An open letter to ‘Sopranos’ creator David Chase
I read with alarm that you have collaborated on a script for a prequel of The Sopranos called The Many Saints of Newark. I understand it is set in Newark, NJ during the 1960's riots. I'm sure with New Line having already purchased this there's nothing I can say here to stop you, but I'll lamely try.
The Sopranos was art.
It was a show about mobsters that any other state may have not embraced if set elsewhere. Here in New Jersey we were proud. So proud. Not because we all know or want to be in the mob. But because how it captured the human side of the most inhumane life and showed our home state as the backdrop to such genius. Personal note. The opening credits montage of Tony driving to his home, snatching a Turnpike toll ticket, passing the airport, the sinister beat of Alabama 3's 'Woke Up This Morning' playing underneath means a lot to me. Almost everything in that opener is a place within 10 miles of where I grew up or a place I know and passed by.
Yes, people here miss the show. And we miss the characters. But do we really want to see younger versions of some key characters like Tony's mom or Junior played by other actors? We miss them, but you'll always miss the ones you loved. We don't necessarily need to grab a shovel and start exhuming. Yes, people here will argue until the day we die whether Tony was killed in that last episode. (Brilliant move by the way, bringing 'Don't Stop Believing' to a sudden halt as the screen went black making every Sopranos fan for 5 seconds furious at their cable company.) I think the truth is it was the viewer who was whacked, not Tony. Don't even see it coming, fade to black, brilliant.
But a prequel won't answer those questions. It may only lead to more. Worst case scenario it's such a success it will serve only as a tease for those who will then long for a revival of the series. Why make people crave it when James Gandolfini left us in 2013? How could we have it without him?
If the movie is bad, it will taint the legacy. If the movie is so-so, it will be forgettable. If the movie is great, well, like I just said.
So David, paesan, don't you see there's no good to come out of this? Would Michelangelo redo the Sistine Chapel? Would da Vinci go back and paint a big smile on Mona Lisa? It was perfect. It was art. Let it be.
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