Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How This Sopranos Star Really Feels About His Many Saints Of Newark Cameo

Warning: This story contains spoilers from "The Many Saints of Newark"

After 14 years of waiting, fans of the classic HBO mob drama "The Sopranos" are finally getting a chance to revisit the criminal underworld of New Jersey in "The Many Saints of Newark" — a prequel film that examines the formative years of Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) and the made man who mentored him: Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola). Since it is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, "The Many Saints of Newark" largely consists of the younger iterations of such iconic "Sopranos" characters as Junior Soprano (Corey Stoll), Livia Soprano (Vera Farmiga), and Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri (Billy Magnussen). However, one original cast member from the "Sopranos" turns up in the film in a very unexpected way.

Perhaps more surprising, though, is the manner in which "The Sopranos" star makes his cameo, considering he dies at the hands of Tony Soprano (the late James Gandolfini) during the 18th episode in the sixth and final season of the series.

Christopher Moltisanti narrates The Many Saints of Newark

In one of the most shocking scenes in "The Sopranos," Dickie Moltisanti's son, Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), dies in the episode "Kennedy and Heidi." Following a serious car accident that both men survive, Tony — instead of calling 911, pinches his protégé's nose shut so he's unable to breathe — and Christopher dies by choking on his own blood.

Now playing in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max, "The Many Saints of Newark" begins with a shot of graveyard, and voices of the dead are heard as the camera sweeps by various gravestones. Those markers include Christopher's headstone, who recounts the story of his father — and as the scene transitions — he goes on to note the young version of Tony (William Ludwig; Michael Gandolfini plays him as a teen) would go on to murder him.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Imperioli said when "Sopranos" creator and "Many Saints" co-writer David Chase presented him with the screenplay and the unique idea of Christopher narrating the film from beyond the grave, it was an offer the actor simply couldn't refuse.

"For me, it was something of a no-brainer. It makes sense for the movie," Imperioli said. "I like the idea of using the voice from beyond the grave."

The Many Saints voiceover role had a different feel than his work in the series, Michael Imperioli says

Since Christopher appeared in the flesh in "The Sopranos," doing the narration — especially given the demise of his character in the series — was a strange concept for Imperioli to grasp.

"It was fun revising the character, but extracted from the show — actually disembodied is a better word," the actor told THR, laughing. "It was definitely different because so much time had gone by and there was an abstract nature to doing the voiceover, which is different than playing him. When you're playing him, so much of it is him bouncing off the other characters, like Tony (James Gandolfini) and Adriana (Drea de Matteo)." However, that wasn't the only concept that threw Imperioli off during the making of "The Many Saints of Newark." The other came with the portrayal of the father who Christopher never knew.

Michael Imperioli says the Dickie Moltisanti character isn't how he imagined him

Christopher Moltisanti only appears in "The Many Saints of Newark" as a baby, so naturally, the character didn't get a chance to know his father before his untimely death. Adding to the mystery is that Dickie Moltisanti is only spoken of in the series and is merely shown in one vintage photo. As such, Imperioli didn't know what to expect of Dickie Moltisanti in "The Many Saints of Newark," and admitted that he was surprised at what he witnessed.

"Dickie is a mobster and criminal, you can't deny that — but he seems like a good guy. There are some noble qualities to him," Imperioli told THR. "I imagined him before the movie as more like Christopher, more hot-headed, but he wasn't. He was a more composed character, which made me think that a lot of Christopher's defects and addictive-compulsive nature actually came from not having a father."

"The Many Saints of Newark" is now playing in theaters and streaming exclusively on HBO Max through October 31.