One of the most influential Television shows of all time has been off the air for over a decade now. David Chase’s The Sopranos revolutionized the small screen in such a way that we are now experiencing a new Golden Age of Television because of it. Although we got six amazing seasons of Tony Soprano and his crime family, its creator is ready to head back to New Jersey. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the 1960s.
The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, the prolific screen and television writer whose credits include The Sopranos. Fan-favorite characters are expected to appear in the film, which will be set in the era of the Newark riots in the ’60s when African-Americans and Italians were at each other’s throats.
Chase first sparked speculation about a prequel last year when he told EW that he “could conceive of maybe a prequel.” “I could never see [a return of the show] except as a prequel,” he told the magazine.
James Gandolfini, who turned in what is perhaps the greatest performance in Television history, passed away all too soon back in 2013. Obviously, if Tony is set to appear in the show, he could be played by a child actor, but it’s still unclear which characters specifically are set to appear. The HBO series often used flashbacks to Tony’s childhood, depicting his emotional and physically imposing father and overbearing mother, as well as a younger version of his Uncle Junior, played in the present by Dominic Chianese.
Another question is who could helm the project? The Sopranos sported many talented TV directors over the years, the most used being Tim Van Patten, but other notable TV directors could headline on the prequel film just fine. Chase could also consider Michelle MacLaren, part of the HBO family with episodes of Game of Thrones, The Leftovers and Westworld under her belt, or Taylor Sheridan who has brought modern crime films such as Hell Or High Water and Sicario to screens. Although if he had it his way, I’m sure Chase would either want to direct it himself or get someone like Martin Scorsese (“Marty! Kundun, I liked it”).
Edie Falco, Steven Van Zandt, Jamie‑Lynn Sigler, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa, and Tony Sirico also toplined the show, which ran for six seasons on HBO from 1999 to 2007. Its numerous accolades include 21 Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes.
No word yet on when The Many Saints of Newark may hit theaters.