The trailer Sopranos fans have been anxiously waiting more than a decade for has finally arrived.
The Many Saints of Newark, a Sopranos prequel story, hits theaters and streaming Oct. 1. It stars James Gandolfini’s son Michael as a young Tony Soprano and chronicles his origins in North Jersey. There’s always a hush of nervousness when creators revive a beloved media property. Fans are excited to see more of their favorite characters and stories, but anxious the newest installment won’t live up to the quality of the original.
That anxiety surely exists among some Sopranos fans. But the Many Saints trailer puts much of it to rest.
We immediately get a Gandolfini voiceover and a glimpse of young Tony, quite literally ready to kick ass. His mother, Livia, played by Vera Farmiga, frets with a school counselor over his unrealized potential. We also see his uncle, the legendary Dickie Moltisanti, played by Alessandro Nivola. The story appears to center around Tony’s relationship with Dickie as he slowly but surely morphs from smart, troubled kid into an up-and-coming mafioso. Maybe there’s more conflict in that area than we realize. Perhaps Tony Soprano wasn’t always destined to run North Jersey.
The trailer does have some Joker origin story vibes to it. The visuals lend themselves to that comparison too—the color grading evokes a late ’60s-early ’70s somber innocent-turned-bad feel. And there’s a big emphasis on young Tony’s giftedness. He’s got a high IQ and is “a leader,” according to the aforementioned counselor. But the early seasons of the Sopranos heavily emphasized that Tony could’ve been anything—in his famous “Fever Dream,” his old high school coach tells him that directly. It might be an obvious mining of source material, but it’s necessary to get Soprano’s full breadth. All the pieces were in place for Tony to break bad, but he clearly needed some kind of push.
Tony Soprano’s origins aren’t the only thing to get excited about, though. The trailer showcases, even if briefly, the cast playing legends from Sopranos lore. Dickie Moltisanti was oft mentioned as Tony’s mentor, but never shown on screen before now. We also see Tony’s dad, Johnny Boy, as well as Uncle Junior and (likely) a young Silvio Dante. There’ll surely be several other characters popping up throughout the film that’ll make Sopranos fans recreate the Leonardio DiCaprio pointing meme.
Time can sometimes serve as the biggest enemy to a media reboot. It’s time for fans to wax nostalgic, to anticipate, and for creators to overthink where to jump back into the story. David Chase doesn’t seem like an overthinker, though. He’s waited more than a decade for this project, and not because there weren’t opportunities to do it sooner. There’s an interesting foreshadowing with a still of young Tony standing in Holsten’s restaurant—the same place where The Sopranos, and possibly Tony’s life, ended. It’s a fleeting moment you might miss amongst the chaos of Tony’s youth, the 1967 Newark Riots, and the star-studded cast (Ray Liotta?!) filling it out. But young Tony in Holsten’s is the moment Sopranos fans should feel best about. It’s the clearest sign this story is in perfect hands.