Tony Soprano’s mother, Livia Soprano, is one of the overarching villains of The Sopranos, but the show’s original plan for the character could have changed everything for Tony. Early seasons of The Sopranos heavily focused on Tony’s conflict with his mother, with Livia being one of the big reasons Tony decided to go into therapy. However, while Livia Soprano made her mark in the first three seasons of The Sopranos, things almost went very differently for her and Tony.
The Sopranos follows Tony Soprano, a big-time mob boss who starts going to therapy to get a grasp on his life, his family, and his job as the head of a crime family. Although the villains of The Sopranos mostly comprise other mob bosses, Tony’s mother is the series’ main overarching antagonist throughout the first three seasons. While Livia Soprano was killed off in The Sopranos season 3, the series originally had a much bigger plan for her, which would have changed the course of Tony’s story.
Livia Soprano Was Originally Supposed To Testify Against Tony
In an interview with Deadline, The Sopranos creator David Chase explained his original plans for Livia, going in-depth on what the character would have done if she wasn’t killed off in season 3. One major storyline in The Sopranos revolves around two fraudulent airline tickets that Tony gives to his mother. When Livia attempts to fly to Tijuana, she is detained, with the FBI getting involved in the case of the stolen tickets. Due to how the events played out, Livia knew about the tickets, giving her a lot of leverage over Tony.
Although this never came to fruition, David Chase originally planned for Livia to testify against Tony while he was on trial for the fraudulent airline tickets. Although Tony is typically pretty good at covering things up, Livia’s testimony could have been enough to get Tony locked up, ending his criminal activities. In addition, testifying against Tony would have been perfectly in line with Livia’s character. However, the series sadly didn’t have enough time to explore this arc.
Why The Sopranos Changed The Original Livia Storyline
While the series had bigger plans for Livia Soprano, the character’s story was sadly cut short when actress Nancy Marchand passed away on June 18, 2000. This was still early in the show’s six-season run, meaning that much of Livia’s storyline had to be written out of the show. Upon Marchand’s death, Livia was still alive in The Sopranos, meaning that the series had to figure out how to get rid of the character.
The Sopranos changed Livia Soprano’s storyline in a pretty groundbreaking way. The Sopranos season 3 brought the character back one final time, with Tony’s mother being CGI in her final scene. The CGI Livia used archival recordings of Nancy Marchand to pull off the illusion, with it actually looking pretty convincing for a TV show in the early 2000s. Livia Soprano later died offscreen, ending her The Sopranos storyline much earlier than originally anticipated.