An iconic moment, The Sopranos fans screamed at their TV in unison when the last scene of the series finale saw Tony and Carmela Soprano having a meal in a diner when someone entered and the screen cut to black, leaving the mafia family head’s fate unclear. While the subject has been speculated on ever since, and with the arrival of The Many Saints of Newark, series creator David Chase took the opportunity to clear up exactly what happened to Tony when the screen fell dark and how the result was always his plan, even if the cut to black ending was not.
When asked in a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter about mentioning previously that he had the final scene in mind for years, David Chase said that it wasn’t quite as simple as that. “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.”
Questioned when the actual ending came about, Chase explained, “But I think I had this notion – I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, “Tony should get it in a place like that.” Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before.”
With everyone fixated on the final scene, it didn’t bother Chase that people were talking about it, although it did annoy him that so many people wanted to actually see Tony die on screen.
“I had no idea it would cause that much – I mean, I forget what was going on in Iraq or someplace; London had been bombed! Nobody was talking about that; they were talking about The Sopranos. It was kind of incredible to me. But I had no idea it would be that much of an uproar. And was it annoying? What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me. 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.”
At least all of those people believing that Tony could have somehow managed to avoid the hit was clearly on at the end of the series, the truth is now out there and the “lovable criminal” did indeed meet his maker during that fateful meal. With The Many Saints of Newark now seeming to have set up a new series about the younger days of Tony and those around him, we know where his story began and how it ended, but what happened in between is a whole new story to tell. This story originated at The Hollywood Reporter.