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The Many Saints Of Newark’s Leslie Odom Jr. Shares Ominous Thoughts About His Character’s Future

Major spoilers for The Many Saints of Newark lie ahead.

The Many Saints of Newark returns viewers to the universe of The Sopranos and, with the film, comes a number of familiar faces from the acclaimed HBO drama. However, it also introduces a number of new characters into the mobster-filled universe. One of these major additions is Harold McBrayer, played by Hamilton and One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr. By the end of the film, Harold is left in an interesting spot, with his ultimate fate left unclear. Odom Jr. has since provided some thoughts on his character’s future, and they’re pretty ominous. 

Harold McBrayer is introduced as an associate of Dickie Moltisanti in the late ‘60s, during which it’s established that the two have known each other for years. Shortly after the Newark riots, a murder warrant prompts Harold to move to North Carolina, which Dickie approves of. When he returns to New Jersey four years later in the early ‘70s, Harold has no interest in reteaming with Moltisanti and opts to start his own gang instead. This puts the two at odds, as both aim to take out the other. In the end, Dickie is killed, but under Junior Soprano’s orders, while Harold and his family start new lives in a White neighborhood. 

Leslie Odom Jr.’s character is very interesting, and it’s honestly difficult to take your eyes off him whenever he’s on screen. While watching the film, I was most interested in learning more about Harold’s backstory. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Odom Jr. about his work in the film and, during our chat, he explained that he didn’t have many discussions with co-writer David Chase and director Alan Taylor about Harold’s history. However, the actor did develop a backstory of his own:

I didn't talk a lot about it with the guys, I'm sure they had their own ideas, but I learned a long time ago... unless I have questions, you know, like, I enjoy building stuff myself. And then you know, we can work it out, iron out any kind of discrepancies there might be later. But David put so much on the page that I didn't have very many questions. And the ones that I did have I, you know, that's where the creativity comes in, I got to answer them myself. Harold was like part of the Great Migration, which saw six million Black people move from the south to the north between 1910-1970. And he came up north to make a better life for his family and for himself.

As previously mentioned, Harold ultimately achieved that goal. He also no longer has to worry about the presence of Dickie Moltisanti. However, when speaking about what may have happened to McBrayer after the events of the movie, Leslie Odom Jr. noted that his character may not be in the clear:

And I think afterwards, after this movie ends, we probably... Somebody said, ‘You know, oh, Harold, you know, Harold old wins in the end.’ Not to give anything away, but I said, ‘You know, I don't know in a David Chase world if there are any winners, to be honest. I mean, you win for the moment, and then, you know, the life leads to what the life leads to.

It’s totally possible that Harold could’ve lived a long life post-Many Saints of Newark. But as the actor mentioned, this is David Chase’s world and true happy endings are few and far between. Considering how great a character Harold is, it would be great to see him show up in another Sopranos-related project. Chase did just recently sign an overall deal with HBO, so such a project could be a possibility. And based on Leslie Odom Jr. 's love for the character, chances are he’d be down to reprise his role

The Many Saints of Newark is currently playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max until October 31.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.