Whenever the press tires of asking David Chase about the end of The Sopranos, it sometimes switches things up by asking him about the beginning—the very beginning, long before Tony Soprano’s time, which Chase has long been suggesting he might tackle someday with a Sopranos prequel. Talk of the project has been around since at least 2012, when Chase first suggested that HBO was interested in a series that “would be with Tony’s father, and Uncle Junior, and Livia—Tony’s mother long before any of the other characters we know now.” That project never materialized, however, leaving fans to fill in the gaps using only the many, many times those people appeared in flashbacks.
By this past spring, the project had shifted to a movie, with Chase saying he would occasionally “flirt with the idea,” and happened to be coquettishly winking at a 1920s-set story of gangsters in Newark, and all the exciting, unexplored action two hours away from Boardwalk Empire. Still, making sure all of New Jersey’s time periods and neighborhoods are covered “kind of interests me but not enough that I would have done it,” Chase said, which was seemingly a definitive death for the prequel discussion.
And yet, whether the prequel idea is alive or dead is not the point. Talking about it raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer, and so Chase expounded on it again for The Associated Press, saying the idea still interests him. “Even if I did it, it wouldn’t be The Sopranos that was on the air—obviously at least one person is gone that we would need,” Chase says. “There are a couple of eras that would be interesting for me to talk about, about Newark, New Jersey. One would be late ’60s, early ’70s, about all the racial animosity, or the beginning, the really true beginning of the flood of drugs.”
While intriguing, as always, this isn’t anything close to an actual plan—though it certainly won’t stop the ceaseless questions as to when Chase might revisit The Sopranos. After all, if there’s one lesson that can be taken away from any gangster story, it’s that nothing bad ever comes from demanding a little more.
Chase is expected to revisit the idea again six months from now, when he will suggest he’s considering Sopranos prequel about the shady dealings of prokaryotes, controlling the flow of carbon in the ancient tidal flats that evolved slightly to become Newark.