Tony Soprano’s Fate Revealed by ‘Sopranos’ Creator David Chase

By August 27, 2014
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Update: David Chase’s representatives have released a statement that muddles the original report considerably. Here it is in full:

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.

Our original article follows.

Even if you didn’t watch “The Sopranos,” you heard about the show’s controversial ending back in 2007. Tony Soprano and his family are waiting on his daughter Meadow to join them at a diner, and tension builds as she arrives late and finally walks in. She opens the door, Tony glances up, and then…nothing. Cut to black. Silence. Audiences everywhere freaked out, making sure their TVs were still working and their cable didn’t cut out. But then the credits rolled, and from that moment on, the debate has raged on as to whether or not that cut to black represented Tony’s death. Every few months you’ll see an article pop up with a new theory supporting one vision or another, and the finale has become an iconic ending that gets discussed alongside those of “Newhart,” “St. Elsewhere,” and “Seinfeld.”

But now, that debate may get a lot quieter. Vox has an interview with “Sopranos” creator David Chase, and in it, Chase reveals Tony’s fate once and for all. The reporter asked if Tony was dead, and here’s what they say about it:

Just the fact and no interpretation. He shook his head ‘no.’ And he said simply, ‘No he isn’t.’ That was all.

Just like that, one of the show’s biggest mysteries is answered. And it feels…a little sad, doesn’t it? Wasn’t it better when it was still ambiguous, and people could parse the scenes over and over looking for their own interpretation? Chase has been an ardent supporter of the concept of the audience coming up with an answer on their own, but it sounds like he’d been beaten down so many times by this question that he presumably just couldn’t take it anymore.

Tony Soprano finale

But here’s the thing: the fact is that “The Sopranos” is a piece of art, and you can still judge it on your own merits. Because of the way Chase structured the finale, you can still make up any ending you like and fill in the blanks for what happens during that famous cut to black, and it’s no more valid than anything Chase has to say. We have the text of the show to judge, and anything that isn’t specifically in the text is up for grabs. (Spoilers for the “Breaking Bad” finale ahead.) Vince Gilligan has his thoughts about what happens to Jesse Pinkman after the finale of “Breaking Bad,” but your ideas about that are just as valid as his because Gilligan chose to stop telling his story before we find out what happens to Jesse. Again, all we have is the text.

So, with all of that in mind, does Chase’s answer to this question affect the way you view the ending of “The Sopranos”? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.