‘Sopranos’ Boss David Chase Talks Prequel, Alternate Ending, and HBO’s Drama Problem
Even amid HBO’s current difficulty launching new hit dramas, The Sopranos remains sorely missed almost a decade past David Chase’s infamous ending. Chase hasn’t fully crossed out the idea of returning to the Soprano family in prequel, but a new chat sees the showrunner discussing a filmed alternate ending, as well as changes at the network that might have put buddy Terence Winter’s Vinyl into its current state.
Speaking to Deadline, Chase opened up about his return to HBO in the form of upcoming miniseries A Ribbon of Dreams, in the process pondering some unresolved issues of the Sopranos world. Any outlet would surely jump at the chance for Chase to build a Sopranos prequel in some form, though the showrunner isn’t entertaining the idea, at least for now:
I’ve had people talk to me about that. I’ve had conversations with some movie studios that want to do it as a film. So far I’ve rejected the idea but I certainly wouldn’t do it as a television show. I’m always disinclined to say, “No I’ll never do it.” But I think I’ll never do it. I’m disinclined to say that because I don’t want my thinking to be constrained. I’ve said it from the beginning: If I had a really good idea and I thought it could be really entertaining and it wouldn’t upset what was done I might do it. But so far…
Intriguingly, Chase also dismissed rumors that he’d filmed multiple endings to the series, instead that they’d shot only one additional sequence to throw off spoiler-hounds:
There was another fake ending that we shot where, I forget what it was… Tony goes back to the Ba Da Bing and has an argument with Silvio or something. Well, it couldn’t have been Silvio because he was in the in the hospital. Well, anyway, it was a fake ending that we shot just to throw people off. This was when we had people trying to invade and get our scripts.
The Sopranos’ ending remains divisive among fans, though Chase noted that the landmark series went out almost exactly as he’d planned, something HBO offers less freedom to do these days. In particular, Chase spoke to Terence Winter’s exit from HBO’s Vinyl, noting that the network has become much more hands-on creatively with showrunners:
We’re talking about one of the best screenwriters I know and 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 … I haven’t worked with [HBO] 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.
I remember when we did The Sopranos I had three arguments with [former HBO Chairman] Chris Albrecht over six seasons, 10 years. Yeah, I had three maybe four arguments with him and that’s nothing. Now from what I understand there’s a lot more back-and-forth.
It’s of interest, that for Chase’s insistence on keeping the door slightly ajar for future Sopranos, he wouldn’t consider it as an series, but might HBO have started scaring off talent with its longterm involvement? Will The Sopranos remain forever cut to black?
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