It’s hard to believe that almost 12 years have already passed since The Sopranos concluded on HBO, to the tune of Journey and the sight of one of TV’s all-time great smash cuts. There was really nowhere else for the series proper to go, which is why the understandable rumors of a follow-up to one of TV’s most critically and commercially successful shows ever took years to amount to anything.
Since around this time last year, news of a prequel movie has continued to emerge, a look at an older generation of the Jersey mafia in their heyday prime, set against riots in the 1960s and written (like the series) by David Chase. (Alan Taylor will direct.) Earlier this year, it was revealed that Michael Gandolfini (son of the late, great James) will play his father’s iconic role as a young Tony Soprano, with Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Ray Liotta, Corey Stoll, Alessandro Nivola, and Billy Magnussen co-starring in the period prequel.
Well, the prequel is now an official reality, for it has a new name and a release date. Newark (shortened from The Original Saints of Newark) will be released on September 25th, 2020, right as the awards season cycle begins to fire up. For fans of the series, it’ll offer a chance to return to the world without muddying the essentially perfect waters the show negotiated over 86 episodes, and for newcomers, a standalone mob movie full of stars, the way they used to make ’em.