David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, recently dished on lingering series questions, including the one major character he regrets killing off. Widely considered to be one of the greatest television shows of all time, The Sopranos aired on HBO from 1999 to 2007. The crime drama follows Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) as he juggles the conflicting needs of his actual family and his Mafia family
Sopranos actors, Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, who plays Christopher Moltisanti and Baccalieri, respectively—launched the Talking Sopranos podcast in April 2020 to help ease the minds of stressed Sopranos fans. In the podcast’s 91-episode run, the hosts interviewed various actors, writers, producers, and others who were central to the production of The Sopranos. The show also resulted in the best-selling book Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos, co-authored by Imperioli and Schirripa. For the podcast’s finale episode, showrunner David Chase guest starred to verify fan theories, indulge inquiries, and confirm that, yes, Ralph killed the racehorse Pie-o-My.
On the last episode of Talking Sopranos (via THR) Chase admitted that he regrets killing Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, who was played by Vincent Pastore. A close friend and mob enforcer to Tony, the gang killed Sal at the end of season 2 after confirming that he was an informant for the FBI. “It was too soon because we all loved that guy, and we loved the actor also,” Chase told Imperioli and Schirripa. “But, it made for a great story. What can I say?”
In addition to being a lovable cast member, Sal was a Sopranos fan favorite, making his death sting all the more sharply. Sal’s betrayal and death was also the impetus for some of The Sopranos’ most surreal fever dreams. In the season 2 finale, “Funhouse,” Chase leans into some of the series’ most elaborate dream imagery, representing Sal as a talking fish and providing insight into Tony’s subconscious. Though Sal ultimately sleeps with the fishes, it was, as Chase explains, for the good of the story.
Though Chase killed off Sal at the end of season 2, it’s not the last that fans see of Vincent Pastore. Sal makes several appearances after his death in the form of dreams and flashbacks. The character also appears in the Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, where he is played by Samson Moeakiola. If HBO is successful in creating a full Sopranos sequel series, fans could be seeing even more of Sal in the future.