So much for omerta.
In the only interview he’s given to date about the finale of “The Sopranos,” creator David Chase swears the series’ abrupt, cut-to-black final scene in a New Jersey diner was not intended as a stunt to mess with fans’ heads.
“No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,” Chase told the New Jersey Star-Ledger of the surprise-no-surprises series capper, in which mob boss Tony Soprano is seen having a seemingly quiet dinner with his family as a few menacing characters lurk around — perhaps intending to take Tony out, perhaps not. “We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds, or thinking, ’Wow, this’ll [tick] them off.’ People get the impression that you’re trying to [mess] with them and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.”
Chase was on the lam from the media storm that erupted Monday morning over the end of the series many have called the greatest in TV history. According to The New York Times, he was in France with his wife during the final airing Sunday night, after telling HBO executives that he would not be available for interviews — and after telling his writing staff to keep their traps shut, too.
“I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there,” Chase told the Star-Ledger of the final scene, which unspooled to the strains of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (see ” ’Sopranos’ Is Latest To Keep The Faith In Journey’s ’Don’t Stop Believin’ “ ). Did the creepy guy in the Members Only jacket come out of the bathroom with a gun, “Godfather” style, or did any of the other suspicious-looking patrons shoot Tony and his family, causing the screen to go black? (See “How Will ’Sopranos’ Meet Its End? Silvio And Bobby Aren’t Talkin’.” )
“Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there,” Chase said.
And if you think Chase purposely made the series ending ambiguous in order to set up a potential “Sopranos” movie, you got another thing comin’. “I don’t think about [a movie] much,” he said. “I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, ’Wow, that would make a great movie,’ but I doubt it … I’m not being coy. If something appeared that really made a good ’Sopranos’ movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we’ve kind of said it and done it.”
Part of the problem is that so many key characters were killed this season that Chase would have to repopulate his fictional underworld in order to do a movie. He has, however, thought about “going back to a day in 2006 that you didn’t see, but then [Tony’s children] would be older than they were then and you would know that Tony doesn’t get killed. [The idea’s] got problems.”
While some viewers groused about the untidy ending, some of Chase’s peers were cheering his decision not to tie his saga up neatly. Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of “Lost,” told the Times that, like many people, he thought his cable had gone out when the screen clicked to black and he checked his Tivo to make sure it was still running. “I’ve seen every episode of the series. I thought the ending was letter-perfect,” he said.
“My heart started beating. It had been racing throughout the last scene. Afterward I went to bed and lay next to my wife, awake, thinking about it for the next two hours. And I just thought it was great. It did everything well that ’Godfather III’ did not do well.”
Others, like “House” creator David Shore, had equally high praise for Chase for taking a vow of silence. “Obviously he wants us to speculate on what it all means,” Shore told the Times. “Obviously that’s what we’re all doing.”
Journey guitarist Neal Schon told MTV News that he thought the use of the band’s classic ’80s power ballad “Believin’ ” made perfect sense for the final moments of the show, and Chase said choosing the tune was a no-brainer.
“It didn’t take much time at all to pick it, but there was a lot of conversation after the fact,” Chase told the Star-Ledger. “I did something I’d never done before: in the location van, with the crew, I was saying, ’What do you think?’ When I said, ’Don’t Stop Believin’,’ people went, ’What? Oh my god!’ I said, ’I know, I know, just give a listen,’ and little by little, people started coming around.”