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.”