Sopranos director Alan Taylor says that he believes Tony Soprano died in the hit HBO series’ infamously ambiguous ending. Taylor directed nine episodes of the award-winning mob drama, including the season 6 episodes “Kennedy and Heidi,” for which he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and “The Blue Comet” – the show’s penultimate episode. Tony’s fate continues to be a matter of hot debate among fans, but Taylor has his own opinion on what happened at the end of The Sopranos.
When The Sopranos first premiered on HBO in 1999, it shot a bolt of lightning through the television industry. The series’ cinematic quality, intensity, and narrative complexity quickly pushed it into the upper echelon of TV shows, where it still remains in the minds of many. Scholars and fans often point to The Sopranos as one of the big catalysts for the modern “Golden Age of Television,” which has expanded rapidly with the advent of streaming. And in the decade and a half since the show went off the air, no part of The Sopranos has been discussed more than the infamous fade-to-black ending, which left Tony’s fate unclear.
Speaking recently with THR, Taylor discussed his work on The Sopranos, its impact on his career, and his own thoughts on how the show ends. The director, who’s helming the upcoming Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, explained that a sequel to the show could never happen, as it would have to reveal what actually happened in the final scene and whether or not Tony died. Taylor then said that, in his opinion, Tony Soprano absolutely died at the end of the show.
Though it was highly controversial when it first aired, the Sopranos finale has become an intrinsic part of the series’ lasting appeal. The ambiguity of Tony’s fate is as much a central component of the story as anything else that happens across the show’s six seasons, and there might not be as much contemporary discussion about The Sopranos if the ending had been more explicit. Still, it makes sense why some diehard fans would have preferred a decisive ending to the story.
Taylor’s belief that Tony died in The Sopranos’ final scene is not an uncommon opinion. And in many ways, such a death would have been a fitting end to the character’s arc through the show. The Many Saints of Newark will provide some new details about how a young Tony Soprano got to that point in his life, but it won’t shed any light on whether or not he survived the end of season 6. What actually happened at the end of The Sopranos will likely remain a mystery forever.