If you had never taken in an episode of David Chase’s The Sopranos before, the new trailer for the movie prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, may be the catalyst that propels you into eighty-six glorious episodes of the gritty crime drama that Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield declared “The Greatest TV Show of All Time.” The Sopranos won twenty-one Emmys and five Golden Globe awards over the course of its six seasons. The show became a cultural phenomenon that paved the way for the more inspired dramas we see today, and if you haven’t seen it, you absolutely should. Now, twenty-two years after first premiering on HBO, we will see how Tony Soprano rose to power in the DiMeo crime family.
I’m not usually one that finds television shows adapted for prequels or spin-offs all that appealing, especially when the series was completed and the film attempts to reveal something never considered in the series. Recently, however, the Breaking Bad spinoff El Camino proved there is a way to keep the legacy of the television series intact while adding some additional gravitas to a beloved character. I hope this is the same thing we’ll see in The Many Saints of Newark because, without The Sopranos, a show like Breaking Bad would never have been able to air the way that it did in the first place.
The first thing seen in The Many Saints of Newark’s trailer is Michael Gandolfini’s ultra-violent temper in the role once portrayed by his father. It’s an instantly powerful moment to hear the voice-over from the late James Gandolfini and watch his son embody the role of Tony Soprano in seamless transition. The same intensity James had to immerse you into the destructive nature of Tony’s character is undeniably felt as Michael now moves viciously in a blind-rage towards a taunting young man outside of a phone booth.
If you’ve never seen The Sopranos, then you may not know why The Many Saints of Newark is going to be important to who Tony Soprano is. In that case, I will warn that there will be spoilers ahead, and it may be best to stop reading now.
As you start figuring out who the characters are and how this all fits into reference points left in the series, The Many Saints of Newark‘s story begins to reveal itself. There are many easy to recognize beloved characters in the trailer, like younger versions of Junior Soprano (Corey Stoll), Livia Soprano (Vera Farmiga), Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri (Billy Magnussen), and Silvio Dante (John Magro). Still, the film is notably centered around Tony’s relationship with his Uncle Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) and Tony’s introduction into the gangster lifestyle.
The mentoring relationship between young Tony and Dickie that transpires throughout the trailer shows many similarities to how Tony brings Christopher (Michael Imperioli), Dickie’s son, into the family business later. From the stories that Tony told during the series, we also know that Dickie does not make it out of The Many Saints of Newark alive. Still, the events Tony recounted to Michael about the retired police detective that killed his father was always suspicious, so I guess the question becomes, who whacked Dickie Moltisanti?
If you’ve seen the series, then the guess is rather obvious. However, considering the multitude of moving parts, including an apparent war between the DiMeo crime family and an as yet unknown character played by Leslie Odom Jr., we see the burgeoning action erupt on screen into a fiery montage of explosions, gunfire, and Molotov cocktails, all hinting at the idea that there may be more mafia politics involved in Dickies’s downfall as New Jersey turns into a battlezone of competing territories and rising racially-charged tensions.
I had a lot of feelings while watching the trailer, especially an overwhelming excitement for the return of Tony Soprano, but seeing Ray Liotta didn’t hurt at all either. Liotta instantly exudes those Goodfellas vibes while the trailer’s chaos unfolds while simultaneously reminding me of 2012’s Killing Them Softly, a film that included both Liotta and James Gandolfini. All of this presenting itself while a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” (a song also featured in the series) plays, fading into the Alabama 3 song “Woke Up This Morning,” The Sopranos theme song, creating feverish anticipation for The Many Saints of Newark.
The Many Saints of Newark is scheduled to release in theaters and on HBO Max on October 1.
So what do you think of the trailer for The Many Saints of Newark? Do you agree with Sean that it is overwhelmingly exciting? What would you like to see in this Sopranos prequel? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for horror trailers, we’ve got you covered!