David Chase Gives In-Depth Explanation of 'Sopranos' Final Scene

The normally cryptic creator opens up about his rationale behind that infamous ending.
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Don't stop believing, indeed. It's been eight years since The Sopranos went off the air with what continues to be one of the most debated final scenes of all time, but creator David Chase has finally opened up — a little — about his thinking behind that widely discussed cut-to-black.

In an interview with DGA Quarterly, Chase breaks down the final moments of the acclaimed series shot-by-shot, as Tony and his family sit down for dinner at a diner and Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' " plays in the background.

"That last shot of Tony ends on 'don't stop,' it's mid-song. I'm not going to go into [if it's Tony's POV]. I thought the possibility would go through a lot of people's minds, or maybe everybody's mind, that he was killed," said Chase. "He might have gotten shot three years ago in that situation. But he didn't. Whether this is the end here or not, it's going to come at some point for the rest of us."

In the final episode, titled "Made in America," several of Tony's mafia cohorts were killed by a rival mob, leaving many to question whether Tony met the same fate off-camera.

"Hopefully, we're not going to get shot by some rival gang mob or anything like that. I'm not saying that [happened]," said Chase. "But he obviously stood more of a chance of getting shot by a rival gang mob than you or I do because he put himself in that situation. All I know is the end is coming for all of us."

Since The Sopranos finale aired in June, 2007, Chase has given limited interviews discussing the contested ending and has refused to offer an interpretation of what happened to Tony. "I thought the ending would be somewhat jarring, sure. But not to the extent it was, and not a subject of such discussion. I really had no idea about that," said Chase. "I never considered the black a shot. I just thought that what we see is black. The ceiling I was going for at that point — the biggest feeling I was going for, honestly — was don't stop believing. It was very simple and much more on the nose than people think. That's what I wanted people to believe. That life ends and death comes, but don't stop believing.

"There are attachments we make in life — even though it's all going to come to an end — that are worth so much, and we're so lucky to have been able to experience them," said Chase. "Life is short. Either it ends here for Tony or some other time. But in spite of that, it's really worth it. So don't stop believing."

Leave your thoughts and theories on Chase's latest remarks in the comments section below.

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