While audiences continue to debate the answer, Tony’s fate in The Sopranos series finale has been addressed by longtime show writer Terence Winter. Created by David Chase, the HBO series revolved around mob boss Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, as he attempts to balance his criminal lifestyle with his family life, as well as keeping it under wraps from his kids and law enforcement. Also starring Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Edie Falco, and Tony Sirico, among others, The Sopranos is largely hailed as one of the best TV shows of all-time and putting HBO on the map for prestige television, alongside Sex and the City, Oz, Six Feet Under and The Wire.
In a recent interview with MovieMaker to discuss Paramount+’s Tulsa King, on which he is co-showrunner, Terence Winter shared his thoughts on Tony’s fate in The Sopranos series finale. When presented with David Chase seemingly confirming the character to have died in the diner, the longtime show writer shared his own thoughts on the situation, proving more ambiguous in an outright answer, feeling if it didn’t happen then, it wouldn’t happen long after. See what Winter explained below:
I wasn’t aware that David said that. I always thought that if he didn’t die that night, certainly, that’s kind of his legacy. At some point in this guy’s life, somebody’s going to come out of a bathroom or a doorway, and it’s going to be over. That’s the message that I took away. When you live that life, and when you’re Tony Soprano, even going out for ice cream with your family is fraught with danger. You’re always looking over your shoulder, you’re always suspicious of people. “Who’s that guy? Why is that guy looking at me?” It’s that self-imposed hell that he created for himself because of his life.
Why The Sopranos Finale Remains Divisive
Despite scoring widespread acclaim throughout its run, The Sopranos series finale remains one of the more divisive in TV history for Chase’s decision to cut to black as Tony looked towards the entrance of the diner around the time his daughter, Jamie-Lynn Sigler’s Meadow, was supposed to walk in to meet the family. Audiences have lamented the lack of a direct answer for whether the family would begin to mend the bridges of their relationships, as well as survive Tony’s incoming indictment regarding Carlo’s seemingly turning into an informant for the FBI. The majority of theories regarding Tony’s fate have proven to be on the morose side, believing Tony to have died after the cut to black, with some citing a heart attack, while others speculate hitmen took him out.
Much like John Carpenter surrounding The Thing‘s ending, Chase himself has remained ambiguous on Tony’s fate in The Sopranos series finale in the 15 years since it aired, generally showing disinterest in offering an actual answer or explanation. More recently, while promoting The Many Saints of Newark, some had believed Chase to confirm Tony’s death in the finale, having described imagining the final scene of the show being Tony heading to a meeting where he would “get it.” However, Chase subsequently followed up with a blunt response regarding the matter, saying those who believed it to be true to be working for him, and asking for fans to “stop f—ing asking me.”
Why Tony’s Fate Should Never Be Revealed
Regardless of what the answer may be, some ultimately feel it better for Tony’s fate in The Sopranos series finale to never be revealed. Given audiences can’t seem to agree on what would be a satisfying confirmation for Gandolfini’s character, it seems the better choice for Chase and co. to keep the truth close to their chest, as the debate not only offers further analysis of the hit show, but also letting everyone feel they are right, rather than only confirming one group of theorists to have determined the answer. Audiences can revisit the finale and decide for themselves with the entirety of The Sopranos streaming on HBO Max now.