The nineties ended, but more importantly, The Sopranos began.
Created by David Chase, the beloved American crime drama arrived on screens back in 1999 and ran for six seasons up until 2007.
Upon concluding, there was a mighty hole left in the viewing of TV enthusiasts around the globe. The show’s reputation has only grown with each passing year and it’s now widely regarded as one of the greatest achievements in television history.
For many years, fans have always held out the hope that they’d be invited back into the crime family for another outing.
What better way than a prequel?
Alan Taylor’s directorial feature finally reached audiences in 2021 and has opened up the floor to some prevalent questions. There are a number of mysteries throughout the series and some are resolved courtesy of this intriguing tale of family and corruption.
Perhaps the biggest is this… who killed Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark?
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK
Who killed Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark?
Although it’s actually an unknown assailant who orchestrates the hit, the cold-blooded murder itself was ordered by none other than Junior Soprano (played here by Corey Stoll).
Set during the sixties and seventies – roughly thirty years before the events of The Sopranos – Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) serves as the prequel’s protagonist and Tony’s uncle.
He proves to be the most important and shaping influence on a young Tony, but he meets a sticky end in the film’s conclusion.
In the final act, Dickie heads to meet with Sally who encourages him to leave Tony be, and indeed, he does ignore him for a time. On the other hand, Silvio later persuades Dickie to patch things up with his protege.
Yet, before he can do just that, he is shot in the head by a hired hand that Junior sent.
Tony attends the wake and stares at the body as the iconic The Sopranos theme plays, followed by a fade to black.
Why did Junior Soprano kill Dickie?
Dickie was arguably Tony’s most valued family member and surely continued to shape him from beyond the grave.
So, it’s important to contemplate why Junior ordered the hit.
Well, there’s actually no defined reason other than Junior was being unbelievably cruel and immature. It’s suggested that he had Dickie murdered in part because he laughed and ridiculed him after falling down some stairs and injuring his back.
It’s a pretty wild reason to kill someone, but the actor who portrays the character has actually shared some insight into the bombshell…
“I don’t think he even really knew”
While in conversation with Inverse, Corey Stoll even admitted that “I don’t think he even really knew why he was doing it.”
While this may seem unsatisfying, it’s worth reminiscing just how erratic and hot-tempered the character could be in the series. Ultimately, Junior’s crime was motivated by pettiness, as Corey continued to suggest in the aforementioned interview:
“There are motivations that are based on power dynamics and protecting oneself and protecting one’s turf. And then there’s this whole other sort of family of motivations, which is just about personal resentments and petty squabbles.”
The Sopranos plunges us into a world where our characters would be wise to always question their relationships, compelled to peer over their shoulder even at the best of times.
Indeed, The Many Saints of Newark thoughtfully and faithfully serves to reinforce that.
The Many Saints of Newark is now in cinemas and on HBO Max.
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