Thanks to new footage from CinemaCon in Las Vegas, audiences now know that at least one scene in the upcoming The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark will feature a surprising cameo from Christopher Moltisanti. After the events of the final season of the archetypal Mafia drama, Christopher’s appearance might seem slightly surprising. However, there are actually several compelling reasons why Tony Soprano’s nephew might play a prominent role in the upcoming prequel.
15 years after the original HBO series came to a dramatic and divisive conclusion, The Many Saints of Newark will chart the rise of the Soprano crime family. Featuring a young Tony Soprano, the film will also include younger versions of other classic characters from throughout the series, including Tony’s mother and father, Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri, and Corrado “Junior” Soprano. There will also be a prominent role for Christopher’s father, Dickie Moltisanti – regularly described as a mentor and father figure to Tony throughout the series.
The prospect of Christopher Moltisanti returning alongside these other characters is certainly tantalizing for fans. However, there is a big question mark over how a character that was murdered by Tony during the season 6 denouement and wasn’t even born during the events of the new movie could possibly provide narration. According to reports from CinemaCon, Christopher’s voiceover states, “The little fat kid is my uncle, Tony Soprano. Well, we call him my uncle, by marriage. He choked me to death.” This could hint at a complex plot device in place throughout the film. However, upon closer inspection, it’s clear that there are several good reasons why Christopher may play a key role in the movie.
The first factor to consider is the absence of the irreplaceable James Gandolfini. After the actor’s untimely death in 2013 at the age of 51, any prospect of the star reprising his legendary role as Tony Soprano was understandably extinguished. However, considering the shadow he casts over the entire Sopranos franchise, Gandolfini’s presence is impossible to ignore. In fact, not only does the first Many Saints of Newark trailer featured old audio from Gandolfini, but the mantle of Tony Soprano in the film is being assumed by none other than Gandolfini’s real son, Michael. Therefore, because of the close relationship between Christopher and Tony in the original series, the narration could be a way to pay tribute to Tony’s role in making The Sopranos what it is and recognizing his contribution vicariously through the character of Christopher.
A second possibility behind Christopher’s narration is hidden in the title of the film itself. Moltisanti actually translates as “many saints”, which, given the film’s title, suggests that it is the Moltisantis rather than the Sopranos that will be the main focus of the drama. Therefore, having a Moltisanti that the audience is already familiar with providing narration aptly reflects the film’s cryptic title and may shed some light on the wider Moltisanti family as the narrative unfolds.
We also know that The Sopranos creator David Chase is unafraid of using dead characters in creative ways. In the original series, for instance, Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero regularly features in a variety of dream sequences and flashbacks long after his death at the end of season 2. It’s possible that Christopher’s return could serve a similar purpose. While the answers won’t become clear until the film comes out, the character’s return in The Many Saints of Newark is undeniably intriguing.