Sopranos creator David Chase has cast James Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini in the role of young Tony Soprano, Deadline reports. The younger Gandolfini will revisit his late father’s signature role in The Many Saints of Newark, a Sopranos feature that New Line Cinema bought last March. Though none of the original cast members have announced they are returning, there will be a mini-reunion behind the camera: Sopranos veteran Alan Taylor is directing from a script by Sopranos veteran Lawrence Konner and Chase himself.
Set in the 1960s, The Many Saints of Newark reportedly focuses on Tony’s mentor Dickie Moltisanti and is set against the backdrop of the Newark race riots. The Sopranos featured frequent flashbacks to the previous generation of mafiosi—one flashback showed Livia Soprano watching those same riots—and as Deadline dryly notes, “there are expected to be call-backs and shout-outs to numerous other series characters.”
In a statement, Michael Gandolfini wrote, “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano.” Gandolfini, who recently had a recurring role on The Deuce, won the part after a lengthy audition process, although his resemblance to his father certainly didn’t hurt. James Gandolfini died of a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 51; Tony Soprano’s fate remains unknown and unknowable.