'Sopranos' Creator David Chase Addresses Whether Tony Soprano Lived or Died in Series Finale

The end of the Sopranos has been an ongoing debate for fans since the finale aired in 2007

Sopranos creator David Chase is finally opening up about the fate of his iconic main character, Tony Soprano.

In the final scene of the HBO series' finale, "Made in America," Tony (James Gandolfini) is sitting in a diner with his wife Carmella (Edie Falco) and son AJ (Robert Iler). The tension builds as an unknown man sits down at the bar and daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) walks in. Then the screen cuts to black, with many viewers watching at the time thinking their cable gave out.

The divisive scene left people wondering whether Tony lives or dies — but Chase, 76, recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he initially had an entirely different end for the character, one in which Tony was killed on screen.

"The scene I had in my mind was not that scene," he said. "Nor did I think of cutting to black."

Actor James Gandolfini in scene from HBO TV drama series The Sopranos.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in HBO's The Sopranos. Anthony Neste/Getty

"I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car," Chase explained. "At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed."

He said he got the idea for what ended up being the finale when he was driving and spotted the restaurant that would inspire the one in that scene.

"I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast," Chase said. "And for some reason I thought, 'Tony should get it in a place like that.' Why? I don't know."

Though he did imagine that Tony died in that diner after the cut to black, the producer said it "bothered" him how much viewers wanted to actually witness his death.

David Chase
David Chase created The Sopranos and it's upcoming prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. Bennett Raglin/WireImage

"I had no idea it would cause that much — I mean, I forget what was going on in Iraq or someplace; London had been bombed! Nobody was talking about that; they were talking about The Sopranos," Chase told THR.

"It was kind of incredible to me," he continued. "But I had no idea it would be that much of an uproar. And was it annoying? What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me."

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"They wanted to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know? And I just thought, 'God, you watched this guy for seven years and I know he's a criminal. But don't tell me you don't love him in some way, don't tell me you're not on his side in some way. And now you want to see him killed? You want justice done? You're a criminal after watching this shit for seven years.' That bothered me, yeah," Chase concluded.

The Sopranos ran from 1999 through 2007 on HBO. Last month, a prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, was released, with the late Gandolfini's son, Michael, taking on the role of a young Tony Soprano.

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