Should You Watch ‘The Sopranos’ Before ‘The Many Saints of Newark’? Cast Says No

Billed as one of the hottest movies of the year, The Many Saints of Newark drops on Oct. 1. Fans will slip back in time and see young versions of some of their favorite characters from The Sopranos. Paulie Walnuts, Tony Soprano, Uncle Junior, Silvio, and the famous Dickie Moltisanti appear as part of the overarching gangster’s tale. But does that mean viewers should binge watch every season of the TV show beforehand? Not really.

‘The Many Saints of Newark’ with Billy Magnussen as Paulie Walnuts, Jon Bernthal as Johnny Soprano, Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, Ray Liotta as ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti and Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti
‘The Many Saints of Newark’ cast: Billy Magnussen, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, John Magaro, Ray Liotta, Alessandro Nivola | Barry Wetcher/Warner Bros. Pictures

When exactly does ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ take place?

It’s noted that one of the major characters in Many Saints is Alessandro Nivola’s Dickie. He’s Christopher Moltisanti’s dad and an old family friend of the Sopranos. Because most of the film takes place in 1967, fans will dive into the Sopranos’ ties not only with Dickie, but with the DiMeo crime family. But more mob members will be present too.

17-year-old Tony and his parents — Livia and Johnny Boy — are just a piece of the story. There’s drama within the mafia ranks but there are rising racial tensions in the city of Newark, and it’s bad for everyone. Creator David Chase expressed that The Many Saints of Newark is about its gangsters, and not just Tony Soprano. With that in mind, it is not a requirement to know every chapter of The Sopranos.

Michael Gandolfini agrees ‘Many Saints’ is its own separate story

Gandolfini plays a younger version of his father’s famous character, Tony Soprano. He recently appeared on his co-star Joey Diaz’s podcast, Uncle Joey’s Joint and The Church of What’s Happening Now. Diaz plays Lino “Buddha” Bonpensiero in Many Saints, Sal’s (Big Pus*y) father.

When Diaz and Gandolfini spoke about the movie, Diaz recounted how a family member just started watching The Sopranos, hoping to catch up before seeing the film. But he advised him not to because “the movie stands alone.” Gandolfini agreed, simply saying, “It really does.” No need to binge watch all those episodes.

David Chase set out to tell a ‘Sopranos’ tale about ‘the old days’

Chase admitted to Rolling Stone that he became intrigued by the idea of doing a Sopranos movie set in the ‘50s or ‘60s. At first, a prequel wasn’t on his mind. But young Junior and young Johnny running together gave him ideas. And Dickie Moltisanti came to the forefront as an interesting central figure. As far as the gangster theme, Chase pointed out that this era is the perfect backdrop for an entirely separate story.

“It was before the R.I.C.O. statutes,” he said. “And it was when mobsters used to dress well — before track suits and all that. I guess that was maybe the highlight of the mob in those days. Before drugs, and before R.I.C.O. statutes.”


‘The Many Saints of Newark’ Is Not a Tony Soprano Prequel, Says Creator David Chase

Chase focused on the “glory days” in this mob movie, and all the OG players in The Sopranos add to it, but watching the ‘90s version of them is not a requirement to enjoy The Many Saints of Newark. It’s about Dickie, the DiMeo crime organization, and the Newark community. Save the binge-watching for later if you want, and check out the film when in arrives on HBO Max and in theaters on Oct. 1.