The ending you didn’t see on June 10, 2007.
Ithas been well documented and certainly been talked about to breathless exhaustion regarding the disappointing ending to the series ‘The Sopranos’. On June 10, 2007, Tony looks up at us for the final time. Then it went black. We all thought our cable went out! Yikes! 12 million viewers screamed bloody murder! However, there was another ending that may not have satisfied all 12 million viewers on that warm June 10th evening, but at least most of us would have been satisfied. Maybe?
The following is a synopsis and dialog of the much anticipated alternate ending that never made it to television. Enjoy!
SCENE: Inside-Holsten’s Diner-Bloomfield NJ
Anthony Jr. is the last of the three (Tony, Carmella then A.J.) to put an onion ring (whole) in his mouth as the “Journey” song “Don’t Stop Believing” is blaring over the dialog. Tony had played the song on the small-sized jukebox stationed at their booth when Carmella arrived. He had been thumbing through other selections prior to her arrival and the camera focuses on these 5 songs;
“Somewhere in the Night” by Sawyer Brown, “Can’t Stop Believing” by Journey”, “This Magic Moment” by Jay and The Americans, “I’ve Gotta be Me” by Tony Bennett, “Who will you Run to” by Heart, then places his money in to listen to “Can’t Stop Believing”. You could make an argument that the camera purposefully kept other pertinent songs in view like;
“Anyway you want it”, By Journey
“Those were the Days”, By Mary Hopkins
“Only the Strong Survive”, By Jerry Butler
All of these songs had significant meaning pointing to the end of Tony’s life either in death or otherwise. We know how the story ended in 2007 with Tony’s world going black and we were left to interpret what it all meant. However, another ending played out and no one saw this coming!
ALTERNATE ENDING BEGINS:
Carmela enters Holsten’s Diner as Tony and Carmella’s eyes meet just as the bell rings for each customer entering. Carmella hustles over to where Tony is sitting. He gives her a half smile of acknowledgement. He says to her “Hey” and she responds “Hey”.
The camera ques in on Carmella gingerly removing an oversized black pocketbook off her shoulder and placing it carefully under the table next to her left foot. She gazes slightly wide-eyed at Tony as he is looking down at the menu while her left hand lingers on the pocket-book so it does not fall over. The camera pans back up to Carmella’s eyes returning to normal size as she reaches over and pops-in an onion ring. Tony looks up at Carmella with half eyes and half of a grin.
“What looks good?” Carmella asks.
“I don’t know”. Tony mumbles
Both Carmella and Tony flip the two sided menu back and forth as if there were more pages and expecting more choices to materialize. Perhaps both were thinking of other things and not the food choices?
“Where’s Ga-gucks (A.J.)? Tony Asks
“He’s coming he just called. He’s on his way.” Carmella explains.
Carmella pushes the plate of onion rings a little toward Tony to encourage him to take another. He looks up and smiles and then looks back down. Feeling the sensation that Carmella still cares enough to make sure he eats. An Italian tradition is to feed every emotion with food. “Food is love” as they say. After everything Carmella and Tony have been through with their marriage and their breakup and the eventual reconciliation, Tony feels content at that moment. A feeling he has never felt for long periods of time. If asked, he would credit therapy but he knows not to bring up Dr. Melfie’s name at this gathering fearing it might strike the wrong emotion from Carmella.
The bell rings and Tony looks up over Carmella’s menu with a startled look that seems out-of-place for his conversation with her.
“What’s the matta? Carmella asks. She looks over her shoulder to see what Tony was looking at.
“Nothin’ Lookn’ for Meadow”. He answers in an annoyed tune.
Two men walk in with construction hats and soiled t-shirts. They both look in opposite directions for a place to sit. The hostess comes over to them to seat them. One is very tall about 6 feet 4 inches and thin, the other about 5–5 but built like a running back in the NFL. They walk past Tony’s table as Tony gives his classic non-descript side-eye look at them. They come within a hair of touching the side of the table with their tool belts. Tony looks up annoyed and eyes them closely perhaps anticipating a rude response at them if they did touch the side of the table. Carmella looks up as well more to see Tony’s reaction.
“Do you know them? Carmella asks
“Naah. Yeah maybe. (Shrugs shoulders) They look like a couple of guys workin’ at that Newark site for Uncle June”. “Never mind.” “Where’s Meadow?
“Med’s coming separately. She had to go to the Doctor.” Carmella declares
Tony looks up almost afraid to ask why.
“She alright?” Tony asks. Afraid of the response.
(whispers) “Switch birth control.” Carmella declares knowing Tony won’t ask anymore questions.
Carmella is right. Tony’s face changes into a Dad with a baby girl who is now a woman. He hates it but returns to looking at the menu thinking about the day she was born.
The construction guys sit two booths behind Tony as the hostess gives them menu’s. Neither of them look up or take their hats off. Tony turns slightly to see if he can see them in his view.
“Who brings a tool box in with them to eat?” Tony questions as his head is still turned.
“Boy you are getting more paranoid everyday since you stopped therapy. If you were still talking to Melfie you would forget everything around you. Including me” Carmella quips.
Waitress walks over.
“Are you ready to order? She asks
“No not right now hun.. we are waiting for a few people”. Tony answers.
Ok no problem. I’ll be back in a few”. She says with a smile toward Tony
Tony eyes her up and down as she walks away almost forgetting his wife was sitting across from him. He catches her eye looking at him as if to say “What?” but uses no words.
“Boy it didn’t take you long to turn that fowl mood over to charming”. Carmella states.
“Would you just calm down. She’s a kid for Christ sake” Tony angrily shoots back.
“Just sayn’.. And how old was the Russian whore when you met her?”. Carmella whispers in a harsh voice.
“How the hell was I supposed to know she was 18. She‘s from Russ-ia! Do you know they don’t give out birth certificates in those hospitals? No you wouldn’t know that because you don’t listen when I talk to you!”
Carmella exhales heavily giving up the fight as Tony glares at her as she looks over the menu but you know she is thinking of all of Tony’s affairs.
“Christ sakes! I try to get everyone together for a simple meal.. and you have to bring up the past! Tony angrily quips gritting his teeth. Slams menu down.
“Your right. Drop it.” Carmella gives in but still hurt.
The bell rings to signal another customer enters and Carmella’s perched smile turns happy as her son A.J. shuffles in to greet his parents at the table. The plate of onion rings seduces a third victim as A.J. now places his own in his mouth.
“Where’s Meadow? A.J. looks at his Mom as Carmella sheepishly looks at Tony knowing he is not looking to entertain his Daughter’s whereabouts especially given the nature of her visit to the Doctor. His eyes are half-mast and looks to Carmella to answer.
“She’ll be here soon.” Carmella looks at Tony as she takes bite out of an onion ring.
EXTERIOR-Across the street from Holsten’s
The camera focuses outside the diner where Meadow is parking her car. She is attempting to parallel park between two vehicles but notices a man standing near her taillight.
“What the Fuck is this guy doing? C’mon! She screams and honks.
Meadow blows her horn holding it down so that it bellows loudly trying to get this person’s attention. The man stares into the back window and sarcastically waves. Meadow gets a creepy feeling as she is met at her driver’s side window by Paulie Walnuts. Scaring her half to death, Meadow rolls down the window and is flush with fear.
“Uncle Paulie! You scared me half to death. Who is that guy behind me?”
“Sorry dear. Oh that guy? Just a friend. I was wondern’. Would you do your Uncle Paulie a favor?”
“Yeah..sure. What is it? She answers nervously.
“Can ya give me friend a ride to the gas station down the street”? His car ran out of gas…. and I’m supposed to me your Dad”.
Meadow looks around and agrees with much trepidation.
“Sure. Who is he? Does my Dad know him?”
“Oh sure. There Ol’ Friends. This would be a big help. Ya know your Dad. Can’t be late now.”
“Uncle Paulie, I’m meeting my family at Holsten’s. Let me call my Mom and let her know I am running late.”
Paulie grabs her phone slightly aggressively.
“Naaah. Don’t worry her. I’ll tell ya Dad when I see him. It’ll only be a few minutes. I promise. O.k. dear?
The man gets in the passenger side of the car and smiles. Paulie looks over to the entrance way to Holsten’s as if he was anticipating something to happen. Perhaps he was looking to see if Tony was outside.
“Ok dear. Thanks again. I gotta go! Paulie exclaims. His smile quickly disappears.
Meadow rolls up her window and begins to pull out. Paulie walks across the street toward the doorway of Holsten’s while giving a little wave to Meadow. Meadow sheepishly waves back and drives off.
INTERIOR: Holsten’s Diner
Tony’s cell phone rings. He rolls his eyes.
“what now? Opens flip phone.
“Hey ‘T’ it’s me. I’m outside. Got that thing for-ya.”
“Now! Paulie! Jesus Christ I’m with da family. I told you!”
Tony looks up at Carmella knowing that mixing business and being the family irritates her. She looks up at him from her menu as A.J. looks at Carmella’s disapproval.
“It can’t wait ‘T’. New York is breathing down my neck about this. If I don’t do this now I don’t know what could happen?”
“Yeah (whispers harshly) you tell ‘our friend’ from New York that we don’t work for him”! Tony closes his flip phone and stares at Carmella.
“Let me guess…you have to go?” Carmella says with disapproval.
“Yeah..just for a minute. I’ll be right back”. Shoves phone in his pocket.
“Don’t be long Tony your Daughter’s comin. We don’t get these moments very often.” she says sternly.
“Don’t you think I know that! It’s business. It can’t wait! He starts to slide out of the booth.
“5 minutes Tony. That’s it. You’ll be haven’ dinner by yourself” Carmella explains
A.J. looks at Tony and then his Mother as if he just realized what she said.
“Oh man. We’re not gonna eat? A.J. says disappointedly.
“Well that’s up to your Father.” Carmella says sarcastically.
Tony stands besides A.J. outside the booth and throws money on the table.
“Don’t worry, ya mutta would never let ya starve. He states sarcastically.
“The money is for in case I don’t get back. According to your mutta’s stop watch. again sarcastically stated.
Carmella looks up from her menu and past A.J. .
“I’m serious Tony. Don’t try me.”
Tony’s face changes to being compliant.
“Be right back”. He relents.
Tony walks toward the front of Holsten’s passing several customers at the counter. Out of habit from being a boss , he always looks on both sides of him to take in the landscape of his surroundings. Several people had entered since he sat at his booth and also after Carmella and A.J. came in.
EXTERIOR: Holsten’s Diner-Night
Tony walks out of the entrance/exit swinging the door wide, aggressively, and with anger for being bothered during a time he specifically stated he did not want to be disturbed. He stops once he gets outside and his head stays straight but his eyes move side to side to see where Paulie is standing? Tony spots him a few feet to his right almost in the shadows next to his a parked car and expired meter. Tony takes two giant steps toward him and nose-to-nose.
“Hey ‘T’. Paulie says
“Don’t give me that ‘Hey T’ bullshit. Whatta ya got? I have 4 minutes. Pushes Paulie along with his left hand to be farther away from Holsten’s so nobody can hear them.
“I’m sarry Tony but it couldn’t wait.” Paulie stated apologetically.
“I’m gonna fuckn’ say it one more time then I’m leaving! WHAT-IS-IT?”
Paulie goes into his jacket and pulls out an envelope full of money. The envelope is orange-yellow and it is stuffed to the point of barley being able to hold the front flap.
“This is what you called me out here for. Now Carmella’s pissed and now I’m pissed! We coulda done this at the bing!
Paulie looks over into the shadows as he tries to hand the envelope to Tony. Tony doesn’t take it and keeps his hands on his hips. He senses something is not right and suddenly starts to sweat.
“Oh shit!” he shouts. Rubbing is nose in instant fear taking a step back from Paulie and tossing his head quickly side-to-side. He attempts to take two steps to the right and away from Holsten’s in an effort to start running.
“DON’T MOVE, FBI!”
Four Agents move in Tony’s path out from an alley way. Agents come out from Holsten’s Diner where they were staking his movements inside. Others come from cars parked several feet away with guns drawn and in full combat uniforms.
“What the Fuck is this? Paulie states wide-eyed and confusingly. He drops the money and pushes a gun back in his vest from which he was taking out to assassinate Tony.
“Holy Fucking Christ ! You were gonna kill me! Tony realizes about Paulie
BOTH OF YOU MOVE AGAINST THE CAR AND HANDS UP! the FBI asserts.
“No Tone, ya got it all wrong! Paulie tries to explain.
The FBI moves in to grab Tony and Paulie. Pulling Tony’s hands behind his back and one had on his right shoulder to push him against the car where the expired meter was. Tony is flush with disappointment not caring about the FBI but the betrayal of his friend and most trusted soldier. Paulie is pushed in the same manner and against the car as well.
Two hitmen from the New York faction run in on the scene late. Both realizing what was happening they go to run but are pulled away by FBI agents. Both Tony and Paulie are pinned against the parked car with their faces pointing toward each other with their cheeks pinched but enough to communicate.
“Really Paulie! Work for Johnny? Huh? With my blood? disgraziato! My father loved you!
“Really ‘T’ I wasn’t gonna do nothin’. I swear on my Mutta’s eyes!
Tony looks at Paulie with distain.
“Which one.” he replies insultingly.
Tony is referring to the fact that his Aunt raised him as his Mother and how hurt Paulie was by this.
“C’mon! Lets go you two!” The FBI Agent tugs at them.
“What’s the matta, Agent Harris couldn’t make it? Tony states with attitude.
Carmella and A.J. come out of the Diner, Carmella crying and A.J. visibly upset.
“Dad! What’s going on?” A.J. screams
“Tony! I’ll call the lawyer”! Carmella shouts.
The FBI agents pull Tony and Paulie down the street from Holsten’s diner as the camera moves upward so you see the entire street. A lone FBI Agent can be seen across the street and walk diligently toward Tony and Paulie. He pulls out a gun and shoots Tony in the head. Slow motion of the ciaos ensues. Carmella and A.J. screaming to get to Tony as the fake FBI Agent is tackled to the ground. Paulie is carted off but has no reaction. He smirks as he is being pulled to the ground and protected by the FBI. Either way, Paulie knows he would be dead if he were not in custody. First, for not completing the job to kill Tony as ordered by Johnny (Sack) Sacrimoni and two, by Tony’s crew for killing a boss without a sit-down. Most likely Silvio.
There is no clear indication that Tony dies or survives the shot to the head. He falls to the ground unresponsive. An ambulance is quickly on the scene all in slow motion with the song “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra plays and the blood and tears flow freely and often until the screen goes black.
We are left with Johnny Sack ordering the hit on Tony and using Paulie as the person to do it. But why? Why did Paulie want to switch families? Greed? Bored with Tony’s crew? There is no clear reason why? Johnny and Tony were not on good terms toward the end of the series so it made some sense. Most likely Johnny was gaining power and would recruit the best talent from Tony’s crew and dissolve the Soprano’s once and for all. With Junior going senile there was no threat from him. Paulie was the easiest one to recruit and get close to Tony. Silvio would never have flipped.
You get the idea that Paulie had some sense as to not to kill Tony in front of his family. Probably the reason he sent Meadow away although you do no see her come back. Both Carmella and A.J. were inside the diner when Tony would have been shot by Paulie but ultimately they saw the killing because Paulie was not able to follow through. The back-up hit man dressed as an FBI Agent had to finish the job.
The lingering camera shot of Carmella placing her oversized bag under the table earlier in the ending was for “diverted tension” to draw you down a different road and keep you thinking . Typical David Chase. Just as he focused on customers at the counter in Holsten’s to give the illusion that there may or may not have been others there to kill Tony. We know that other FBI agents came out of the diner revealing their official gear under regular coats and garments so they were sitting in the common space with Tony and his family. Same with the two construction workers. This was added tension added to the scene to show how paranode Tony had become with outsiders but not realizing that his inner circle was decaying with lack of trust.
No Ending Is Easy
Of course in typical “David Chase Fashion” there were other endings to consider and some were shot and scrapped before deciding on with the one he chose. One he liked a lot was the scenario where Carmella had become an informant for the FBI and then loved it so much became an FBI Agent. All under the nose of her husband Tony Soprano. Unfortunately, the rules for becoming an Agent prohibits from anyone knowingly marrying a person you are investigating. Even though Tony and Carmella were already married didn’t change the fact that Chase chose to scrap this version as it was unrealistic. To play this version out further, Carmella would have revealed herself at the Holten’s diner as an Agent and therefore shocking the world that she had been an Agent during most of the series. In flashbacks they would have showed how Carmella was convinced to flip then how she become an agent without anyone in her family knowing. There would be a couple of close calls where the tension would build when a family member would almost discover her truth. For instance, Carmella’s sister-in-law Janice finding an FBI jacket in a box she thought she was donating to charity and began to snoop. Carmella shuts-it-down by threatening Janice that she would make sure to cut her off financially from Tony if she continued to snoop into her business.
Chase wanted to leave the ending of the Sopranos open for any follow-up movies or reboots. With this alternate ending and the ending he chose he could always have Tony survive a shot to the head. Easily Tony could lay in a coma for months while “family” members struggle to take control and a failed hit by New York would leave Johnny Sack vulnerable and cause a war with the remaining families. With James Gandolfini’s passing all these scenarios of a reboot changed. We are left with the disappointing “The Many Saints of Newark”. Great job by Michael Gandolfini but that was it.