The Sopranos creator David Chase reveals HBO wants him to make a new prequel series. His original show for the premium network aired from 1999-2007 and is frequently named among the best in television history. A prequel film written by Chase and directed by Sopranos-regular Alan Taylor, The Many Saints of Newark, released in theaters and on HBO Max earlier this year.
The Sopranos used the simple conceit of a mobster going to therapy to explore characters that are considered to have set a new bar for complexity on the small screen, with Tony Soprano becoming the gold standard for the many antiheroic protagonists that would follow. From the moment the show’s ambiguous ending first aired, many fans have hoped for some form of return to Chase’s storyworld, and The Many Saints of Newark was the first time the creator was willing to revisit his previous work. While the film was not centered around a young Tony, he did play a supporting role, along with multiple characters who were prominent in the original series.
Now, Chase tells THR, HBO wants a new series that continues what The Many Saints of Newark started. Though the film was not successful in theaters, he says, it did significant numbers on HBO Max, and WarnerMedia is eager to create more Sopranos-inspired content for its streaming service. The suggested prequel series, Chase shares, would cover the time-gap between the recent film and the original show:
Well, of course, the movie didn’t do well in theaters, but it, like, broke the machine on streaming — it was huge. So now they want me to do another series of Sopranos from the time the movie ends until the time the series begins.
While there is no guarantee the Sopranos prequel show could re-gather the cast of The Many Saints of Newark, many of whom have busy schedules, the network would almost certainly pursue Michael Gandolfini to reprise his version of Tony. Much of the press for Taylor’s film centered on Gandolfini’s casting in the role made famous by his late father, James Gandolfini, and he became the subject of particular praise following the movie’s release. While it’s unclear if he would return to the role for such an extensive amount of time, audiences likely won’t get the chance to find out – Chase goes on to say that he is uninterested in the suggested project, wanting instead to make another film within The Sopranos‘ universe.
While the creator’s resistance makes a Sopranos prequel series improbable, the idea should have fans salivating. Whatever one thinks of The Many Saints of Newark as a standalone project, it offered the chance to experience moments that were only talked about in the original show, with the younger-Gandolfini’s Tony and Vera Farmiga’s Livia Soprano recapturing some of the magic of their fraught mother-son dynamic. Before this prequel film, many fans of The Sopranos might have been hesitant to retread on sacred ground, but if a new show with those two stars were announced tomorrow, it would immediately become one of TV’s most anticipated.