"They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know?"

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While The Sopranos creator David Chase says he "had no idea" that the 2007 finale of his acclaimed HBO mob drama would cause such an uproar, there's one aspect of the fan response that particularly peeved him.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Emmy-winning screenwriter said, "What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me."

The final episode of The Sopranos famously concluded on an uneasy but ambiguous note, with Tony (James Gandolfini) and his family sitting down for a meal at a New Jersey diner soundtracked to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" — and then an abrupt cut to black. The ending has been dissected and debated ever since.

Chase said what viewers really wanted was "to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know? That bothered me."

The Sopranos (P621) "Made In America"
James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, and Robert Iler on 'The Sopranos'
| Credit: Will Hart /HBO

The ensuing commotion surrounding Tony's fate made Chase think, "God, you watched this guy for seven years and I know he's a criminal. But don't tell me you don't love him in some way, don't tell me you're not on his side in some way. And now you want to see him killed? You want justice done? You're a criminal after watching this s‑‑‑ for seven years."

While Chase has largely left the ending up to interpretation over the years, he did indicate that he thought of Tony's story wrapping up with his death. In an earlier iteration, "I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car," he said. "At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed."

He later came up with the alternative ending. "I think I had this notion — I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant," Chase recalled. "It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, 'Tony should get it in a place like that.' Why? I don't know. That was, like, two years before [the series ended]."

Regardless of his qualms with how the series finale was received, Chase added that he's "delighted" to see how The Sopranos "still resonates with people" 20 years later.

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