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For years, The Sopranos has remained, untouched, as the greatest series ever to grace the small screen

Beginning in 1999, 87 episodes over six series elevated troubled mobster Tony Soprano to bonafide icon status, and the HBO series cleaned up at the Emmys and Golden Globes over its eight-year run.

So far, the show’s creator, David Chase, has always steered clear of making either a sequel or prequel series - after all, why mess with perfection? And following the death of James Gandolfini - who played the eponymous Soprano - in 2013, it seemed that any chance of extending the TV brand was buried alongside him.

But in 2018, as the 20th anniversary of the launch of the show rolled around, news got out that there was going to be a return to New Jersey, with a prequel film penned by Chase called The Many Saints Of Newark.

The choice of a prequel, rather than a sequel, is a clever one. After the ambiguous ending of The Sopranos - was Tony really whacked in the diner with his family? (Chase inadvertently revealed two years ago that it was indeed a “death scene”) - it meant a sequel, without its main star, was highly unlikely ever to be received well. Instead, a prequel, focused around a young Tony, allows for scope of understanding what made him into the man he was and allows for further artistic license set in a brand-new historical time frame. Cannier still, if done well, it allows for a whole new audience to pick up a story, even if - unthinkably! - they’ve never seen the original series.

Read more on Esquire:

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