As if anyone needed a confirmation (actually, apparently many do), David Chase has settled the issue of The Sopranos ending.  On whether or not Tony Soprano was whacked, Chase has confirmed that he was with TheHollywoodReporter.

But he first spoke of a different ending for the series:

“I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. 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.”

However around the fourth season, Chase changed his mind:

“But I think I had this notion – I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. 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.”

Chase also expressed frustration with those looking to have the character clearly killed on screen, suggesting a hint of hypocrisy.

“They wanted to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know? And I just thought, ‘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 shit for seven years.’ That bothered me, yeah.”

The only question is who did it, and why.  This is one of the few weaknesses of The Sopranos, in my opinion; sacrificing narrative for the sake of ‘artistic’ obliqueness, or open-ended for the sake of it.  Something I’ve always considered a cheap theater trick.  It’s clear that New York ordered the hit, it’s almost certain why (Leotardo and Soprano were out of control), but I don’t see the point in keeping that under wraps.