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David Chase Finally Reveals Whether Or Not Tony Dies At The End Of ‘The Sopranos’

David Chase Finally Reveals Whether Or Not Tony Dies At The End Of 'The Sopranos'

When "The Sopranos" came to a close after six seasons in the summer of 2006, it was a major television event. HBO‘s groundbreaking drama —voted by the Writer’s Guild of America as the Best Written TV Series Of All Time— had over 11 million people watching the finale, which is still one of the most talked about moments in television history. With Tony Soprano seemingly surviving the chaos around him, he meets his family for dinner at a diner. Each member of the family arrives separately, while peripherally, potentially dangerous figures hang around. And just when Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow is about to walk in, the scene cuts to black. It was an ending that angered many fans, confused others, and led many to discuss what it meant. Was Tony killed by one of those creepy guys in the diner? What was the significance of Journey‘s "Don’t Stop Believing" playing over the sequence? Was the show’s creator David Chase just fucking with everybody? For years, Chase has refused to elaborate on the fate of Tony Soprano. Until now. Sort of.

The folks over at Vox managed to get answer out of the writer/director about whether or not Tony Soprano is dead: "No, he isn’t." And that’s all Chase will say, though he does remind the site that the finale wasn’t the first time "The Sopranos" dabbled in ambiguity.

In the season three episode "Pine Barrens," a Russian mobster is beaten by Tony and his crew and driven out into the wintry woods to be disposed of. But miraculously, the mobster manages to escape…never to be seen from again. Did he live? Did he die? "I don’t give a fuck about the Russian," Chase says about that dangling plot element. This certainly opens up a larger conversation about whether audiences can or should be left to fill in the blanks themselves, and what the value of that approach adds to a show. If creators leave too much up in the air, they risk alienating audiences, but when it works, leaving viewers to do some of the narrative lifting can be very rewarding.

But back to Tony —we know he’s alive, but did David Chase owe audiences more after six seasons? Or is leaving much up to the imagination of the audience the only way Chase could possibly meet expectations? Let us know in the comments section, and below check out an analysis of the final scene, along with the scene itself.

Update: Reps for David Chase say his comments were taken out of context.

A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying,“ Tony Soprano is not dead,” is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true.

As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, “Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point.” To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of THE SOPRANOS raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer.

  

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Comments

Mike

What this article, and in fact the entire event, tell me is: IndieWire writers, like most fanboys, have a problem interpreting hard sarcasm.

Having said that, I look forward to IndieWire journalism on a daily basis.

Andy

Why are you still running a story whose headline reads "David Chase Finally Reveals Whether Or Not Tony Dies At The End Of 'The Sopranos'" when his reps said the comments were taken out of context and aren't accurate? I'm sure you're still running it because you're trying to get traffic, but you should really take down the article since it's totally wrong.

Slen

Seriously? Did people not listen to Bobby the episode before? He spells it out. It's sad that we have to still pry for the "truth", when it's obvious.

Jimbo

I'm with the 'best ending ever' gang on this one.

Though – in a very different way – Six Feet Under gives it a close run for its money.

Amelia

I needed closure. I still need closure. I don't like it when there are pointed "non-clues" that lead you to believe that something happened that didn't – a false foreshadow. After six seasons, we trusted the show's signals, symbols, foreshadows, hints and follow-ups. This final episode mislead and made a big deal out of things that were incidental, as we now discover how many years later. I was not happy with this ending to the Tony Soprano story.

Pete

2nd worst ending in tv history. (After HIMYM). Real shame. And they'll never be able to make it right now.

ZJT

Zen master Chase knows that the best ending is non-ending.

Some things to keep in mind: the dark, often meta, sense of humor of the show. Partly, the ending was a joke on our expectations, and about the futility of expecting closure from endings.

Like many people, I was reluctant to believe Tony was dead, but I had to agree that it seemed like the most likely explanation. Everything about the scene seems to be leading towards something momentous and probably dark. But I've always had my doubts.

For one thing, we've got to remember that the war had effectively been called off. Certainly it's possible that we're dealing with a lone wolf, or someone that hadn't gotten the memo. But then we have to consider what actually happened – Tony was murdered in front of his family. This is a big no-no in the mob, but more importantly, it's a kind of awful ending for the other characters. We can understand that Tony's killing is the price of his immoral criminal life, but to spray his wife and son with their father's brains? That's too dark, even for The Sopranos.

He's neither dead nor alive. He's dead in the sense that the show doesn't progress past that point in time. He's alive in the sense that we can still imagine him, and re-watch old episodes. We must learn to live in the not-knowing, grasshoppers.

Salvatore Bonpensiero

most things that are spoon fed are worth avoiding………. a perfect ending

Nathan Duke

The explanation for the diner scene – and Chase has hinted at this – it would seem is that Tony will spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. The point of the suspicious guy at the diner counter is not that he's going to whack Tony, but that we don't know who he is. Maybe he's nobody, maybe he's someone Tony should worry about – and that's how he'll live out his life.

Also, the amount of time spent watching Meadow parallel park is a tip-off. We know she's parking, but Tony does not. For all he knows, something may have happened to her, which is also something he'll have to live with – not knowing if he can keep his family safe. We see Meadow walk up to the diner's door and then it cuts to Tony's face as the bell rings as Meadow walks in. He looks up and it cuts to black there. Had we held on Tony's face a moment longer, we'd see his recognition of Meadow. But since it cuts to black before that, he's forever left in a suspended state of not knowing.

And the whole episode thumbs its nose at the concept of wrapping up a series. Silvio is left in a coma. Pauly has a more powerful role in the family, but is still not very trustworthy. The feds may or may not have flipped Carlo, who could possibly testify against Tony. AJ is still pretty aimless. Etc., etc. Like the Journey song says, "the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on."

Jeff

I think he's just tired of getting asked about it so he said something to shut up the people who think he's dead but really need absolute proof of it. All the clues, and for that matter everything else Chase has said on the matter, indicate that Tony is dead. Chase said something like "to explain it (the finale) would be to diminish it." Well, explain what exactly? Why, if Tony is alive, did it end the way it did? I'm afraid there's no reasonable explanation

Nathan Duke

Ken, exactly. The whole end of the show was, in my opinion, sort of a middle finger to the concept of wrapping up everything in one episode, which is why we were left with all those cliff hangers. Plus, I thought the diner scene pretty much spelled out what the future had in store for Tony Soprano.

Nathan Duke

Ha! I knew it. I can now officially shut down those annoying conversations with people who try to convince me otherwise. The answer all along could be found in Meadow's parallel parking.

Ken

I finally finished this series two months ago and have to say the finale completely fits with the rest of the show. If people were expecting an obvious, finite conclusion to The Sopranos, well… that's their problem. I'm with Chase on this. If he just killed off Tony Soprano, we wouldn't be talking about the finale seven years later.

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