Dickie. Even though Christopher doesn’t really buy Tony’s story, he follows orders and kills Barry.
However, as The Many Saints of Newark reveals, neither Barry nor Jilly is to blame for Dickie Moltisanti’s death, as it was Junior Soprano who ordered the hit. This brings into question whether Tony was lying to Christopher about how Dickie was killed, or if not, how the eventual DiMeo boss, who tends to find out everything eventually, does not know the truth about Junior’s hand in Dickie’s assassination. If Tony Soprano eventually found out the truth, this would explain the difficult relationship that Tony has with his nephew Christopher, as well as the tension between Tony and Junior. However, given the relationship dynamics present throughout the original show, it seems unlikely that Tony really knew the truth about Dickie Moltisanti, and that Tony Soprano and Christopher’s strained relationship can be attributed to other factors.
It’s Unknown How Much Tony Knew About Dickie’s Murder
It’s possible that Junior, along with whoever else knows about how he killed Dickie, could have already made compromises with Tony sometime between Many Saints and The Sopranos. On the other hand, Tony could have certainly used the facts surrounding Dickie’s death to gain leverage over Junior during their feud in the earlier seasons of The Sopranos. Moreover, as Tony looked up to Dickie like a father, it’s unlikely that he would have been able to just stand back and do nothing about it. There would be no way to convince Tony not to move against Junior, which isn’t the case during The Sopranos, in which Tony is actually quite protective of his uncle, even when Junior threatened war.
This raises the possibility that Tony’s story to Christopher about detective Barry Haydu shooting Dickie really is what he believes to be the truth. For all of Junior’s faults, he can be very capable if he needs to, and he could’ve fed Tony lies to cover up his hand in Dickie’s demise. Moreover, the identity of the gunman who carried out the hit is never revealed, which means that he could be anyone, including Barry Haydu — a peppering of truth to cover up a bigger lie. And if this was the case, then Christopher could’ve actually helped Junior tie up the last loose end in the murder of Dickie Moltisanti.
Tony Will Never Find Out Junior Murdered Dickie Moltisanti
Whether Tony knew about Junior killing Dickie remains a mystery — at least, until Sopranos creator David Chase and The Many Saints of Newark director Alan Taylor decide to make a sequel. Sadly, however, it looks like The Many Saints of Newark might be the last project set in the Sopranos canon. Given everything audiences know about the overarching Sopranos arc, it seems unlikely that Tony really knew that his uncle was responsible, but unless more material hits screens there’ll never be a definitive answer. For now, the 20 years between the prequel and the series remain untold. HBO executive Casey Bloys (via The Hollywood Reporter) indicated that “I don’t think David has any interest in revisiting The Sopranos.” before adding “And I would agree with him. It’s a perfect series that I don’t think needs revisiting.”
As The Many Saints of Newark seems to be the last Sopranos project that creator David Chase and his crew were interested in working on, it’s likely that Tony will never find out the hard facts about Dickie Moltisanti’s death. Following the lukewarm reception of The Many Saints of Newark, there were also rumors that HBO executives shot down any plans for a sequel to the movie. Like the very future of the DiMeo crime family, whatever Tony knew about Dickie’s murder will likely forever remain a mystery. This means that there’s plenty of room for The Many Saints of Newark 2 — if it ever gets off the ground —to resolve this huge Sopranos mystery.