Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Let’s overanalyze The SopranosThe Many Saints Of Newark trailer

Silvio's hair, Tony's father, and Ray Liotta. Bada bing! We're going deep on The Many Saints Of Newark

Corey Stoll, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthall, Michael Gandolfini, Gabriella Piazza, and Alessando Nivola
Corey Stoll, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthall, Michael Gandolfini, Gabriella Piazza, and Alessando Nivola
Photo: Barry Wetcher

Marone! It’s finally here, The Many Saints Of Newark trailer. After several delays, a pandemic, and Warner Bros. pivoting to streaming, we have our first look at the long-awaited prequel to The Sopranos, a TV show that continues to find cultural relevance in our modern age. Some call it “the best show of all time,” others call it “a sequel to The Many Saints Of Newark.” Fans call it their “one true love.”

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Now, for those that have seen the trailer, it was probably a bit jarring to see a greenish tint over the faces you don’t recognize. But there are a lot of goodies and old favorites packed into these two and a half minutes. So let’s get to it and go through the trailer shot for shot (or pretty close to that).


0:00 Newark New Jersey

Welcome to Newark
Welcome to Newark
Screenshot: HBO Max

Situating us in the world of The Sopranos is a chyron that might as well read “Welcome to New Jersey.” Instead, it says “Newark,” a place, apparently, that is home to many saints. Just then, a voice from the past plays over the trailer. Why that’s our old friend Tony Soprano leading us to the next shot, and he says, “When I was a kid, guys like me were brought up follow codes.” Um, where does this quote come from? It sounds like James Gandolfini. But it’s not listed on any transcripts online. Maybe some of our lovely commenters can help us out. Is it from an episode, an outtake, The Road To Respect video game?

0:05 Tony Soprano: Origins

Ah, our first shot of Michael Gandolfini taking on the role that made his father a legend, Tony Soprano. One thing’s for sure: it’s that hair that got him, Carmella. What a head of hair on that kid. The ravages of time spare none of us.

But the real mystery of this scene is, who is this kid who calls him a “jerk-off”? The hair and face suggest young Christopher Moltisanti. Although, The Sopranos wiki says that Christopher was born in 1972, so we can rule that out. This is the closest that the trailer gets to that old-time Sopranos feeling. More humor, please.

The infamous “jerk off” kid
The infamous “jerk off” kid
Screenshot: HBO Max
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0:10 “What’d you say”

Here we have Tony pushing “jerk-off kid” against a window displaying pork products—nothing says Sopranos like cured meat.

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There’s also a teen girl in the shot. She’s blonde. Could it be a young Carmela (Edie Falco)? Tony met her in high school, so it’s possible. He also met Artie Bucco (John Ventimiglia) in high school, so maybe that’s Artie taking the beating. Is this the moment that turned the future chef into the sniveling coward we know and love? Answers to come in several months.

0:18 Tony the loner

The next few shots reveal a couple of things. First, Tony is a loner that walks through the snowy streets of New Jersey in a letterman’s jacket. He played football and baseball in high school, so this all tracks. So much promise from the boy, but as the perfectly cast Vera Farmiga knows, he’s blowing it. Second, the narrator lets us know that this, in fact, “Antonio Soprano.” Finally, this movie is, in part, about Tony going to high school.

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Vera Farmiga as Livia is molto buona
Vera Farmiga as Livia is molto buona
Screenshot: HBO Max

0:23 “Gotta Serve Somebody”

For many people, this is probably when the trailer starts to worry them. The chugging guitars kick off a pretty nauseating cover of Bob Dylan’s 1979 song “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Granted, this feels like the kind of dorky blues-rock that Tony would love, but it doesn’t exactly set the mood or the period.

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“Gotta Serve Somebody” actually appeared in a previous episode, but HBO had to let us know that this ain’t your daddy’s Sopranos. This version is by the legendary rock band Mountain, whose hit “Mississippi Queen” might mean something to you. But this track comes from their 2007 record Masters Of War, which is just a collection of Dylan covers. No thanks.

0:26 Parent-teacher conference

Here we go. What we’ve all been waiting for: a parent-teacher conference between Livia Soprano and “Mrs. Jarecki,” a new character. Jarecki and Livia’s conversation plays over the next few shots. “On the basis of the Stanford-Binet, he’s high IQ,” reports Jarecki. Wise beyond her years, Livia knows that I.Q. tests are bunk. She pushes back, saying, “You can’t prove it by me. He’s got a D+ average.” Smart Livia.

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0:31 The luncheonette

Ok, so we’re in this luncheonette as Livia and Jarecki’s conversation plays over the soundtrack (along with that awful cover, which gilds the lily on the whole Tony “the American Bad Ass” Soprano thing). This set doesn’t look like the inside of Satriale’s Pork Store, but maybe there was a counter service at one point. We’re well acquainted with its sidewalk service, backroom, and meat grinder, but we never got many scenes inside the front dining room. There are a couple of interior shots in season six, particularly when Tony meets with FBI Agent Harris (Matt Servitto). But in those moments, we mostly only see the tables and deli counter. Regardless, this place screams New Jersey. Get yourself a mean pork roll, egg, and cheese (with salt, pepper, ketchup) at one of these greasy spots. Bada bing!

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Update: It has been brought to my attention that this is likely Holsten’s, the location of Tony’s favorite onion rings and the series’ final scene. It has also been brought to my attention that in North Jersey “pork roll” is called Taylor Ham. I grew up in central Jersey, which absolutely exists, where it’s called pork roll. The name of this hog log is an ongoing debate in New Jersey (along with what’s the best chain convenience store QuickChek, Wawa, or 7-11), and I’m sorry to drag everyone into it. My take: It should be called “hog log.”

0:36 Tony’s bedroom

Hell yeah, Tony’s childhood bedroom. Again, the interior of this location looks perfectly north Jersey—the split-level house, the railing, and the wooden door. (It’s a good time to say that I’m sure these styles existed throughout the country, but I grew up in New Jersey, so I’m reading all of this through that prism. Sorry if that’s annoying, but this is the friggin’ Sopranos trailer. If you don’t want to hear about New Jersey, the Clifford trailer dropped today, too). Collapsed between two speakers, Tony listens to this fucking Dylan cover? No way, he’s listening to Humble Pie, which is the only visible record. However, what’s this? A sock and a Playboy? Tony, you dog, you. “Well, he doesn’t apply himself, but he is smart,” says Jarecki. If only she knew that he was spoiling his potential on rock ‘n’ roll and nudie magazines.

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Computer: enhance
Computer: enhance
Screenshot: HBO Max

0:42 Livia isn’t having it

“The results tell us he’s a leader,” says Jarecki. Livia scoffs. We can only assume she has nothing but contemptuous things to say about her son. This is the woman who once told Tony, “Daughters are better at taking care of their mothers than sons.”

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We’ve got to give it up to Vera Farmiga. She scoffs beautifully. Hers is the performance to watch.

0:45 From David Chase

You know, after finishing The Sopranos, David Chase, like George Lucas before him, told the world that he’d go off and make art films. His one directorial effort, Not Fade Away, doesn’t look so dissimilar from Many Saints. Still, it is kind of a bummer that the man never made anything else after the show.

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0:48 Uncle Dick

Here’s our second lead: Uncle Dick Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), Christopher’s father and Tony’s mentor. We first see him chugging a bottle of booze in a residential alleyway. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of America must’ve been knocking down doors to get this guy in the program. Dick is something of a storied character in the show’s mythology, fucking up both Tony and Christopher’s lives. Still, Nivola looks great in the role.

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0:51 Satriale’s Pork Store

Finally, some real Sopranos stuff. We’re back in Satriale’s, the famed pork store and secret headquarters for the DiMeo crime family, which is the crime organization that Tony leads. It doesn’t look like much changed between when the movie takes place and the series. Those table clothes never go out of style.

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The back room of Satriale’s
The back room of Satriale’s
Screenshot: HBO Max

0:55 Our first whacking

This dude gets whacked in his car.

1:01 You’re my nephew

Ok, we’re establishing some relationships. It’s around now that it should be clear that this trailer isn’t so much for Sopranos super fans. Viewers that never watched the show, welcome. “You’re my nephew,” says Moltisanti. So that’s why Tony called you “Uncle Dick” earlier. Glad we cleared that up.

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1:04 Crime stuff

As Uncle Dick talks about taking care of Tony, we see what is probably the best part of the entire trailer: A grimacing man with a spectacular comb over counting money. The Sopranos is a lot of things to a lot of people. More than anything, it’s about men with lousy hair counting money. It’s unclear who this man is, but we want more of him.

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After looking at some publicity photos from the show, we can confirm that this is John Magaro’s Silvio Dante. Additionally, this reveals something huge: Silvio’s hair was a wig. Sure, obviously that wasn’t Little Steven’s actual hair, but the character wore a wig. Big revelation. This is the kind of thing that will shape future rewatches (unless it was just me that didn’t know).

Silvio, your hair!
Silvio, your hair!
Screenshot: HBO Max
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1:06 Riding in cars with Tony

We get an old favorite in this shot: Tony’s gold necklace, which fans of the show will recognize from any scene featuring Tony in a tank top and a robe. According to Chris Seay, the author of The Gospel According To Tony Soprano, the necklace features a medallion of St. Jerome, a scholar known for translating the Bible into Latin and the patron saint of libraries. Tony isn’t much of a reader—though, he does read Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War on the show. Still, Tony is frequently translating between the mob world and his familial one, so there’s probably a term paper in there somewhere.

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Tony and his necklace
Tony and his necklace
Screenshot: HBO Max

1:08 Back to crime

Uncle Dick is kicking tires and lighting fires (well, mostly just the latter). One shot later, we see the infamous origins of those speakers Tony was sandwiched between earlier. The trailer is setting up Tony’s conflict in these shots, join Dick or go to college. There is some serious prequel energy going on here.

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1:10 Pinkies out

This is most likely our first look at Billy Magnussen’s Paulie Walnuts. Of course, Tony Sirico has such an iconic look in the show that it’d be easy to blow past this moment. That is, if it weren’t for that pinky and pinky ring. Let’s go with 90% sure. The only thing holding us back is this doesn’t much resemble Magnussen. Maybe there’s some prosthetics on the nose or something.

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Paulie?
Paulie?
Screenshot: HBO Max

1:13 Tony’s dreams

“I want to go to college,” says Tony. “I can’t get caught with shit like this.” This guy’s about to get caught with shit like this.

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“Look, you take the speakers, right?” says Uncle Dick. “At the same time, you say to yourself, ‘This is the last time I’m ever gonna steal something.’” Sigh. Tony’s cycle of bad decisions run deep.

1:27 Big ol’ boat

What’s going on with this? Are we getting some in this movie? Who’s getting off this boat?

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No time to worry about because we got some major Bernthal action going on. Jon Bernthal’s role, however, is still unlisted according to IMDB. Given that he’s riding around with Cory Stoll’s Uncle Junior, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume that he’s playing Tony’s father, Johnny. But we’ll see.

We know Tony’s father was very distant. Maybe that’s why Tony only listens to Dickie. Certainly, Bernthal would make a perfect Gary Cooper-esque “strong, silent type” that Tony obsesses over in therapy. He’s sure as hell not saying much here.

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The Soprano Brothers
The Soprano Brothers
Screenshot: HBO Max

1:32 Riot

These next two shots feature a recreation of the 1967 Newark riots, which finally communicates when this movie takes place.

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1:36 Legends aren’t born

This tagline is pretty clever, with “Made” being a crucial word in the Sopranos-verse. There’s also some fun mob violence in this, especially that drill thing. (I would not like to be on the other side of that thing. No siree, Bob.)

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The drill
The drill
Screenshot: HBO Max

1:43 Mister Softee

For the uninitiated, Mister Softee is a North East staple. Founded in Philadelphia in the mid-50s, Mister Softee offers some of the best ice cream around and was the inspiration for a whole Pete And Pete episode. More importantly, it’s great to see that Tony and the “jerk off kid” patched things up in time to beat up this ice cream truck driver. Support local business.

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1:45 Ray Liotta

Why didn’t anyone tell us that Ray Liotta was in this thing? Is he playing Eckley DiMeo? Could that make “jerk off kid” Jackie Aprile? Publicity photos label him as “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti. This character didn’t receive many mentions on the show, but he’s probably Uncle Dick’s father.

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This leads to more montage of gangland stuff. We get some Bernthal shooting, people smoking, and Newark in flames. This trailer works better if you isolate each part. The Mountain song ruins it.

1:53 Montage

The montage continues. Hard to tell if there’s anything worth diving into here, but it looks like we’re seeing Christopher Moltasanti being conceived in two of these shots, which is fun.

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1:59 As far as nephews go

Here’s our Tony Soprano hero shot, leading a group of teens on the path to destruction.

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The montage will continue in a second, giving us a shot of Hobby’s Delicatessen in Newark, which, according to their website, was “established before you were born.” In reality, this Zagat-rated Jewish deli was founded in 1962. Also featured in this shot, Adams Theatre’s marquee reading “Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson.” The theater is playing The Dirty Dozen, giving a concrete timeframe: summer 1967. All in all, the recreation of Newark looks fantastic.

Newark on fire
Newark on fire
Screenshot: HBO Max
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2:07 “Stay out of his life”

Ray Liotta’s appearance here hints at the time jumps in this movie. We know it takes place in the late 60s, but what this shot presupposes is, maybe some of it takes place in the 70s.

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2:12 A Sopranos Story

Finally, the trailer plays what so many fans were waiting for “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3. Compared to the Mountain cover, this is a breath of fresh air. However, the party will soon be pooped by the presence of a subtitle that reads, “A Sopranos Story.” What is this 2016? Will there be more of these? Is this the start of a franchise? Either way, don’t be surprised if this subtitle disappears in the months to come. Let’s hope it does.

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The Many Saints Of Newark hits theaters on October 1.