Following the 20-year anniversary of The Sopranos premiere on January 10, discussion, analysis, and consumption of the seminal prestige drama has spiked, as Variety reports that viewership of the show on HBO Go and HBO Now has grown by 70 percent compared to the end of 2018.
However, viewership of the show hasn’t only grown because of the anniversary, as The Sopranos renaissance has also been fueled by the development of a prequel, The Many Saints of Newark.
The Many Saints of Newark, which was written by series creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner, will take place in Newark, New Jersey, in the late 1960’s and will be set to “the backdrop of the race riots that were happening in Newark at that time,” according to Alessandro Nivola, who is set to star in the film as Dickie Moltisanti (the father of Michael Imperioli’s iconic character Christopher Moltisanti.)
In addition to Nivola, it was recently reported by Variety that Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Punisher) and Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Conjuring, Bates Motel,) have been cast in undisclosed roles.
Now, while this is merely personal speculation, given Bernthal’s build, Italian features, and star-power as an actor, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he has been cast as Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni Francis “Johnny Boy” Soprano. As for Farmiga’s role, my guess is as good as yours.
The Many Saints of Newark will be directed by Alan Taylor, a longtime acclaimed television and film director who has helmed projects such as Lost, The West Wing, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood, Mad Men, Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys.
At this time, the release date of The Many Saints of Newark has not been announced.