When “The Sopranos” debuted in 1999, few expected the show would become one of the greatest shows ever made. Yet the story of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) resonated with millions of viewers. It instantly established HBO as one of the prestige homes for television and made redefined television. Now, nearly two decades after the premiere of the show, a film based on the characters is finally making its way to the big screen. However, “The Many Saints of Newark” will be a prequel, not a sequel to the beloved franchise.
According to The Warp, Alan Taylor is set to direct the prequel film based on a script from series creator David Chase. The film is set in the 1960s in Newark, New Jersey. Riots are breaking out across the cities, and tensions are high. During this time, there was strife between Italian and African-American communities in the city. With the two communities pushing against each other, the time was one of the darkest times for the city.
Taylor may not have the most successful career as a film director, especially after the relative flops “Terminator: Genisys” and “Thor: The Dark World” both fell below expectations. However, Taylor has intimate knowledge of “The Sopranos” from his time directing television. In fact, Taylor won an Emmy for directing the “Kennedy and Heidi” episode from season 6. Additionally, Taylor has success directing episodes of “Game of Thrones” and “Oz.”
The question that many will ask is why are doing a prequel? Honestly, this is probably the best time for content in the greater “Sopranos” universe. Setting anything after the series will inevitably affect perception off the end of the show (one of the great endings in TV history). We also know some of what occurred prior to the start of the show. However, we heard these anecdotes from characters who experienced the events 30 years prior. There’s lot of fertile ground to explore, especially if Chase uses the franchise to make a real point about this moment in history.