Director Alan Taylor explains why there will never be a sequel to The Sopranos. It’s been nearly fifteen years since The Sopranos ended with one of the most famous and controversial endings on television. Created by David Chase, the HBO crime drama series dominated television during its run from 1999 to 2007. It revolutionized the antihero concept in American TV that paved the way for shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad. James Gandolfini’s iconic performance as mob boss and family man Tony Soprano is still often lauded as one of the greatest in television history, and even after the actor’s tragic passing in 2013, Tony’s story is still being told.
Michael Gandolfini, the son of James Gandolfini, will play a high-school aged Tony Soprano in the upcoming Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark. The movie, which will simultaneously release in theaters and on HBO Max on October 1, will give a look into the iconic gangster’s formative years in Newark, New Jersey during the 1967 race riot. Along with Gandolfini, the film also stars John Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr., Corey Stoll, Billy Magnusson, John Magaro and Ray Liotta. The Sopranos showrunner, Chase, returned to co-write the prequel, and veteran director Alan Taylor helmed the film. With the movie taking place before the events of The Sopranos, Taylor explains why that was the only option for a Sopranos film.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Taylor discussed The Many Saints of Newark, revealing why the film is a prequel and could never be a sequel to The Sopranos. Taylor said that Chase would never allow a sequel to be made, as it would have to “explain what happened in that room,” referring to the very last scene of The Sopranos finale. Fans have theorized what that ambiguous ending was supposed to mean, which Taylor also revealed he believes means that Tony is dead.
The last few minutes of the series finale, titled “Made in America,” showed Tony meeting his family at a diner. In a strangely tense scene, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” plays on the jukebox as Tony watches various customers coming into the restaurant. When Tony’s daughter, the last family member to arrive, opens the door, Tony looks up and the scene suddenly cute to black. Viewers were flabbergasted, thinking their cable had cut out as there are a few moments of black screen before the end credits cut in. While the scene initially had audiences adding the show to Top 10 Worst TV Show Endings lists, fans eventually came to understand and appreciate the ambiguous ending, still analyzing its meaning to this day. The choice of song even had Sopranos fans theorizing about its different meanings in context to the show.
Since the show’s ending, Chase has declared that he has no desire to ever explain or interpret the show’s ending, rather letting fans decide for themselves what happened. While the most common theory is that Tony was killed, the ending has still left fans debating over what really happened. While some viewers may appreciate a solid and clear conclusion to a series, others prefer an open-ended one that leaves room for engaging conversation. While a sequel would be nice for fans to see the return of some beloved characters from The Sopranos, it would ruin what Chase intended for the show’s ending.