Did Tony Soprano die or what? David Chase talks

Dec 18, 2012 at 12:14 p.m. ET

It was one of the most frustrating few seconds in the history of television: The screen cuts to black while viewers wait to learn the fate of hero/villain Tony Soprano. Writer David Chase defends his choice.

James Gandolfini in the series finale of The Sopranos

Millions of fans of the hit HBO drama The Sopranos were left angry and frustrated by the series finale: In the final seconds, as we waited to see if Tony Soprano would be gunned down in front of his family, the screen cut to black in a move worthy of sliding the episode onto our list of top 10 series finales.

So what gives? Writer and series creator David Chase talked to the AP about the infamous ending while promoting his new movie Not Fade Away.

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"Did Tony die or didn't he die? Well, first of all, it really comes down to this: There was, what, six seasons of that show? Seven? Am I supposed to do a scene and ending where it shows that crime doesn't pay?" Chase told the Associated Press.

'Well, we saw that crime pays. We've been seeing that for how many years? Now, in another sense, we saw that crime didn't pay because it wasn't making him happy. He was an extremely isolated, unhappy man. And then finally, once in a while he would make a connection with his family and be happy there. But in this case, whatever happened, we never got to see the result of that. It was torn away from him and from us."

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"It's really about time, to me — just to me — and love. What else do we have in this universe? It's a cold universe. People said, 'Oh, the show is so dark,' and it posited the notion that nobody ever changes. That was never my intention. Change is hard to come by, and like most of us, he wasn't trying hard enough."

"People said, 'Oh, it got worse and worse and worse.' I think he's the same guy in the beginning as he was in the end. Maybe had a little bit more capacity for compassion for people, I don't know."

"I said it's a cold universe and I don't mean that metaphorically. If you go out into space, it's cold. It's really cold and we don't know what's up there. We happen to be in this little pocket where there's a sun. What have we got except love and each other to guard against all that isolation and loneliness?"

In other words, Chase doesn't know if Tony Soprano died either.

Image courtesy WENN.com

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