HBO Max Is Discussing a ‘Sopranos’ Prequel Series With David Chase
The Sopranos fans have never stopped believing in the possibility of some kind of revival, even after the death of the series’ great star, James Gandolfini. They finally got a prequel for the show earlier this fall, when creator David Chase wrote and produced The Many Saints of Newark, a film set in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It centered on Christopher Moltisanti’s father Dickie, and also explored how Tony Soprano (played by Gandolfini’s son, Michael) made his first tentative steps into a life of crime.
The film has not been a major hit; to date, it’s only grossed about $8 million. But the movie was also available on HBO Max, where Sopranos fans have binged the show for years. And now it looks like HBO and HBO Max are trying to turn The Many Saints of Newark into a full-fledged prequel series to The Sopranos. Deadline spoke with WarnerMedia’s Ann Sarnoff, who said “We’re talking to David [Chase] about a new series, Sopranos related, on HBO Max.”
Chase himself told Deadline that any further Sopranos stories would have to take place after Many Saints and before The Sopranos began, which was in the late 1990s. “There’s only one way that I would do it, and that was if [Sopranos writer and producer] Terry [Winter] and I could write the script together. That I would do.”
The Many Saints of Newark featured several components, including a very strong supporting performance from Michael Gandolfini as the young Tony Soprano. Its biggest issue was a matter of scale and scope; it felt like a season of television crammed into two hours. There simply wasn’t enough screen time to flesh out all the new characters, or to fully explore the roots of the racial tensions in Newark in the late 1960s. Arguably, The Many Saints should have always been a television show all along. If Chase is interested, and Gandolfini could be convinced to keep playing the young Tony, a full-blown series could be a worthy addition to that world.
In the meantime, The Many Saints of Newark — along with all of The Sopranos — is available to stream on HBO Max.