Seeing The Sopranos creator confirming Tony died in the series’ final scene betrays the show’s otherwise perfect ending. The Sopranos is still one of the most celebrated television dramas of all time, with the HBO series taking home a mammoth 21 Primetime Emmy awards across its six seasons. While The Sopranos‘ notorious “smash cut to black” finale was divisive at the time of release, the ending scene of season six has since been praised for its subtlety, which still leaves ample room for interpretation some 14 years after The Sopranos‘ end
Yet Sopranos creator David Chase has finally put paid to the debate surrounding Tony’s fate in the aftermath of The Many Saints of Newark‘s release. Chase stated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter Podcast that he had always planned for Tony to die at the end of The Sopranos on his way to “a meeting at which he was going to be killed.” In this same interview, Chase later goes on to reveal that The Sopranos‘ final, iconic diner scene was not the place he had initially planned for Tony to meet his end, with Chase instead inspired to use some form of eatery after driving by a breakfast shack on Ocean Park Boulevard.
However, David Chase’s confirmation that Tony does, in fact, die at the end of The Sopranos betrays the series’ ending, which was already the perfect coda to a seminal TV show. The true genius of The Sopranos‘ ending is that despite its open-ended nature, it connotes Tony’s eventual death without using any overt violence or ham-fisted metaphors, while also allowing ambiguity regarding when exactly Tony is killed whether in the context of the diner or elsewhere. The broader message of The Sopranos‘ ending is that Tony is now forever destined to be looking over his shoulder, which is diluted by Chase’s confirmation that Tony was written to die while at dinner.
Despite The Sopranos‘ series finale airing over 14 years ago, the iconic diner scene remains one of the most-discussed elements of the series due to its cut-to-black ending. David Chase himself has certainly contributed to The Sopranos finale’s notoriety, with the creator’s previously unbroken silence leaving ample ambiguity as to the true meaning of the HBO series’ final scene. The beauty of The Sopranos‘ ending is that despite Chase’s prior silence, it does confirm Tony’s eventual death (whether in the diner or not), with the choices he has made and his status as the DiMeo crime boss hastening his inevitable demise.
Chase’s admission that Tony was always destined to die in The Sopranos‘ final scene, therefore, robs the series of its lasting impact and mystique that has endured for the past 14 years. The Sopranos was, and is, a cultural phenomenon that was only enhanced by the series finale granting its audiences the ability to ruminate on Tony’s final fate themselves. Chase confirming the cut to black is only a substitute for Tony’s on-screen death robs The Sopranos of the nuance that embodied the entirety of the HBO series’ carefully crafted narrative.