ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Sopranos ending explained: we finally know what happened to Tony Soprano

Creator David Chase clears up THAT ending for good.

Sopranos ending explained: we finally know what happened to Tony Soprano
Marc Chacksfield
04 November 2021

The Sopranos is one of the best - if not the best - TV shows of all time, with one of the most ambiguous endings. To go out like it did takes a brave show creator, and that is exactly what David Chase is.

For some 14 years now there has been pub chatter about what actually happened in the diner of the final scene, when Tony sits down with his family for an all-American feast, with Don't Stop Believing playing on the juke box.

Tension ratchets up each time the diner door opens and its little bell rings. Meadow is doing some terrible parallel parking in the car park. Bad guys are seen (were there ever any good guys in The Sopranos?). Then Tony sees something, his eyebrows raised.

Fade to black.

Creator David Chase has alluded to the ending a few times since it aired, explaining that the clues are all there but for the first time he has given a definitive answer as to whether Tony Soprano, the fading mob boss, was actually killed that day.

In a fantastic conversation with Chase - all of which you should read over on The Hollywood Reporter - The Sopranos' creator explains just what happened that fateful night and how the scene could have turned out very differently.

He also notes that he was taken aback by the amount of people chatting about the finale: "I had no idea it would cause that much - I mean, I forget what was going on in Iraq or someplace; London had been bombed!" Chase said.

"Nobody was talking about that; they were talking about The Sopranos. It was kind of incredible to me. But I had no idea it would be that much of an uproar. And was it annoying? What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me."

So, was Tony killed, then?!

Chase explains: "Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed.

"But I think I had this notion—I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, 'Tony should get it in a place like that.' Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before."

There we have it, Tony 'got it' that night in that little diner and now we can all rest a little easier at night knowing this is the case.