David Chase Didn’t Think the ‘Sopranos’ Finale Would Cause So Much Debate

sopranos-ending-david-chase
Image Courtesy of HBO

The final few episodes of HBO’s mob drama “The Sopranos” are some of the most hotly contested ones in recent TV history: Did the episode’s fade to black mean that James Gandolfini’s “family” man Tony Soprano was taken out? Or is that final moment a way to tell viewers that Tony will spend his entire life second-guessing the motives of every person in the room?

Series creator David Chase directed the show’s finale, which aired in 2007. In the current issue of the Directors Guild magazine DGA Quarterly, he describes how he built tension with those final few frames as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” plays in the background. But did he think they would have this much of an impact? Not really.

“I thought the ending would be somewhat jarring, sure,” he told the magazine. “But not to the extent it was, and not a subject of such discussion. I really had no idea about that. I never considered the black a shot. I just thought what we see is black. The ceiling I was going for at that point, the biggest feeling I was going for, honestly, was don’t stop believing. It was very simple and much more on the nose than people think. That’s what I wanted people to believe. That life ends and death comes, but don’t stop believing. There are attachments we make in life, even though it’s all going to come to an end, that are worth so much, and we’re so lucky to have been able to experience them. Life is short. Either it ends here for Tony or some other time. But in spite of that, it’s really worth it. So don’t stop believing.”

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  1. Bill B. says:

    It took me by surprise at first, but I thought it was perfect. He had already earlier stated that he thought death was just fading to black and that’s what happened.

  2. TDSVM says:

    Wow, really? I thought the ending was genius. It made perfect use of its own canon, it centred the action on Tony and his family, and it brought the show to the only end it could conceivably have. After the way they’d already depicted death on the show, and after the constant hints that the Sopranos, as an organization, is not rising with the tides, ending with Tony’s death, represented by a sharp cut to black, made perfect sense. By the time you know it’s happened, it’s already happened, and without Tony, there’s no Sopranos.

    All that said, David Chase’s above word barf about “don’t stop believing” strikes me as a load of air-fairy garbage, which…well, I mean, it’s fine, I guess if that’s what he wants to say, but I kind of expect better from the guy who made The Sopranos.

  3. Jane Dough says:

    The Sopranos ending was the worst in television history, up to and including the Seinfeld disaster. After the series concluded I gave HBO one more try with its subsequent “John from Cincinnati,” but when that potentially soul-inspiring series also exited essentially WITHOUT an ending like The Sopranos (well, this and the insufferable Bill Maher), I cancelled my HBO subscription and haven’t watched an original HBO production since. Why be disappointed by too-cool-for-school liberal angst-as-neomodernism?

  4. filmsharks says:

    For such a great TV show, the ending was a complete and utter dud.

  5. Malinda Jo Muzi says:

    As a result of the Sopranos’ ending, I vowed to never watch a David Chase series again. He betrayed an audience that stuck with his story for years. A brilliant writer and a jerk.

  6. IT 2 IT says:

    —-SO——SO tired of the decades ongoing
    ————————–‘that’s the way it is’
    ————————————-celebrations of the mafia ‘vision’.

    It’s just mind control and apathy programming for RED CHINA HANDOVER.

    BEWARE!

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