See Michael Gandolfini as a Young Tony Soprano in the First Trailer for 'The Many Saints of Newark'

Michael Gandolfini is stepping into his father James Gandolfini’s iconic Sopranos role in The Many Saints of Newark, out Oct. 1

The legend of Tony Soprano has humble — and dangerous — beginnings.

The first trailer for The Many Saints of Newark debuted on Tuesday, giving fans of the HBO hit series The Sopranos a look at how James Gandolfini's Tony became a master mobster.

James's son Michael Gandolfini steps into his father's famous role as a young Anthony Soprano growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark's history.

The trailer begins with a voiceover of James from the HBO show, saying, "When I was a kid, guys like me were brought up to follow codes."

Described as a "high IQ" but struggling high-school student, Anthony seeks out his uncle Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) as his mentor.

"Growing up with the family, it takes a toll," Dickie tells Anthony in the trailer. "You're my nephew; I wanna do whatever I can to help you."

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Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark.
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The Many Saints of Newark. Barry Wetcher
many saints of newark
Barry Wetcher

But Dickie's involvement in the mafia threatens to drag in Anthony, who dreams of pursuing a higher education.

"I wanna go to college. I can't get caught with s--- like this," Anthony tells Dickie when he's shown a box of items that were stolen.

Dickie reassures him, "Look, you take this with you and at the same time you tell yourself, 'This is the last time I'm ever gonna steal something.' It's that simple."

The cast also includes Ray Liotta, whose character warns Dickie, "As far as your nephew goes, stay out of his life."

The movie, directed by Alan Taylor, includes an ensemble cast such as Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Michela De Rossi and Vera Farmiga as Tony's mother.

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Leslie Odom Jr. and Germar Terrell Gardner in The Many Saints of Newark. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema

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In August 2019, Michael, now 22, admitted to never having "watched a minute of The Sopranos" or his father's acclaimed performance in the show before being cast.

"I was just a kid when he was making it," he told Esquire at the time. "I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he'd say, 'Oh, it's about this guy who's in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.' "

The process of going back and watching James in the role that made him an icon was "intense," Michael recalled.

"Because as an actor I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo," he said. "But then I'd also be seeing my father. I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone."

He continued, "I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time. I started having crazy dreams. I had one where I auditioned for David [E. Chase] and I looked down at my hands, and they were my dad's hands."

Michael (L) and James Gandolfini. Bauer-Griffin; HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

Michael was 14 years old when James died of a heart attack at the age of 51 in 2013 during a family vacation in Rome.

But that tragic event was what propelled the younger Gandolfini to chase a career in acting — and eventually land the same role his father once played.

"From the first day, I fell in love with it," Michael said. "It actually started my grieving process with my dad."

The Many Saints of Newark is in theaters and on HBO Max Oct. 1.

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