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10 Things I Look Forward to in The Many Saints of Newark

Sopranos Blueprint

Season 1, Episode 7, "Down Neck"

The Sopranos series captured the hearts and minds of millions, and for very good reason. Naturally, there’s been tons of buzz over the upcoming October 1 release of The Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark. Set during the 1967 Newark riots, The Many Saints won’t be our first visit to the 1960s Sopranos world. It was actually in season one, episode seven, “Down Neck.” On that note, here are 10 things I look forward to in The Many Saints of Newark.

"Witnessing not only your mother & father's sexuality,  but also the violence and blood so closely connected to the food you were about to eat . . . the thought that someday you might be called upon to bring home the bacon. Like your father."

1. Young Tony & Livia Soprano - More of the Day-to-Day

Young Livia Soprano threatening to stick a fork in young Tony Soprano's eye.
Season 1, Episode 7, "Down Neck"

First, I turn to young Tony and his mother, Livia Soprano. As you likely remember, “Down Neck” features the famous “I could stick this fork in your eye!” moment. I often wonder, though, whether that intensity level on the “Livia Richter Scale” occurred on a regular basis. We never saw Johnny hit the kids, but we do know the belt was his “favorite child development tool.” Speaking of Johnny, let’s get to that.

2. Young Tony & "Johnny Boy" - Johnny was a Saint! (of Newark) - Right?

Young Tony Soprano asking Johnny Soprano if he can go with them to the amusement park.
In "Down Neck" we learned that Johnny was away for a few years when Tony was a kid, but he was told his father was in Montana being a cowboy.

The fact is, if we’re really getting down into the weeds, we need to talk a lot more about Johnny Soprano. Tony never spoke too negatively about his father, which wasn’t a surprise. It was almost as if speaking poorly of his father would’ve violated the Omertà itself. In Tony’s eyes, he was his dad. If all of a sudden, Tony came to a realization that his dad played an equal, if not stronger, role in his various mental afflictions, that would mean Tony didn’t know anything about anything. I particularly remember one key moment when Dr. Melfi asked Tony to recall good memories with his father. Rather than something warm, Tony’s response began with “He knew how to have a good time.” Maybe the prequel will help fill in some of the gap.

"He was a good guy, my father. Everybody liked him. He knew how to have a good time. He loved shellfish, clams, oysters. Taught us how to eat them. You put Worcestershire on, suck them down."
Tony Soprano is talking to his therapist. Dr. Melfi, in her office.
Tony Soprano
Season 1, Episode 7, "Down Neck"

3. Barbara & The Sopranos - The One That Got Away

Next up in the Soprano household, there’s little Barbara. While Barbara Soprano Giglione played a relatively minor role in The Sopranos, I’ve always been very curious about her. How did Barbara seem to escape those childhood demons that were forever embedded in Tony and Janice? Perhaps I’m overthinking this, but then again, I’m not entirely sure that’s possible when it comes to The Sopranos.

4. Uncle Jun' Taught Him How to Play Baseball...

Junior Soprano and young Tony Soprano playing baseball in "Down Neck."
The Sopranos, Season 1, Episode 7, "Down Neck"

Additionally, certain Sopranos characters had a habit of repeating themselves. Heh-heh-heh. (You hear what I said, Sil? I said certain characters had a habit of repeating themselves). With Corrado “Junior” Soprano, he couldn’t get enough of telling people that Tony “never had the makings of a varsity athlete.” Was that just Junior breakin’ balls with an old cliché (later combined with his advanced dementia)? Or was there something more to that story? 

In any case, both Tony and Junior brought up playing baseball with one another at multiple points in the series. I think for Uncle Jun’ and Tony, baseball is symbolic of their early relationship as a whole. I look forward to hopefully getting a better look into those many games of catch.

5. The Legend of Dickie Moltisanti - Saint of Newark?

Dickie Moltisanti standing outside in a suit in The Many Saints of Newark
Source: Getty Images

Moving on, a hotly anticipated character in The Many Saints of Newark is Dickie Moltisanti, Chrissy Moltisanti’s father. Christopher saw Tony as a father figure, and Tony likewise looked up to Dickie, right? Truthfully, though, part of me feels like Tony never really idolized Dickie. Christopher even comes to that conclusion when he tells Tony “Lets be honest about the great Dickie Moltisanti, my father, your hero…he wasn’t much more than a junkie.” I guess we’ll see sooner rather than later.

In particular, I’m also looking forward to learning about who killed Dickie Moltisanti. While it could have been Barry Haydu, I wasn’t quite convinced with Tony’s nonchalant confirmation of his identity.

6. Tony Uncle Johnny! Tony Uncle Al! The Story of Tony Blundetto

Tony Soprano toasting to Tony Blundetto coming home from prison.
Season 5, Episode 2, "Rat Pack"

Meanwhile, after nearly 17 years in prison, Tony Blundetto’s return home was a cold reminder of what happens when Tony Soprano “loses control.” Tony B. went to prison in 1986 for a truck hijacking in which Tony Soprano should’ve taken part. Unfortunately, Tony S. left Blundetto hanging when he had a panic attack caused by arguing with Livia that very day. Talk about lots of baggage to unpack. The Many Saints is set in 1967, so Tony B. was certainly around at that time. I hope to see some of that Tony Uncle Johnny – Tony Uncle Al horseplay.

Ralph Cifaretto at Bada Bing
Season 3, Episode 6, "University"

While Ralph was one of the DiMeo family’s top earners, he never moved up the ranks like his peers. As far as Ralph is concerned, getting held back was a result of his lack of participation in robbing Feech La Manna’s card game (we’ll get to that shortly).  A couple of other things we know about Ralph are that he didn’t have a very good relationship with his ma’, his dad died when he was six, and he dropped out in 11th grade to help raise his brothers and sisters. We don’t know too much more, but I look forward to hopefully learning in The Many Saints.

8. The Stick-up of Saint Feech La Manna's Card Game

Tony Soprano talking to Richie Aprile about Feech La Manna's card game
Season 2, Episode 3, "Toodle-f**king-Oo"

Speaking of Ralph’s missed opportunities, how about that famous game night? In multiple points throughout the series, we hear about how Tony, Sil, and Jackie Aprile, Sr. were rising stars after robbing Feech’s card game. In fact, it was right after Ralph told Jackie Jr. and Dino about this classic night that they decided to create their own encore. As we know, that didn’t go too well, but I’ve always wanted to see how the more “successful” card game robbery played out. Ultimately, I imagine that the young Tony, Sil, and Jackie put more thought into it than those who tried to emulate them.

Richie Aprile in ToodleOo
Season 2, Episode 3, "Toodle-f**cking-Oo"

Finally, in addition to his involvement in the aftermath of the Feech card game stick-up, I’m hoping we get to see a little bit of Richie and Janice in The Many Saints of Newark. While their relationship clearly wasn’t a happily-ever-after in the long run, how did it start? Was it “cinematic”? (I see you, Patsy Parisi) 

While Janice had some very unhealthy behaviors, had this already been fully developed when she and Richie started dating? Or did Richie cement it all together in her psyche? Perhaps that could provide some insight into why Janice and Barbara had such different outcomes.

Overall, I think The Many Saints of Newark will shine more light on this larger “Nature v. Nurture” debate that Tony Soprano so often brought to the surface. To be sure, it was a lot for him to digest. Plus, even if Tony could come to a conclusion on how he felt about his upbringing, he figured he probably couldn’t have controlled it either way. You may remember his comment to Dr. Melfi that “You’re born to this shit.” While Dr. Melfi told him “Within that, there’s a range of choices. This is America,” I’m excited to get a taste of that range of choices in March.

Tony Soprano sneaking into his father's car in 1967
Season 1, Episode 7, "Down Neck"

So, what are you looking forward to the most in The Many Saints of Newark?

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