After multiple delays and false starts, on Tuesday Warner Bros. and HBO released the long-anticipated trailer to the Tony Soprano origin story The Many Saints of Newark. The film is a prequel to the much-lauded television series The Sopranos, and the first followup on its characters since the show concluded 14 years ago.
Actor Michael Gandolfini leads a cast which includes stars Jon Bernthal, Ray Liotta and Vera Farmiga for the film. Gandolfini — who, at 22, was born the same year The Sopranos debuted — steps into the role of mob boss Tony Soprano, a role originally played by his late father James Gandolfini during the show’s entire eight-year, six-season run.
But The Many Saints of Newark does not continue the story beyond where James Gandolfini left it. Instead, writer and producer David Chase — who created The Sopranos — takes audiences back roughly forty years before the events of the show, to 1960s New Jersey during the Newark riots.
The trailer hews close to the events of that period, which saw the death of 26 and over 700 people injured. Mixed among Tony Soprano’s interactions with his mother (played by Farmiga) and other members of his family are looted stores, gun fights and U.S. National Guard units patrolling burnt-out streets.
WATCH | First trailer for The Many Saints of Newark:
“Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city,” reads The Many Saints of Newark‘s official synopsis.
“Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities—and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.”
The Many Saints of Newark was intended to be Michael Gandolfini’s film debut, but it was delayed multiple times due to the COVID-19 pandemic — moving first from a September 2020 release to March 2021, and finally to fall of 2021. Instead, his supporting role in Tom Holland’s Cherry claimed that spot, after its February 2021 release.
Speaking to Esquire magazine in August 2019, the actor said he had “never watched a minute of The Sopranos” before auditioning for The Many Saints of Newark.
He also said it was his father’s death in 2013 that inspired him to pursue acting lessons, and later a career in the industry.
“From the first day, I fell in love with [acting],” Gandolfini was quoted as saying. “It actually started my grieving process with my dad.”
The Many Saints of Newark is scheduled for a theatrical release in Canada and the U.S. on October 1. While it will also be available to stream on HBO Max in the United States — starting on the same date and available for 31 days afterward — a similar option won’t be on the table for Canadians.
Late last year, Warner Bros. stated they would simultaneously release a number of their films in both U.S. theatres and on HBO Max. In a subsequent press release, Crave — which airs all original HBO programming in Canada — stated they will only stream those films “following their standard theatrical windows.”
“The concurrent window on HBO Max is restricted solely to the United States. Warner Bros. is not making such a window available in any other territory, including Canada,” the statement read.