Seven years after The Sopranos finished, the perennial question 'Did Tony live or die at the end?' has resurfaced due to an interview in which creator David Chase appeared to declare that the mob boss did live on, but fortunately he has since added some wonderfully ambiguous explanation of the final scene.
It was this quote, tucked away in a lengthy Vox article about Chase's career, that got everyone worked up:
"We were in a tiny coffee shop, when, in the middle of a low-key chat about a writing problem I was having, I popped the question. Chase startled me by turning toward me and saying with sudden, explosive anger, “Why are we talking about this?” I answered, “I’m just curious.” And then, for whatever reason, he told me. [...]
He shook his head “no.” And he said simply, “No he isn’t.” That was all."
Something didn't sit right with me about the apparent clarification, perhaps because it was forced out of him, perhaps because he gave it so angrily - as if he was making it up just so the constant questioning would cease.
"A journalist for Vox misconstrued what David Chase said in their interview. To simply quote David as saying," Tony Soprano is not dead," is inaccurate. There is a much larger context for that statement and as such, it is not true. As David Chase has said numerous times on the record, "Whether Tony Soprano is alive or dead is not the point." To continue to search for this answer is fruitless. The final scene of The Sopranos raises a spiritual question that has no right or wrong answer."
The explanation of course shouldn't even need to be made.
The whole point of the cut-to-black ending was to leave Tony both alive and dead, like Schrödinger's wise guy, trapped in a cycle of constantly looking over his shoulder and musing, as Bobby Bacala put it: "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"
Hopefully we can now put the whole issue to bed, the same going for the fate of Breaking Bad's Walter White which was again thrown into question for no good reason this week.