Although he’s loath to definitively rule anything out—ambiguity being kind of his thing, as nine years of increasingly frustrated arguments about his signature series’ final scene could attest—David Chase says you’ll probably never see that Sopranos prequel he’s been teasing you with for years. That’s per an interview the writer and occasional director recently gave to Deadline, where he also expounded on his feelings about binge-watch culture, and his bewilderment at his friend Terence Winter being ousted from Vinyl.
“So far I’ve rejected the idea,” Chase said, referring to a prequel that would explore life in New Jersey before Tony Soprano started playing with his ducks. “But I certainly wouldn’t do it as a television show.” A movie is slightly more likely, he said, but still probably won’t happen. (But then again, maybe it would, if a good enough idea came along, because David Chase is TV’s original Schrodinger’s showrunner.)
Chase also talked about his own TV viewing habits, suggesting that networks courting the key “former Sopranos creator” demographic could start and stop by hiring people he personally knows. “I don’t watch a lot. I watch my friends’ stuff, Terry (Terence Winter) and Matt (Weiner). I watch a lot of CNN News—to cheer me up. I don’t watch a lot of series television at all.” He added that he’s not a “binger,” and expresses gratitude that The Sopranos came about at a time when it could still be Sunday night “appointment television.”
The changing nature of TV—and specifically TV at HBO—also factored into his surprise at Winter’s recent removal from the network’s ’70s music drama: “We’re talking about one of the best screenwriters I know,” Chase said. “I can’t conceive how it could have gotten to this point. He’s just so good, and I’m not there, and I really don’t know the ins and outs of it, but it just seems to me like maybe there was just a lot of cooks in that pot.” He went on to suggest that corporate culture at HBO—where he’ll be returning soon for A Ribbon Of Dreams, a limited series set in the history of Hollywood—has shifted since The Sopranos reigned over the airwaves. “I haven’t worked with them for a long time. And what I’ve heard is they don’t rely quite as much on the creator or the artist doing what comes naturally to him or her.”