Sopranos Creator David Chase Finally Opens Up About That Ending

The release of "The Many Saints of Newark" last month has given people a reason to revisit "The Sopranos" and its ending — including series creator, David Chase. It's a natural talking point, since "The Many Saints of Newark" is a prequel to "The Sopranos" and it stars the late James Gandolfini's son, Michael Gandolfini, as a young Tony Soprano.

Chase spoke previously about why he chose the song that he did for the final scene of "The Sopranos." In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he speaks further about the series ending, which famously cut to black at a crucial moment, leaving Tony's fate somewhat ambiguous.

Chase first discussed the alternate ending that he had planned. He said:

"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."

He then elaborated on his inspiration for the restaurant scene that ended the series:

"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."

Don't Stop Believin'

For fans who watched "The Sopranos" from week to week when it originally aired, the cut to black at the end was so abrupt that many people thought there was something wrong with their television. Chase spoke further about the reaction to the finale and how it annoyed him that some audience members wanted to see more confirmation of Tony's death:

"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 s**t for seven years.' That bothered me."

In the restaurant with Tony, there's a conspicuous character who would be listed in the credits as "Man in Members Only Jacket." He gets up to go to the bathroom, and the viewer is left to imagine that he's fetching a gun, a subtle reenactment of Tony's favorite scene from "The Godfather."

This dovetails with a conversation Tony had earlier in the season with his brother-in-law, where they're talking about how easily death can come for mobsters like them. His brother-in-law says, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

Ultimately, while Chase may have envisioned the scene as Tony's death, he chose to leave it open to interpretation for a reason. If you'd rather think Tony's still alive, then as Journey sings, "Don't Stop Believin'."