The Sopranos is coming back, but it’s going to look a lot different. According to Deadline, the legendary HBO series, considered one of the best TV shows of all time, is about to get a prequel movie. New Line has recently purchased a screenplay from show creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner entitled The Many Saints of Newark. The movie is set in New Jersey in the 1960s. As Deadline notes, that’s a time when African-American and Italian gangsters were in a war that left many dead on both sides. It’s not clear from the Deadline article whether that deadly rivalry will be the focus of the prequel movie, but based on other media reports, it’s a possibility.
Younger versions of Sopranos characters are set to appear in the film, although the identities of these characters have not been confirmed as yet. Based on the time period, they could include Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew and his uncle, Junior. A younger version of Tony’s wife Livia could also make an appearance.
During its six-season run from 1999 to 2007, The Sopranos took home 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and two Peabody Awards. It’s considered one of the seminal TV shows that many believe laid the thematic foundations for other groundbreaking programs that followed, like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and House Of Cards. The show made stars out of a number of its actors, most notably the late James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano. Gandolfini died in 2013 from a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
David Chase will act as executive producer and co-writer, but there’s been no director connected to the project as yet.
Shooting The Sopranos for six seasons was no easy feat for Chase and his team. As GQ reports, the role was an especially grueling one for Gandolfini, who disappeared into the role of Tony and spent long hours working up the fury and emotional nuance that the character needed. It also didn’t help that the role made the actor a superstar. He had been described as “naturally shy,” but the popularity of The Sopranos made it impossible for him to hide from the media spotlight.
Chase discussed the possibility of a prequel to The Sopranos with Deadline in 2016.
“I’ve had conversations with some movie studios that want to do it as a film. So far I’ve rejected the idea but I certainly wouldn’t do it as a television show,” he said at the time. “I’ve said it from the beginning: If I had a really good idea and I thought it could be really entertaining and it wouldn’t upset what was done I might do it.”
Looks like he found his “really good idea.”