Originally known as The Many Saints of Newark at New Line Cinema, the prequel will now just be titled Newark. According to FOX News, the film will be set during the events of the Newark riots of 1967 and explore Tony Soprano's life at the time. The movie will hit theaters on Sept. 25, 2020.
The character was originally played by the late James Gandolfini who passed away in 2013 at the age of 51. For the prequel film, Gandolfini's 19-year-old son Michael will step into the role alongside a cast of notable names.
Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, and Punisher star Jon Bernthal have all been officially connected to the film. Sopranos creator David Chase is also involved in the film as a co-writer alongside Lawrence Konner. Alan Taylor will take on directing duties.
According to FOX News, the Newark riots occurred in July 1967 and were a reflection of the racial tensions at the time. The unrest resulted in the deaths of 26 people, several injuries, and property damage from looting.
The Sopranos set the standard for the modern "golden age" of television and what would become known as prestige or peak TV. Thousands of words have been written in praise of the show during its run from 1999-2007 and long after it cut to black during its divisive finale. The series earned 21 Emmys, five Golden Globes, and a pair of Peabody Awards during its run.
The cast reunited in January for a look back at the iconic HBO series, celebrating its 20th anniversary and paying tribute to the late Gandolfini.
"I feel like he never really knew how good he was," co-star Edie Falco told Entertainment Tonight at the SVA Theater event. "He was so humble in the face of how great he was. He never really felt like he knew what he was doing...Such a powerful actor and such a powerful scene partner."
Michael Gandolfini talked about the honor of stepping into his father's shadow back when the casting was first announced.
"It's a profound honor to continue my dad's legacy while stepping into the shoes of young Tony Soprano," Gandolfini said of the role. "I'm thrilled that I am going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled."