Like just about every other television classic, “The Sopranos” is about to get a reboot too, but this time as a movie prequel. Deadline.com is reporting that creator and showrunner David Chase has sold a script to New Line — the Warner Bros. unit that produced the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — and that it has a working title: “The Many Saints of Newark.”
Almost since the moment the screen went famously blank nearly 11 years ago, Chase has routinely been asked about another “Sopranos” project and just as routinely dismissed the prospect. A sequel would have forced a resolution to the most enduring riddle in TV history — did Tony live? And when James Gandolfini died June 19, 2013, in Rome at the age of 51, any idea of continuing became moot.
But what about a prequel? In an interview with Entertainment Weekly on the occasion of the finale’s 10th anniversary, Chase did open that door ever so slightly: “I could conceive of maybe a prequel of ‘The Sopranos,’ ” he told the magazine. “I could never see [a return of the show] except as a prequel.”
According to Deadline, the “Many Saints” prequel will be set in 1960s Newark, when the DiMeo crime family clashed with rival black gangs. The timing also indicates the movie will more than likely focus on Tony’s mobster father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano, played by Joseph Siravo in flashback during the series run. (The script was co-written by Lawrence Konner, the veteran TV/movie writer who also wrote a handful of “Sopranos” episodes).
In a statement to Deadline, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said, “David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film.”