The Many Saints of Newark, HBO’s new prequel film to The Sopranos, is well-poised to answer certain questions that the series left hanging. Airing from 1999 to 2007 on HBO, The Sopranos is the crime drama series that established the cult of the anti-hero, inspiring the creation and development of shows like Breaking Bad and Dexter to push the concept to mainstream audiences. And throughout its 6 seasons and 86 episodes, The Sopranos not only garnered a huge and devoted following but also raised crucial plot and character-related questions that continue to be debated online today. Based on the trailer for The Many Saints of Newark, along with everything else that’s been revealed about the upcoming prequel movie, long-time fans might just see these questions settled once and for all.
The story of The Sopranos revolves around the life of New Jersey capo-turned-mob-boss Tony Soprano, who was famously played by the late and beloved actor James Gandolfini. His son, Michael Gandolfini, will be playing a younger version of Tony in The Many Saints of Newark, which is set in the ‘60s and ‘70s, around the time of the Newark race riots. It also promises to reveal much about the East Coast criminal underworld, the DiMeo crime family, and their rival gangs which dominated the era. While the film’s trailers heavily feature young Tony Soprano before his days as a made man, The Many Saints of Newark director Alan Taylor has confirmed that the Sopranos prequel will focus on Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), a pivotal character who’s been frequently discussed but never actually appeared in the series. Apart from being Tony’s mentor in the organization, Dickie is also the father of Christopher Moltisanti, Tony’s protege and distant cousin.
In short, The Many Saints of Newark provides fertile grounds for providing answers to some of the most crucial questions left behind by The Sopranos. Although The Many Saints of Newark is a standalone movie, it’s also an in-depth look into the earlier days of the DiMeo crime family, which makes it a much more rewarding watch for long-time Sopranos fans struggling with unanswered questions. What are these questions and how can the prequel address them?
Who Was Dickie Moltisanti?
Throughout The Sopranos, conversations between made men and associates of the New Jersey and New York crime families have revealed sparse details about Dickie. What’s clear is that he’s crucial to Tony and Christopher’s story and that he is regarded as a heroic and highly influential figure among the DiMeo family. However, the rose-colored glasses of mobsters waxing nostalgic about the good old days can only provide so much perspective and insight into who Dickie truly was. And in The Many Saints of Newark, audiences will finally get to see how whether or not Dickie – both as a father and as a made man – actually lived up to the expectations set by Tony and his crew’s grandiose tales.
Did Tony Lie About Dickie’s Murder?
During the latter part of the series, Tony explains to Christopher that Dickie was murdered by Barry Haydu (Tom Mason), a New Jersey detective. According to Tony, a criminal named Jilly Ruffalo killed a close cellmate of Dickie’s in prison, prompting Dickie to retaliate by gouging out one of his eyes, which pushes Jilly to order his death. This happens in season 6 episode 1 of The Sopranos, which is aptly titled “For All Debts Public and Private.” At Tony’s behest, Christopher kills Barry to avenge his father and Tony’s mentor. But even as he was about to pull the trigger, Christopher was unsure whether Tony was telling the truth or simply manipulating him to do some wetwork. As the trailer for The Many Saints of Newark shows Dickie about to take a drill to the eye of an unknown man being held down on a table, there’s a chance that the prequel will finally confirm whether or not Tony was lying.
Who Was Ercole DiMeo?
Ercole “Eckley” DiMeo is an even bigger and more influential unseen character than Dickie Moltisanti. “Old Man” DiMeo founded the DiMeo crime family, of which the Sopranos are just one faction. The entire Sopranos storyline wouldn’t be possible at all without Ercole, who served as the boss from the early ‘50s up to 1995, the year he started serving a life sentence in a high-security Missouri federal facility. This allowed Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispoli) to take on Ercole’s responsibilities as the “acting boss,” a title he insisted on out of respect for the man. All of the most powerful and senior capos in The Sopranos – including Richie Aprile (David Proval), Junior Soprano (Dominic Chianese), and Tony’s father Johnny Boy (Joseph Siravo) – answered to Ercole. He also had a deep trust for Johnny Boy, who might’ve taken over for him had he not succumbed to emphysema in 1986. This trust extended to Tony and Jackie, both of which were identified by Ercole early on as potential replacements as well. Despite his deep involvement in key Sopranos plot points, audiences never actually see or hear from Ercole DiMeo. But with The Many Saints of Newark taking place in an era wherein “Old Man” DiMeo was at his prime, prequel writer and Sopranos creator David Chase might just take this opportunity to finally reveal the big boss.
Was The DiMeo Family Heavily Involved In Drugs?
Much like the real organization that it’s based on, the DiMeo crime family has a complicated history with drug-related activities. In general, drug use is tolerated so long as it doesn’t interfere with business, and if it does, the appropriate taxes should be paid to the right people – with the understanding that involvement in drugs may also result in lengthy prison sentences. Throughout The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark narrator Christopher Moltisanti served as an example of how drug-related activities can quickly become unmanageable. And the DiMeo capos have always shown a reluctance for dealing with drugs. However, was this also the case during the early days? While some made men were more than likely to be involved in the drug trade, were the profits enough for the family to be involved in an actual drug war?
Who Were The DiMeo Family’s Early Rivals?
The Dimeo crime family didn’t get to their place of power in The Sopranos without taking out their rival gangs in Newark. Only a few references to these gangs were made in the show. In The Many Saints of Newark trailer, Harold McBrayer (Leslie Odom Jr.) says “We better do something about Dickie Moltisanti,” followed by McBrayer firing a shotgun in the street. According to David Chase (via Philly Voice), McBrayer is a murderer who escaped prison, ran numbers for Dickie, and later founded his own criminal operation. While the names of the DiMeo family’s rival gangs haven’t been revealed, this suggests that their problems were created by Dickie’s own hubris and ambition.
Who Among Tony’s Crew Were Already Key Members Of The DiMeo Family In The ‘60s And ‘70s?
All the key members of Tony’s original crew in The Sopranos will be appearing in The Many Saints of Newark as their younger selves. In the series, they are portrayed as formidable and highly accomplished gangsters. But in The Many Saints of Newark, these returning Sopranos characters – namely Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (Billy Magnussen), Silvio Dante (John Magaro), and Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero (Samson Moeakiola) – are all several decades greener than their older versions. It’s going to be interesting to see how this crew stacks up to the rest of the ‘60s/70’s DiMeo family lineup.
How Close Was Johnny Boy To Tony And His Crew In Sopranos?
Big Pussy, Silvio, and Paulie all worked with Johnny Boy Soprano back when he was the capo. According to them and Tony, Johnny Boy was not only formidable but also well-loved by his soldiers. Among the members of Tony’s crew, Paulie Walnuts is not only the oldest, he also claimed to have a tight relationship with Johnny Boy. As it’s been confirmed that Paulie appears in The Many Saints of Newark during the prime of his life, it will finally be revealed whether or not he overstated being close with Tony’s father.
How Did Tony and Carmela Meet?
Although Tony’s wife Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) is absent from the trailer, The Sopranos made it clear that they were high school sweethearts. That being said, teenage Tony is still in high school, and there’s plenty of room in The Many Saints of Newark to set up the moment when they meet for the first time.
How Similar Was Carmela To Livia?
One of the most striking elements of the first trailer for The Many Saints of Newark is the appearance of Tony’s mother Livia Soprano. Played by Vera Farmiga, younger Livia has an unmistakable resemblance to Edie Falco’s Carmela. This reinforces a long-standing theory about how Tony chases after women with similarities to his mother. Indeed, apart from looking like Carmela, younger Livia even has the same dismissive snort and nasty retorts that Nancy Marchand’s original Livia wielded to great effect in The Sopranos. And in The Many Saints of Newark, audiences will see just how similar Carmela was to Tony’s imposing mother.
Did Tony Have Panic Attacks As A Teenager?
In season 3 episode 3 of The Sopranos, a flashback reveals that Tony’s first panic attack wasn’t during the pilot episode. Rather, it happened back when he was a kid. After witnessing Johnny Boy and his uncle Junior cut off a man’s finger for failing to pay gambling debts, Tony later faints from a panic attack at home. Although Tony discusses this in detail with Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), the question remains whether or not he suffered other such attacks prior to the one that was shown in the pilot. And as The Many Saints of Newark examines Tony’s teenage years, the prequel could provide more insight into Tony’s condition, which he and Carmela lovingly refer to as the “Soprano family curse.”
What Does Holsten’s Ice Cream Parlor Mean To Tony?
The prequel’s trailer shows young Tony Soprano standing at the doorway of Holsten’s ice cream shop and restaurant. Out of the different notable locations in The Sopranos, Holsten’s is the most mysterious. In fact, this is the location where Tony and his family were last shown in the series finale of The Sopranos. Beyond that, not much else is revealed about the place. Was Holster’s a front for the DiMeo crime family? Was this the place where Tony and Carmela first met? With the ice cream parlor showing up again in The Many Saints of Newark, the true significance of this location might finally be revealed.