The legendary gangster Tony Soprano returns in the first trailer for The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. Looking fresh-faced and with a glorious head of hair, the young Tony is played by Michael Gandolfini, the real-life son of the late great James Gandolfini, who himself played the iconic mob boss throughout all six seasons of creator David Chase’s critically acclaimed crime drama.
The trailer begins with the iconic voice of James Gandolfini senior, who reminds us all that, when you grow up like he did, you’ve got to follow a code. Whatever that code may be. In this case, it seems to be to stand up for yourself at any given opportunity, with Michael Gandolfini perfectly portraying that same hair-pin trigger that unleashes the lumbering temper of Tony Soprano.
With hopes of going to college, Tony Soprano is taken under the wing of his uncle, Alessandro Nivola’s Dickie Moltisanti, and introduced gradually to a life of crime. A life that would come to define him. As evidenced by the trailer, there are those who would prefer that Tony were never brought into this side of the family business, which leads Dickie down a dangerous path. While most of the footage plays out to a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody,” the trailer ends on a note that should be very familiar to Sopranos fans.
Directed by Alan Taylor and written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner, The Many Saints of Newark will precede David Chase’s hugely successful crime series, The Sopranos, providing some insight into the formative years of beloved New Jersey gangster. The project has amassed a stellar cast that includes the likes of Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Punisher) as Giovanni Francis “Johnny Boy” Soprano, the father of crime boss Tony Soprano, originally portrayed by Joseph Siravo in six episodes of the HBO drama and Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Conjuring), who stars as Giovanni’s wife and Tony’s mother, Livia Soprano, in a role originally played by Nancy Marchand.
While Benthal is barely glimpsed in the newly released footage, Farmiga looks to be channelling her predecessor perfectly, and looks to be applying the same mercilessly mean style of parenting, scoffing at the idea that her son could ever be smart or, God forbid, a leader. Of course, she’s on the wrong side of history with that opinion.
The supporting cast includes the likes of Corey Stoll (Ant-Man), Billy Magnussen (No Time to Die), Leslie Odom Jr. (Murder on the Orient Express), Joey Diaz (Spider-Man 2) and Ray Liotta (Goodfellas). Though a lot of the footage focuses on Tony, Alessandro Nivola (A Most Violent Year) has been described as the central protagonist as Dickie Moltisanti, father of DiMeo crime family member Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos.
“It’s an origin story through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher’s father,” Michael Gandolfini explained previously. “The Tony Soprano we know has this beautiful vulnerability underneath and this rough exterior, but what if we flip that on its side and you watch a creative, hopeful, kind, curious kid get whittled down and formed into what he has to be?”
Warner Bros. Pictures had originally planned to release The Many Saints of Newark last year on September 25, 2020, however, due to the ongoing global situation, its release date was rescheduled. while the trailer simply notes a release date of “Fall 2021”, the movie is expected to be released in theaters on October 1, 2021, as well as a month-long simultaneous release on the HBO Max streaming service.