The Sopranos without a doubt will go down as one of the greatest television shows of all time and it’s hard to argue against that.
Take any “10 greatest TV shows ever” list from the internet and you can pretty much guarantee The Sopranos is going to feature at some point.
After nearly 12 years the famous closing scene of the show still provides one of the greatest debates surrounding any piece of television.
There’s probably no show that’s ever produced a more famous ‘cut to black’ finish and fans have debated the fate of Tony Soprano ever since.
Could David Chase’s recent comments be enough to put that debate to rest once and for all though?
The show’s creator discussed that scene in The Sopranos Sessions – a new collection of recaps, conversations and critical essays covering every episode of the show.
TV critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz share an interview with Chase in which he appeared to slip up and add further evidence to the theory that the screen cutting to black was intended to signify Tony’s death.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Sepinwall: When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s, you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’
Chase: Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end. I remember talking with [Sopranos writer and executive producer] Mitch Burgess about it. But it wasn’t — it was slightly different. Tony was going to get called to a meeting with Johnny Sack in Manhattan, and he was going to go back through the Lincoln Tunnel for this meeting, and it was going to go black there and you never saw him again as he was heading back, the theory being that something bad happens to him at the meeting. But we didn’t do that.
Seitz: You realize, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.
[A long pause follows]
Chase: F—ck you guys.
Obviously it’s not as straightforward as that though. According to Uproxx, Chase went on to say that he only meant that “[Tony] could have been whacked,” and the sequence wasn’t intended as a definitive death scene.
Even if the scene was meant to signify Tony’s death, it does seem much more fitting to the reputation of the show for it to be left up in the air.