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The Sopranos Character Who Was Almost Killed Off In The First Season

The cast kill list for David Chase's revered mob series masterpiece, "The Sopranos," is long. Like, really long. Captains, friends, rats, and dogs have died at the hands of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) or one of his many close workers in the "waste management" business through its beloved seven-season run. It's the nature of the organized crime beast, of course. Characters getting "whacked" in HBO's award-winning series was as integral to its story as a bombardment of F-bombs and Tony getting through cold cuts like they were going out of date. However, there was one character in the beloved twisted New Jersey family tree that was set to go out a lot sooner than initially planned.

Incredibly, even with the intricate plot threads woven by Chase (some of which were left wide open for fans to chew over for years after its end), there was one that he left to go on further than he had initially planned. This storyline featured a character who had a major impact on Tony in the grand scheme of things and ended up staying longer than intended.

Tony was supposed to kill his mother in the show's first season

"She's smiling! Look at her smiling!" Tony cries as his meddling and mentally scarring mother, Livia, is wheeled off on a hospital bed after he tried smothering her with a pillow. It's one of the first season's most nerve-shredding moments, as it shows how Tony attempted to kill his mother. Initially, the effort of familicide was supposed to be successful, as David Chase had always planned for Tony to accomplish his mission of vengeance. However, at the request of the actress that played her, he changed tactics.

In an interview for Vanity Fair, the show's creator revealed that he kept Livia in the show at the request of Nancy Marchand, the actress that brought Tony's pessimistic mother to the screen in the first two seasons. As Marchand had cancer throughout her time on the series in real life, Chase recalled that he happily obliged his cast member's request. "Nancy Marchand, she was ill. She had said to me, 'David, just keep me working.' We couldn't kill her," he said. 

Of course, Chase had no choice by Season 3, as Marchand sadly died before filming. Nevertheless, the impact of Livia Soprano lingered throughout the series and was a true testament to one of the greatest performances the show had to offer.