The Many Saints of Newark reunited viewers with many characters from The Sopranos, showing what their lives were like many years before the events of the series, and here’s every young version of them and who plays them. HBO has been home to some of the most popular and successful TV shows ever, and one that continues to be regarded as one of the greatest ever made is The Sopranos, created by David Chase, and which premiered in 1999 and came to an end in 2007 after six seasons.
Set in New Jersey and New York City between 1998 and 2007, The Sopranos followed Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he did his best to balance his family life and his role as boss of the Soprano family. However, Tony soon found himself at odds with his wife Carmela (Edie Falco), his uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese), the Lupertazzi family, and other members of the Soprano family. The success of The Sopranos made way for other media to either expand on the stories of the characters or simply keep the spirit of the show going, with three companion books, a video game, and different podcasts – and now fans can learn more about Tony Soprano’s backstory with the prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark.
Directed by Alan Taylor, The Many Saints of Newark takes the audience back to the 1960s and 1970s to explore the backstory of young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini), with the 1967 Newark riots as a backdrop. As rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city, Tony’s uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), struggles to manage his professional and personal responsibilities, and his influence over Tony will be key in him becoming a powerful mob boss. Being a prequel to The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark features the younger versions of various characters from the main series – and here’s every one of them and who plays them.
Tony Soprano – Michael & James Gandolfini
Tony Soprano was played by James Gandolfini in The Sopranos and is now played by his son, Michael Gandolfini, in The Many Saints of Newark. The movie explores Tony’s relationship with his uncle, Dickie, and his early associations with the mob, all of which led to him becoming a capo in the DiMeo crime family, as seen in the first season of The Sopranos, and was later promoted to street boss.
Johnny Soprano – Jon Bernthal & Joseph Siravo
Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano was played by Joseph Siravo in The Sopranos and Jon Bernthal in The Many Saints of Newark. Johnny Soprano was Tony’s father, a master stonemason who helped build a church in Newark and went on to become a capo in the DiMeo family. Johnny was sent to prison when Tony was young but eventually returned and reunited with his family. Johnny died of emphysema in 1986, and so he appeared in The Sopranos in flashbacks.
Junior Soprano – Corey Stoll & Dominic Chianese
Corrado John “Junior” Soprano Jr. was played by Dominic Chianese in The Sopranos and Corey Stoll in The Many Saints of Newark. Junior was Johnny’s older brother and Tony’s uncle, and he dropped out of high school to turn to a life of organized crime, so he joined the DiMeo crime family. Junior took over as caporegime of Johnny’s crew when the latter was sent to prison and had a strong bond with Dickie, but when Johnny returned and urged him to follow Dickie’s “example” as he let his neighborhood fall apart, he started seeing Dickie as a rival. Following Johnny’s death, Junior watched over Tony and guided his accession to the crime family when Tony took over his father’s crew.
Livia Soprano – Vera Farmiga & Nancy Marchand
Nancy Marchand played Livia Soprano in The Sopranos, while Vera Farmiga played the younger version of the character in The Many Saints of Newark. Livia Pollio grew up poor, and her marriage to Johnny Soprano was her ticket out of her parents’ house – however, life as a housewife was unfulfilling for her, and she felt overwhelmed by her children (Janice, Tony, and Barbara) and unappreciated by her husband. Livia was manipulative, self-absorbed, enjoyed making people miserable, and struggled to connect and get along with Tony.
Silvio Dante – John Magaro & Steven Van Zandt
Silvio Dante was played by Steven Van Zandt in The Sopranos and John Magaro in The Many Saints of Newark. Silvio was a childhood friend of Tony and got involved in all types of trouble with him and Jackie Aprile Sr. Silvio often mediated situations between Tony’s men as he was the most level-headed of his associates, so it was only natural that he became Tony’s consigliere and right-hand man.
Paulie Walnuts – Billy Magnussen & Tony Sirico
Tony Sirico played Peter Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in The Sopranos and Billy Magnussen played the younger version in The Many Saints of Newark. At the age of 17, Walnuts became an enforcer/bodyguard for Johnny Soprano and went on to become one of the chief henchmen of Tony, and he was one of his most ruthless and reckless associates.
Pussy Bonpensiero – Samson Moekiola & Vincent Pastore
Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero was played by Vincent Pastore in The Sopranos and Samson Moekiola in The Many Saints of Newark. Pussy Bonpensiero was one of Tony’s closest friends as well as a mob enforcer for him, and he was also close to Junior Soprano. However, in order to send his children to college, Pussy dealt heroin on the side, and to avoid life in prison, he cooperated with the FBI and informed against the Soprano crew, which Tony eventually learned of.
Artie Bucco – Robert Vincent Montano & John Ventimiglia
Arthur “Artie” Bucco Jr. was played by John Ventimiglia in The Sopranos and Robert Vincent Montano in The Many Saints of Newark. Artie was a childhood friend of Tony, restaurateur, and chef, and even though they had been friends for years, their relationship hit several low points many times, starting in The Sopranos season 1 when Tony burns his restaurant to prevent Junior from killing “Little Pussy” Malanga at the restaurant.
Carmela De Angelis – Lauren DiMario & Edie Falco
Carmela De Angelis was played by Edie Falco in The Sopranos and Lauren DiMario in The Many Saints of Newark. Carmela was Tony’s high school sweetheart, and they got married at a young age. Carmela is the mother of Meadow and Anthony “A.J.” Soprano, and while she’s obviously aware of their wealth being built on “blood money”, she does her best to create a semblance of legitimacy for her family. Carmela’s relationship with Tony isn’t exactly smooth, especially due to his infidelity and work, but they often reconcile.
Jackie Aprile – Chase Vacnin & Michael Rispoli
Giacomo “Jackie” Aprile Sr. was played by Michael Rispoli in The Sopranos and Chase Vacnin in The Many Saints of Newark. Jackie was another close friend of Tony Soprano, who often got into trouble with him and Silvio Dante. With time, he rose through the ranks of the DiMeo family and was the acting boss from 1995 to 1999, when he died of cancer, and was succeeded by Junior Soprano.
Janice Soprano – Alexandra Intrator & Aida Turturro
Aida Turturro played Janice Soprano in The Sopranos and Alexandra Intrator played the younger version in The Many Saints of Newark. Janice is Tony’s elder sister, and her father often used her as a cover to conduct criminal activities, leading a young Tony to believe she was their father’s favorite. Janice was rebellious and has a very callous nature, so she and Tony didn’t have a close relationship, with the latter resenting her for abandoning the family and leaving him in charge of their abusive mother.