‘The Sopranos’ is arguably one of the best television shows ever made. Created by David Chase, the crime drama’s popularity has been unwavering even after its divisive series finale. Nearly 14 years after the show went off the air arrives ‘The Many Saints of Newark,’ which is a prequel movie set during the 1960s and 70s focusing on the teenage years of Tony Soprano.
The film explores Tony’s rich backstory and introduces us to younger versions of many characters we have seen or merely heard of on the show, including the likes of Dickie Moltisanti, Johnny Soprano, Livia Soprano, Uncle Junior, Big Pussy, Sil, and more. Along with these characters, we are also treated to a number of exciting references to the original show that slightly unravel the layer of enigma surrounding Tony Soprano and his gang. Here’s a list of some of the best easter eggs in ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’
9. The Ghost of Tony’s Future
First things first, the events of the film are narrated by none other than Dickie’s son, Christopher. Of course, Christopher is only an infant during the movie’s events, and the opening scene establishes that he is narrating the story from beyond the grave. Perhaps it is meant to be a subtle hint that Christopher’s death still haunts Tony, who kills his protege in season 6. That’s one rich poetic moment to kick off the movie and our list!
8. Tony’s Love For History
In ‘The Sopranos,’ Tony mentions to his psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi that he likes the History Channel. While Tony’s liking for history isn’t exactly a throwaway moment in the show, it does go a bit unnoticed. The prequel reminds the viewers of Tony’s love for history. In a scene, Tony is seen reading a comic book named ‘Ivanhoe.’ Although, it isn’t history itself but a historical fiction story. Tony also enjoys his mom reading him a book about the California Gold Rush.
7. Tony’s Career Prospects
In the movie, Livia and Johnny are seen arguing about Tony’s future and career options while driving in a car with Dickie and his wife. Johnny mentions that Tony wants to be a football player during the conversation, but neither he nor Dickie think the teenager is “pro material.” Tony’s Uncle Junior also says the same in an episode of ‘The Sopranos.’
On the other hand, Tony’s mother has other ideas and wants him to work in the patio furniture business. In the show, during a session with Dr. Melfi, Tony wonders how his life would’ve turned out if his father wasn’t involved in a life of crime. He further states that he probably would’ve wound up in the patio furniture business. While we know that Tony ends up taking neither path, it is riveting to see the character in a time when both options were still open to him.
6. The Beehive Shooting Incident
During the same conversation mentioned above, we also get to see a moment from the show that we had previously only heard about. As Janice recollects in a season six episode, her mom constantly nagged at her dad while returning from an event. In response, Johnny whipped a gun to her head and shot a bullet through her beehive hairdo. In the movie, we see this particular scene playing out. However, a notable change from Janice’s version is that Dickie and his wife accompany the Sopranos instead of their Uncle Junior and his comare. We will chalk up the confusion to Janice’s malingering habit and move on.
5. The Carnival Arrest
A pivotal moment in Tony and Janice’s life is watching their father being arrested by the police at a carnival. This moment appears as a flashback in the show’s very first season and is recreated in the movie without changing much of the details. The incident introduces Tony to his father’s criminal lifestyle and could also be cited as one of the reasons Tony has a troubled childhood.
4. Poor You!
The movie features a younger version of Tony’s mother, Livia, with Vera Farmiga brilliantly essaying the part. However, she isn’t as jaded or blunt as her future counterpart we see in the show. Nonetheless, she is still very much all over the place when it comes to handling her emotions and her children. In a scene of the movie, while trying to have a warm conversation with her son, Livia utters the words “Poor You,” which we know are synonymous with the character in the show.
3. Tony’s Heart to Heart
Even before Tony begins his sessions with Dr. Melfi, the prequel shows him open-heartedly speaking with his guidance counselor. As his counselor later reveals to his mother, one of Tony’s best memories is his mother reading him a book about the California Gold Rush. In stark contrast, when he is asked about good childhood memories of his mother later in life during therapy with Dr. Melfi, he fails to recollect any, which stands to show how far Tony will end up down the dark path the prequel sets him upon.
2. A Trip Down Newark (Memory) Lane
The prequel movie takes us on a nostalgic trip across Newark as seen in ‘The Sopranos,’ and many classic and iconic locations from the show make an appearance. Chief among them is Satriale’s Pork Store, a place that will eventually become Tony and his gang’s usual hangout spot. Near the movie’s end, we see Dickie inviting Tony to Holsten’s. However, before he can meet Tony, Dickie is gunned down, and Tony gets stood up. The diner is the same one where we last see Tony with his family during the show’s series finale.
1. The Curious Case of Dickie’s Death
One of the long-standing mysteries from the show is finally solved in the movie with the reveal of Dickie’s real killer. In the show, Tony tells Christopher that a cop named Barry Haydu killed his father. However, before Christopher kills Haydu, he claims to not knowing Dickie Moltisanti. Fans long wondered so as to why Haydu would lie in the face of death, and the answer, as it turns out, is that he wasn’t lying at all. The movie reveals that Uncle Junior killed Dickie. Hence, we can all bury the grave of that mystery and move on.