THE SOPRANOS Ending Answered Once and For All by Creator David Chase; Did Tony Die? [Updated]

by     Posted 117 days ago

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Well, we’ve finally done it.  Humanity and its unrelenting thirst to end ambiguity as we know it has finally worn poor David Chase, the creator of The Sopranos,  down on what exactly did or didn’t happen to Tony Soprano on the last episode of the show.  Given that the episode aired seven years ago, I was sure Chase had made it through the worst of it and would take the secret to his grave, but I guess not.

Before we go any further, because I’m not going to spoil what happened for you above the jump, I’d like to say that I loved the ending of the show.  At first I was angry, but a few days later I began to really appreciate the way Chase allowed us into the lives of these characters for eight or so years and then simply closed the hatch when it came to the audience’s ability to access them.  I totally get why some people didn’t like it, but I found it intriguing.  Hit the jump to find out what happened to Tony Soprano. [Update: David Chase's publicist has clarified his comments.  More on this below.] 

the-sopranos-endingUpdate: Chase’s publicist Leslee Dart has released a statement negating this information.  It almost reads as though the Vox journalist published an off-the-record comment.  Read it below followed by our original story:

“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.”

Vox point-blank asked Chase if Tony was dead.  “No,” Chase answered.  “No he isn’t.”  This has been my reading of the ending for quite sometime, though I can’t claim I was positive that I was correct.  Rather, it was my preferred ending.  To me much of The Sopranos was about the banality of evil, and I saw the ending as an indicator that Tony’s life would continue on in just as banal a fashion as it always had, regardless of the many bad deeds he had committed.

I recommend reading that entire Vox piece by the way.  It’s a fascinating profile on David Chase and I think you can find the answer as to why he ended the show the way he did in the psychology of the man himself.

The Sopranos Ending Finally Answered




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  • World’s Finest Comments

    The show was constantly in a state of intensity, so with that I think the only way they could have ever ended it properly was just end it so abruptly as it did.

  • kps

    Man I kind of wish he left it open.

  • Jamie Teller

    I remember reading somewhere once that the ending, if it didn’t have Tony die, would have Tony living the rest of his life wondering whether he was about to be killed.

    • Oolie zool

      wasn’t that that kind of where the character was at the end anyway?

      • Jamie Teller

        I suppose. I’ve never actually watched an episode of the show.

    • Brian Jensen

      That is true. I’ve seen every episode, and I agree with that statement. :)

  • Liderc

    I always felt like he lived, it ended like it should, with Tony always on the look out for someone trying to off him. Doesn’t matter that Chase finally said he didn’t die, because that was pretty much the consensus anyways. I never found it open for debate as much as others seemed to.

  • @ScottieRock28

    This is a bummer, for sure. Not just because we have a definite answer, but also because I think it’s the wrong answer. Chase said repeatedly in interviews over the years, that in regards to Tony’s fate, the “answers are all there”. I’m not going to go in depth on why we were lead to believe that Tony died, but it goes against everything Chase has said over the last seven years. There were so many hints, not only in lines that were said by Bobby or Tony himself, but also the way that the final sequence was shot. Every shot followed a pattern of POV, with the bell ringing, to what Tony and other characters saw, etc. I personally believe that if Gandolfini was still alive, this answer would either still be a question mark, or would be different.

    • THXeleven37

      Exactly. If Tony is still alive, it turns the final few minutes into nothing more than a gimmick. When we thought he was dead, the unusual shots had meaning.

      • HORSEFLESH

        It’s not a gimmick; it’s the whole point of Tony’s life summed up in one fearful question: will I live or die today?

  • Dan_K

    I agree with the consensus that it’s disappointing that he finally caved and gave the final word; I’m a fan of ambiguity when it’s done properly, and I think the show was so singular at the time that the ending fit. Having said that, I agree with Evan’s read of the series and in my mind, Tony always lived.

  • Vulcan

    I think he’s just saying an answer because he’s tired of people asking.

  • D

    Anyone who was asking whether he lived or died missed the entire damn point. For all the “controversy” I thought it was pretty simple. Whether he lived or died was not the point, the point was that because of his lifestyle and decisions, any normal moment in his life could be that moment where someone decides to kill him. At any point something like Meadow taking too long to park could be what stops her from seeing her dad for the last time. It’s not that complex, and people that thought it was a terrible ending would have been even more pissed if they had been given a clear answer in the episode, and those people are stupid anyways.

  • D

    Anyone who was asking whether he lived or died missed the entire damn point. For all the “controversy” I thought it was pretty simple. Whether he lived or died was not the point, the point was that because of his lifestyle and decisions, any normal moment in his life could be that moment where someone decides to kill him. At any point something like Meadow taking too long to park could be what stops her from seeing her dad for the last time. It’s not that complex, and people that thought it was a terrible ending would have been even more pissed if they had been given a clear answer in the episode, and those people are stupid anyways.

    • Vulcan

      Thank you! You got the point of it. And also, he is always going to live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder to see if someone is trying to kill him, which is just as bad as being dead.

    • Vulcan

      Thank you! You got the point of it. And also, he is always going to live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder to see if someone is trying to kill him, which is just as bad as being dead.

    • Robert James Watkins

      That’s a cop out. Plenty of great endings are clear and give a definitive conclusion. Case in point, Breaking Bad.

      • theseeker7

        yea but, I’d argue that I’m not sure BB is a great example there because the things that were driving that were more plot-based, and they were numerous. with The Sopranos it felt like by then it was more character based.

      • theseeker7

        yea but, I’d argue that I’m not sure BB is a great example there because the things that were driving that were more plot-based, and they were numerous. with The Sopranos it felt like by then it was more character based.

      • Guy

        Only thing that could’ve made Breaking Bad’s ending any better was if Walt smoked some of his own product in the finale.

      • HORSEFLESH

        The cop-out is when programmes betray what they’re about. The Sopranos cut-to-black didn’t betray itself because the feeling left for the audience is the same feeling Tony Soprano feels everyday: will I live or die today? and not knowing that answer.

      • R0yBatty

        Was BB’s ending really that definitive? It seemed so, but I’m not so sure.

  • mattinacan

    he should just be honest. “we left it open for a possible movie, and called it artsy instead”.

  • mattinacan

    he should just be honest. “we left it open for a possible movie, and called it artsy instead”.

  • imaginaryGHOST

    In my mind, the answer doesn’t matter.

    Even if he didn’t die that night, he’d spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, expecting the shot to come. He was a dead man walking.

  • imaginaryGHOST

    In my mind, the answer doesn’t matter.

    Even if he didn’t die that night, he’d spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, expecting the shot to come. He was a dead man walking.

  • ervin

    the ending was cut to black. he died. when you die you don’t even know it, because you are no more. in this case, cut to black is simply a cute cinematic technique showing death.

    • Conor

      Apparently not, you illiterate bastard.

      • ervin

        fuck off.

    • HORSEFLESH

      It cut-to-black; meaning the episode ended before telling you what happened.

      A cut-to-black doesn’t automatically mean death.

      • ervin

        i remember tony discussing with someone (i don’t remember which episode) about what happens after you die, do you go somewhere else or is it just cut to black, like in the movies (i’m paraphrasing). this is why i think he is dead.

  • ervin

    the ending was cut to black. he died. when you die you don’t even know it, because you are no more. in this case, cut to black is simply a cute cinematic technique showing death.

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    If the reporter would care to produce a recording of his conversation with Chase, I might believe him. Otherwise, why should we take his word for it?

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    If the reporter would care to produce a recording of his conversation with Chase, I might believe him. Otherwise, why should we take his word for it?

  • Theodore Trout

    Go back and watch the series again.
    Patsy comes out of the washroom, shoots the whole family, and takes over New Jersey.
    It’s all there if you look.

  • Theodore Trout

    Go back and watch the series again.
    Patsy comes out of the washroom, shoots the whole family, and takes over New Jersey.
    It’s all there if you look.

  • Lee Harvey Cobblepot

    “This has been my reading of the ending for quite sometime, though I can’t claim I was positive that I was correct.”
    The ending is deliberately vague, you are not supposed to have a “correct” answer. Chase has said as much in interviews.

  • http://www.abstractdawn.co.uk/ Nick Gadman

    Why does an audience expect everything to be wrapped up in a bow? Like life is really like that? I lose track of the amount of decent films or shows ruined by sensationalism or a contrived ending because someone has to die or they all live happily ever after…. if we could grow up a little and accept more imaginative output and different interpretations maybe the really great shows would’t be so few and far between.

    Who cares if he’s dead or alive? It ended!

  • One of Nine

    I was kind of disappointed when I read this, I loved the ambiguity of the season finale. I always thought he lived but you just never knew.. Oh well, RIP Gandolfini.

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