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March 08, 2018

'The Sopranos' creator is planning a prequel set in Newark

David Chase plans to expand on "The Sopranos" in a movie prequel set in Newark around the time of the race riots there, according to a report.

"The Sopranos" had become arguably the greatest television show ever when its six-season run came to an end a decade ago and still remains a binge-watching favorite for HBO subscribers everywhere.

For fans wanting more, a sequel to Chase's creation always seemed like a long shot. It looked like a prequel wouldn't happen, either, with Chase actually telling in 2016 that he had rejected the idea despite studio interest. 

He did float the idea last year, stoking speculation over the possibility of a revival.

"I could conceive of maybe a prequel of "The Sopranos," Chase told Entertainment Weekly last June. "I could never see [a return of the show] except as a prequel.”

Apparently, he's past the conception stage.

Deadline reported on Thursday that New Line Cinema, part of Warner Bros Pictures Group, had purchased the screenplay "The Many Saints of Newark," the working title for a movie prequel of "The Sopranos." 

The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, who worked as a writer on the show, and is set in the era of the 1960s Newark race riots, according to the report.

Although Chase would not give away any plot details, the time period alone suggests that the stories of many characters in the series, including the late James Gandolfini's Tony Soprano, will not be expanded upon in the film.

Per the report:

Some of the beloved characters from the series will appear in the film. I couldn’t get any more information about the plot, but the time period indicates there will be room for Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew (played in flashbacks by Joseph Siravo), and a younger version of his wife Livia (played indelibly in the show’s first season by Nancy Marchand), and Tony’s uncle Junior, played by Chianese.

Chase will serve as producer as well as co-writer, and he will be involved in selecting a director.

"The Sopranos" won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and was nominated for over 90 more during its time on HBO between 1999 and 2007. The show was set in North Jersey and was often filmed there.