Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Seven years ago, The Sopranos ended with one of the greatest and most polarizing hours of television ever broadcast. In the final scene, Tony Soprano and his family meet for dinner. Meadow Soprano arrives late, and takes an agonizingly long time to park. We watch on the edge of our seats, tense, waiting for violence. Is a hit coming? A suspicious guy heads into the restroom. Meadow walks in. Tony looks up. Before anything happens, the screen goes black. Roll silent credits.
Does Tony Soprano live? Does the hit we think we know is coming take place as the screen goes black — is that Tony’s death? Is the whole thing a metaphor for Tony’s fate? Fans have speculated for years, and that’s the beauty of the show’s ending. Creator/writer/director David Chase has finally spoken up about Tony’s fate, however, and if you’re dying to know whatever there is to know about Tony’s existence (or lack thereof) after that cut to black, read on.
Update: Chase, through his representative, says the quote was misconstrued. Read his statement below.
Vox.com has a piece about Chase. The article establishes early on that “he believes that the art of entertaining is leaving the audience imagination to run wild.” Indeed, our imaginations have run endlessly wild since The Sopranos ended. Even people who didn’t regularly watch the show know how the series ends.
The question remains: is Tony alive? The article’s writer, Martha P. Nochimson, asked Chase if Tony dies at the end of the show. We’ll present his answer as Vox does.
It’s a strange wording. (Maybe think of that first “no” as the answer to “Did Tony die?” followed by “No he isn’t [dead].” That seems to be the idea.)
Now you know. Isn’t that boring? I think it’s pretty boring. The power of The Sopranos finale comes from its ambiguity. We’re still talking about it seven years later because of that ambiguity.
Personally, I saw the show’s final scenes and the abrupt cut to black as a perfect representation of what it’s like to live as Tony Soprano. Always waiting for the hit or the arrest. Not wanting to look over your shoulder, but always having the feeling that the other shoe is about to drop. No end in sight. It would be a living hell — a hell that Tony has built for himself.
It’s a perfect ending.
The great thing is, you can ignore this new quote. The show goes to black, and that’s it. We’re left with our own thoughts on the ending. I think Tony lives, but Chase saying that is true doesn’t change or even validate my opinion. If you think Tony dies, go on thinking that. Chase ended the show in a specific way, and his statement can be just another fan theory. There won’t be a new show. There’s no movie picking up after the show ends. He may be the show’s creator, but your take on it is as good as Chase’s.
Update: Here’s what Chase issued via his rep after this story went around the world like a shot.
A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying,“ Tony Soprano is not dead,” is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true.
As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, “Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.” To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of THE SOPRANOS raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.