With The Many Saints of Newark on the horizon, the Sopranos prequel is set to explain a key part of Silvio Dante’s character: his hair. Both consigliere (or “advisor”) and childhood friend of the titular mob boss Tony Soprano, Silvio almost cartoonishly possesses the aura of a classic movie mobster: he dresses impeccably, he smirks both warmly and menacingly, and his hair is always slick and shiny. Much to the amusement of his fellow mafiosi, Silvio even imitates other classic pop cultural mafia icons, namely The Godfather’s Al Pacino. However, similar to Pacino, something’s not quite right about Silvio’s hairline.
Portrayed by Steven Van Zandt in The Sopranos, Silvio became one of the show’s very early star attractions, thanks in large part to his signature so-good-it’s-bad hairdo. No doubt, wigs and hairpieces are a necessary staple of TV and film. Yet, what’s notable about Silvio’s largely unacknowledged hairpiece is how seemingly intentionally bad it is. Perhaps an emblem of his character’s vanity or his innate instinct for show business (after all, Silvio does employ aspiring starlets as chief operator of the Bada Bing! club), his coifed hairpiece has inspired fan speculation for over a decade.
While it remains to be seen how much of Silvio’s backstory will be revealed in The Many Saints of Newark, the movie trailer does offer a brief glimpse of a young Silvio, played by actor John Magaro, with a combover, clearly going bald. Magaro’s younger, balding Silvio is seen in the familiar position of counting stacks of (likely illicit) money, with his look explaining the signature hairpiece he wore on the The Sopranos.
This shot starkly contrasts not only with the slick Sil viewers came to love but also with a low-quality photo of Magaro’s Silvio from The Many Saints of Newark‘s set, where he was spotted with a full head of boisterous (presumably artificial) hair. The combination of the trailer and set photo suggests the film will not only give more backstory on Silvio’s hair but perhaps show the full origin story of his hairpiece.
Needless to say, those who love the original series are eager to learn more about Silvio in The Many Saints of Newark and see Magaro’s take on the classic character. With six seasons of acclaimed storytelling, The Sopranos has already provided enough insight into its characters to keep audiences busy for decades to come. Certainly, half the TV series’ magic comes from the show’s intelligent use of subtly and suggestion. All the same, while many viewers are hopeful that returning Sopranos writers David Chase and Lawrence Konner will maintain much of the secrecy and ambiguity essential to the show, they’re equally excited to learn more about characters like Silvio.