NY Post - He inadvertently spilled the beans on the iconic scene. “The Sopranos” creator David Chase accidentally spoiled the infamously cryptic series finale during a leaked interview for “The Sopranos Sessions,” his upcoming book celebrating he Emmy-winning HBO mob drama, reports the Independent. Spoiler alert: In the roundtable discussion, co-author Alan Sepinwall asked Chase, “When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s [the diner], you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’ ” Then, Chase, 74, dropped the bombshell: “Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end … But we didn’t do that.” Noticing his epic leak, co-author Matt Zoller Seitz chimed in: “You realize, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene.” “Fuck you guys,” replied Chase upon realizing his blunder.
Whoops! Sepinwall the Gawd gets David Chase to finally crack. Almost 15 years later. After endless speculation and debate. Fan theories and hypotheses. David Chase lets you know that Tony Soprano was whacked.
So, does this leave you satisfied or not? I'm not a Sopranos guy, so I dont have a hardcore opinion either way. I'm not a mobster guy in general, thats why I dont revere the Godfather and other movies/shows of that ilk. But I watched the finale of the Sopranos just because it was a pop culture phenomenon. I remember knowing little about the show, but enough to understand the circumstances of the scene, and when the cut to black happened, I remember thinking "I would be fucking BULLSHIT right now if I was a fan." Personally, I think ending a series on a cliffhanger is a cop out. Season to season, fine. But wrapping up the whole story with some "I dunno! You tell me!" is trash. People fell in love with the Sopranos because David Chase is an all time great storyteller...so finish your story. He built the best characters. Scripted the best scenes. Created the drama. Now fucking finish it! I dont know about you but I promise you whatever is inside Kevin Clancy's head isnt as good as whats inside David Chase's head, so do NOT leave it up to me. If I wanted a choose your own adventure I'd sit around coming up with my own mob boss stories. I want to see this story teller, to who I've invested nearly a decade of my life, give me the ending.
Now all that being said, the Cut to Black is one of the most memorable endings ever. If you're going for chatter and speculation, well this obviously is the gold standard. If the choice is between a bad ending and cut to black, I suppose you should take cut to black. Would you rather have Lost's ending or the Soprano's ending? Would you rather have Thrones 6 episode, slowly bleeding out, limp to the finish line? Or Sopranos abrupt mystery? I would rather have that cut to black, because those other shows ruined their legacy with such bad endings, whereas the Sopranos merely felt cryptic. Its like if you're on Lets Make A Deal and they offer you a shitty toaster or the mystery of whats behind Door Number 2. You choose the door because worst case scenario, you're left with a piece of shit, which you already have been offered. At least theres excitement and thrill in the unknown, which is what David Chase gave his fans.
But thats why I think its a cop out. Because what you're effectively saying, to me, is "I couldnt come up with something that offers excitement, thrill, and closure." Whatever other alternatives David Chase had cooked up in his head, to him none of them stacked up to "lets just confuse the shit out of them and leave them guessing." And now, after 13 years, even that part of the finale is over. Now the guessing game is over. You know Tony Soprano died. And you never got to see it. I think if you're gonna go cut to black, you gotta take the truth to your grave. Because now that allure is gone and you're left with the knowledge of what happened but you didnt get to see the most important part of arguably the most important TV show of all time.
I personally always thought Tony got whacked so this is more confirmation than a reveal. I just think they set the scene with the hitman and build the tension of the door swinging open and the bell ringing and Tony looking up every time. The anxiety of Meadow failing to park the car and rushing. It just all built to a chaotic, tense scene that I thought ended in death. If all that shit happened and then Tony just ate his meal and got up and left? Or if the assassination attempt was a failure? That just seems pointless to set the stage there. And to me, thats how it had to end for Tony. So either way, I dont find it to be a huge deal, but I also never invested nearly 100 hours of my time on that character.
I always compare things to Breaking Bad, because its the best of the great TV titans with the best (and almost only) great finale. And I think about the camera panning up from Walter's lifeless eyes as "Baby Blue" plays, and how everyone felt closure and accepted that was Walter's fate and knew it had to be that way. We knew it had to happen but they did it in a way that felt special and fitting. We knew our hero had turned anti hero, and our anti hero had turned villain, and that death was a way to do what was right and real but also do it in a way that felt endearing because he was still THAT DUDE. They had a chance to do that in the diner with Tony and Don't Stop Believing. I'm not saying a massacre in front of his family was going to have this peaceful close like Walter White had, but I think there was something there with that music and getting to see the demise of Tony Soprano.
Especially considering we know the truth and knew David Chase had envisioned it in his own head a million times. Let us see it too, David.
UPDATE: The woman who wrote the book says that this is not how things went down with David Chase, and that the Post was misrepresenting for click bait. Which, I mean, obviously the Post was going for click bait but:
I dunno what wedging the thing about dudes in there is all about, but I'd say this - if you're discussing the final scene and he calls it the death scene, and then you call him out on it and he pauses and says "Fuck you guys," I feel like thats all pretty telling. If that part is completely made up too, then you can throw it all out. Regardless, I still believe everything I said about TV finales and how cliffhangers are bullshit.