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Sopranos
The Sopranos

James Gandolfini once shot a short film revealing Tony Soprano’s fate

Shot three years after the ambiguous conclusion of the legendary HBO show, the scene reveals what actually happened to the iconic mafia boss

A short film has come to light supposedly revealing the conclusion of The Sopranos. The ten-minute scene was shot in 2010, three years after the seminal HBO series ended, and reveals the previously undisclosed fate of James Gandolfini’s character, Tony Soprano. 

The original, much-analysed 2007 finale left viewers guessing about the mafia boss’s future. Despite hinting at the possibility of an imminent assassination attempt, the show famously cut to black at a moment of high tension as the Soprano family gathered for dinner at a restaurant. It was widely assumed – and heavily debated still – that Tony had been whacked.

The previously unseen short epilogue to David Chase’s legendary show is said to reveal that Tony Soprano survived the series. The scene allows a glimpse of his future life in a witness protection programme with his wife, Carmella (played by Edie Falco).

Falco revealed the project was directed by Jonathan Hoock, and that it was conceived and shot entirely in an attempt to lure basketball player LeBron James to the New York Knicks. “We got those requests all the time back then and Jim Gandolfini, he did nothing,” she has reportedly said. “And somehow, he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by. I thought it was a prank when someone said Jim’s going to do it.”

Recalling seeing Gandolfini on set for the first time they were reunited as on-screen husband and wife, she continued, “There he was, dressed as Tony – he must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realised.”

The contents of the short film were divulged by Chuck D on his podcast, Shattered Hope, Heartbreak, and the New York Knicks, but it remains uncertain whether the film was intended to ever be publicly released.

When Chase was being interviewed for the book The Sopranos Sessions a decade ago, he seemed to give away what actually happened in the scene.

The transcript from the book reads

Alan Sepinwall (co-author): When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s, you just meant, “I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.”

Chase: Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end… Tony was going to get called to a meeting with Johnny Sack in Manhattan, and he was going to go back through the Lincoln Tunnel for this meeting, and it was going to go black there and you never saw him again as he was heading back, the theory being that something bad happens to him at the meeting. But we didn’t do that.

Matt Zoller Seitz: You realise, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.

(A long pause)

Chase: Fuck you guys.

Chase has co-written and produced the Alan Taylor-directed Many Saints of Newark, a prequel and look at the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano. Michael Gandolfini with reprise his late father’s role. It’s expected to be released in October 2021.

Read back on our exploration of Chase’s forgotten coming-of-age film starring James Gandolfini, Not Fade Away, and a recent interview with Michael Imperioli, who played the imitable Christopher Moltisanti.