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The Sopranos Creator Reveals How Original Ending Handled Fate Of James Gandolfini's Tony

Tony Soprano
(Image credit: HBO)

The Sopranos is arguably one of, if not the, greatest American television show to ever exist. The HBO mafia hit came to an end in 2007 and one of the best mysteries is still being talked about today: what became of James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. And now the creator, David Chase, is revealing how the original ending handled his fate as opposed to the alternate ending, the one that was used.

In the final minutes of the series finale, all seemed well as the Sopranos meet at a diner, listening to “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. Meadow arrives late, having parking troubles, and when she enters the diner, the bell rings, Tony looks up and the screen cuts to black. No fade out, no voice overs, nothing. It was a risky move and fans are still upset they never saw what actually happened, which is the supposed death of Tony.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, David Chase explained the original scene he had in mind:

Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed.

It's definitely interesting to know that there was a different ending for The Sopranos and it could have made all the more difference for how people would view the series. The cut to black ending was all people talked about at the time in 2007 and David Chase mentioned that it was simply because people wanted to see what had happened to Tony, they wanted confirmation:

They wanted to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know? And I just thought, ‘God, you watched this guy for seven years and I know he’s a criminal. But don’t tell me you don’t love him in some way, don’t tell me you’re not on his side in some way. And now you want to see him killed? You want justice done? You’re a criminal after watching this shit for seven years.’ That bothered me, yeah.

There have been plenty of series finales that either didn’t satisfy fans or didn’t get that same reaction that other episodes have gotten. The Sopranos series finale was beautifully done and the ending only proved how risky the series is. While it’s not the original ending that David Chase planned on, it only made fans want more and talk about the series even more. Not everything works as planned but sometimes it’s for the better.

Megan Behnke

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.