Though it debuted decades ago — in fact, at the end of the last century — The hit HBO series, The Sopranos, will never be old news in the minds of television’s creative teams. The game-changing series left a legacy that every later series strived to live up to. While the new standards set by the success of The Sopranos resulted in some seriously fantastic series, such as Breaking Bad and The Wire, nothing quite filled the hole in the hearts of Soprano fans — until now. Though not an ongoing series, fans of The Sopranos have a chance to once again visit the world of organized crime through the eyes of the iconic mobster they’ve never quite forgotten. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Tony Soprano’s early days, now is the time. You can stream the 2021 prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark right now on HBO Max.
The American crime drama film written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner and directed by Alan Taylor takes viewers back decades before The Sopranos began, to a coming-of-age story like no other.
The Gandolfini Legacy Lives On
The Many Saints of Newark revives some of our favorite characters including Uncle Junior, Pussy Bonpensiero, and — best of all — future crime boss, Tony Soprano, as he takes his first steps on the path to becoming the moody mobster we know and love. According to film writer David Chase, when approached about writing a continuation of the Sopranos story, he initially balked, thwarted by the sad fact of James Gandolfini’s untimely death. The actor portrayed fan-favorite Tony Soprano throughout the six-season series. The unavoidable question was, “How could there be a Sopranos story without Tony Soprano?” The answer came when Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, came of age. Though Michael Gandolfini auditioned for the role along with many other contenders for the part, he clearly inherited his father’s talent for bringing Tony Soprano to life, as well as inheriting his father’s looks, winning him the role of a lifetime.
Michael Gandolfini states that he’d never watched The Sopranos and finally viewed the entire series before auditioning for the part — a process he describes as “intense,” as it involved “saying hello and goodbye again to his father.”
According to director Alan Taylor, Gandolfini’s study of his father’s role as Tony Soprano was so complete that they occasionally had to reshoot a scene if the young Gandolfini played the role too much like an experienced gangster since the series set in 1967 depicts Tony as a young man still on the threshold of his later involvement in his father’s shady business.
Where to Watch Teen Tony in The Many Saints of Newark
The Many Saints of Newark takes viewers back to the Newark, New Jersey of the 1960s and ‘70s, a time and place where mafia rule was at its peak. The storyline centers around 1967, a year when Dickie Moltisanti, father of The Sopranos’ tragic character, Christopher Moltisanti, led the crime syndicate alongside Junior Soprano with the help of soldiers, Pauli Gualtieri, Silvio Dante, and “Pussy” Bonpensiero. It also happens to be the year of the 4-day Newark race riots, a fact that contributed to writer David Chase’s decision to work on The Sopranos‘ prequel with a setting during this important historical moment.
You can watch The Many Saints of Newark right now with your HBO Max subscription and rejoin the world of legacy character, Tony Soprano, on the gritty streets of Newark where it all began. Then continue the story by streaming all 6 seasons of the 1999-2007 series, The Sopranos, also available on HBO Max.