HBO's The Sopranos is widely considered one of the best shows in television history, and it is one of a few series that are credited with kicking off that medium's current golden age. The series ended in 2007 with TV's most controversial finale this side of Lost, but fans have always hoped for some sort of movie or return to the world brought to life by series creator David Chase. Now, more than a decade after it went off the air, The Sopranos is getting a prequel movie from David Chase, tentatively titled The Many Saints of Newark.
New Line has purchased the script for The Many Saints of Newark, written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner. The prequel will be set in New Jersey in the 1960's during the Newark riots. The race riots will provide the backdrop for the conflicts between the African-American and Italian gangsters. According to Deadline, David Chase will serve as producer and will also have a hand in choosing who directs the script that he co-wrote. There are no real plot details yet, but the time period will allow for the film to explore some of the history of the crime family that we spent six seasons with. Tony Soprano's father, Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano, was only seen in flashbacks and dream sequences in the series, but this prequel may allow fans to really get to know the man that Tony had such a complicated relationship with. The Many Saints of Newark may also give us a chance to meet younger versions of Tony's mother, Livia, and the always-entertaining Uncle Junior.
As The Many Saints of Newark will be a feature film and not an HBO TV movie, I am curious how it will be marketed and if the title might be changed to include that Sopranos name for brand recognition purposes. It's been 11 years since The Sopranos went off the air, and while I'm sure this movie will stand on its own, the real sell here is for the expansion of The Sopranos mythology. Thanks to binge-watching and streaming, the show's fans have only grown in number since the series went off the air. You don't see a lot of these type of "wise guy" gangster stories anymore, and especially not on the big screen. Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is on the way, but as a Netflix film that may only be a limited theatrical release.
Returning to the world of The Sopranos and organized crime on the big screen is definitely something to be excited about. And there is no way I would want to see this from anyone but David Chase. Now if only we can get that Deadwood movie in front of cameras. We'll keep you updated when we hear more about casting, director and release date for The Many Saints of Newark.