The Sopranos

Many Saints Of Newark Makes A Joke The Sopranos Never Could

A joke in the Many Saints Of Newark trailer about the long-time Soprano's associate Salvatore Bonpensiero wouldn't make sense in the show.

The latest trailer for The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints Of Newark reveals that the upcoming movie will make a joke about iconic character Salvatore Bonpensiero that the original series never could. From current footage, it’s clear that the movie will provide key background for a host of popular figures. However, owing to the nature of the original show and the complex pre-existing relationships between characters, some punchlines were simply off-limits. Fortunately, the new film has a fresh slate – especially when it comes to nicknames.

Featuring the likes of Tony Soprano, Paulie Gualtieri and Silvio Dante, The Many Saints Of Newark includes returns for many of The Sopranos’ most significant players. Set during the 1960s, the story follows Tony Soprano’s mentor, Dickie Moltisanti, as well as chronicling the rise of the DiMeo crime family on the streets of Newark. Other members of Tony Soprano’s future crew and associates to feature include baby Christopher Moltisanti, Artie Bucco and Beansie Gaeta.

RELATED: Why The Sopranos’ Christopher Narrates The Many Saints Of Newark

Despite the veritable rogues’ gallery of Sopranos regulars, one returning character is particularly eye-catching in the trailer. Salvatore Bonpensiero was long considered one of Tony Soprano’s best friends before he became an informant for the authorities during season 2. His nickname “Big Pussy” was long considered a source of mystery, although it was regularly accepted by viewers as part of The Sopranos tapestry. However, in the Many Saints Of Newark trailer, other characters are seen laughing at the nickname, suggesting that the obvious explicit insinuations are not as far-fetched as the show’s blasé attitude would suggest. But, while it’s in some ways reassuring to see other characters make a joke about Bonpensiero, there’s a good reason it wouldn’t have made sense for the TV show.

Gangsters sitting around a table in The Many Saints of Newark

One of the things that made The Sopranos so rich from the outset was the unspoken, preestablished bond between characters. Longstanding friendships between the likes of Tony Soprano – famously portrayed by James Gandolfini – and Bonpensiero not only made the entire drama more compelling but also helped to explain key behavioral traits and ticks. It also meant that there was no need for repeated referrals to unusual nicknames, such as “Big Pussy”. If the show had made constant reference to Bonpensiero’s X-rated pseudonym, it would have undercut the characters’ supposedly decades-old bonds. Because it was subtextual, the lack of joking actually enhanced the narrative as a whole.

By contrast, however, the new movie serves as a way to establish these relationships. Because of this, it makes sense for the script to make jokes about the likes of “Big Pussy” and Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri, since it may be the first time some of these characters interact with each other. In this way, The Many Saints Of Newark can help inform the audience’s understanding of key characters in a way that wouldn’t have made sense for the original Sopranos series.

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