First footage from The Many Saints of Newark shows a young Tony Soprano getting into a fistfight. Even though it went off the air in 2007, ending with one of the most iconic and frustrating finales in history, HBO’s mob series The Sopranos continues to enthrall its original fans while garnering whole new generations of devotees captivated by its depiction of mob life.
Telling the story of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, played by Emmy-winner James Gandolfini, The Sopranos did more than just riff on prior gangster dramas like Goodfellas and The Godfather as it captured a certain moment in American history with what now looks like uncanny insight. Now over thirteen years after The Sopranos ended with its unforgettable cut to black, the show’s creator David Chase is revisiting Tony Soprano and his family for a prequel film set in the 1960s and 70s. The Many Saints of Newark stars Gandolfini’s son Michael as the young Tony, along with Jon Bernthal as Johnny Boy Soprano, Vera Farmiga as Livia, Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, Leslie Odom Jr. and Ray Liotta.
Originally set for release in September 2020, The Many Saints of Newark like many a film was pushed back due to COVID, and will now hit theaters and HBO Max simultaneously on September 24, 2021. As part of a recently released teaser video, HBO Max gave Sopranos fans their first decent glimpse of Michael Gandolfini as the young Tony. The brief look at Tony can be seen at the 21 second mark of the clip in the space below:
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The glimpse of Michael Gandolfini as young “Antonio” Soprano is indeed very brief, as it shows the younger Tony flashing his hot-head tendencies by taking a swing at another character. The identity of that other character is hard to pin down given the lack of confirmation about which actors are playing who in the film, but the actor on the receiving end of Tony’s anger in the scene appears to be Chase Vacnin, who is rumored to play Jackie Aprile Sr. in the film. Sopranos fans of course know that the elder Jackie began the original show as the head of the New Jersey mob but passed away from cancer, leaving Tony in charge (with Uncle Junior as the figurehead who was allowed to play at being boss in order to deflect law enforcement attention away from Tony). Indeed, the scene briefly teased in the above footage was also capture in behind-the-scenes snaps posted in some tabloids, and showed the young Tony having a full on fight with the other character while a young woman looked on.
It remains to be confirmed who the other character is getting a beating from Tony in the scene, but if it is Jackie Aprile, it will be interesting to see what exactly set off the violence between the two friends and future mob allies. Violence indeed is expected to play a big part in The Many Saints of Newark, as the film depicts 1960s race riots in the New Jersey city of the title, as well as showing the violence inflicted by budding gangsters like Tony Soprano.