The ending of The Sopranos is legendary at this point. As Tony Soprano (Played by James Gandolfini) sits down at a diner to discuss family business with his wife Carmela Soprano (Played by Edie Falco) and Anthony Soprano, Jr. (Played by Robert Iler), a mysterious man enters, followed by Tony's daughter Meadow (Played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler) who arrives late. As the bell rings and Tony looks up...it cuts to black. And to this day, series creator David Chase refuses to give a definite interpretation of the ending. Does Tony get killed or does he live and enter the enter protection program. As it turns out...the late-Gandolfini himself had an answer...and made a sequel short film that's never been seen before. Though it was made for the strangest reason.
This comes from the mouth of his co-star Falco who recently appeared on The Atlantic’s “Shattered: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks” podcast (via Insider). During this interview, she revealed that her and Gandolfini had the short film shot in 2010 that offers the possible ending what would have happened had Tony entered witness protection. Why they did this? Apparently...for LeBron James.
Specifically, the pair made the film at the request of the New York Knicks in order to help the basketball organization lure James because, at the time, James was a free agent after his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers expired. All of the top teams in the NBA wanted James, and the Knicks came up with the idea to make a short film with “The Sopranos” stars to help bring James to the Big Apple. Falco had this to say:
“We got those requests all the time back then and [James] Gandolfini, he did nothing. And somehow, he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by. I thought it was a prank when someone said he’s going to do it…[and then] there he was, dressed as Tony. He must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realized.”
Sadly, it didn't work as James decided to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat:
“I couldn’t believe that it didn’t work,. Not so much because of The Sopranos. I just thought, it’s New York. How does anyone say no to New York, for God’s sake? But he did!”
While the short film can't be found, it's interesting to know that somewhere out there, another piece of one of the greatest shows of all-time exists. A show that many dub began the "Golden Age of Television" in which shows began to achieve cinematic-quality narratives. Maybe someday we'll get to see it. Who knows? Stay tuned!