Did Tony die at the end of The Sopranos? Did Carmela? Did we all die instead? Even if you’ve never seen HBO’s iconic crime drama, you’ve likely heard five dozen theories on what happens in the finale. But not all Sopranos fan theories concern that dramatic cut to black. There’s plenty of wild speculation on cats, cannibals, and cults, too. Learn all about it below, but if you’re a newbie, watch out: there are some spoilers ahead.
1. THE SOPRANOS ARE CANNIBALS.
According to this insane theory, Tony Soprano’s men don’t just kill people—they serve them on the menu at Satriale’s. The case rests on two pieces of evidence: 1. Christopher Moltisanti’s offhand remark that it would be a "long time" before he "eats anything at Satriale’s" while disposing of a body and 2. Tony’s crime family's name, DiMeo. That’s pretty similar to Demeo, as in the notorious gangster Roy DeMeo. He had a reputation for dismembering his victims, and certain rumors claim he did something more gruesome than that. While this is a fairly flimsy argument, just to be safe: don’t order the veal at Satriale’s.
2. JANICE WAS IN THE WILD WILD COUNTRY CULT.
Before Tony’s sister Janice relocated to New Jersey, she spent a lot of time in Los Angeles. There she joined an ashram and renamed herself Parvati, after the Hindu goddess of love and fertility. That means she was on the West Coast in the 1980s, at the same time as the Rajneeshpuram cult. Which brings us to the obvious question: Did Janice join their compound in Oregon? It would explain why we know so little about her past, and considering her familiarity with crime, she could’ve helped plan the cult’s arson and assassination attempts. We also know she worked at a coffee shop in Seattle, and isn’t that exactly where you’d go if you were fleeing a cult one state over?
3. VIN MAKAZIAN IS PETER MCCALLISTER.
Remember that detective on Tony’s payroll from season one? His name was Vin Makazian, and he was played by actor John Heard. John Heard also played Kevin McCallister’s dad Peter in Home Alone, and some Redditors think that’s no coincidence. They argue it’s the same character on a long timeline, taking mob money to support his family’s lavish lifestyle. How else could the McCallisters afford a 15-person vacation to Paris?
4. MEADOW ISN’T TONY’S DAUGHTER, BUT HER FRIEND IS.
This fan theory starts with Carmela Soprano having an affair. She gets pregnant, convinces Tony the baby girl is his, then spends a lot of time agonizing over Catholicism to cope with her guilt. But around the same time, Tony’s actual daughter is born. She grows up to be Meadow’s friend Hunter—the one who ends up in medical school, which is what Tony always wanted for Meadow. How did Reddit arrive at this complicated conclusion? It’s all based on Meadow’s “darker features” and relative lack of mental health problems that seem to plague the rest of her family.
5. THAT ORANGE CAT IS A GHOST.
Toward the end of The Sopranos, we meet an orange tabby cat. It loves to stare at a photo on the wall—one of Christopher Moltisanti, Tony’s recently departed nephew and former prótége. Christopher was also the fiance of Adriana La Cerva, a woman with a fondness for animal prints who also met a violent end in the series. That’s why some people think the cat is Adriana’s ghost, back to spook the mobsters who killed her. Others counter that the cat is merely a representation of Adriana, not a literal specter or reincarnation.
6. TONY AVENGED ADRIANA’S DOG.
Ghost cats aside, Christopher was never much of a friend to animals. In season four, he accidentally sat on Adriana’s dog Cosette, crushing the poor pup to death. Karma came back for Christopher later in the series, when Tony whacked him to eliminate a persistent liability. But at least one fan thinks it was actually over Cosette—and there’s convincing photo evidence to support this theory.
7. LILYHAMMER IS SILVIO DANTE’S COMA DREAM.
When we last see Tony’s consigliere Silvio Dante, he’s in a coma, his fate a complete mystery. Or is it? Lots of people think the Netflix series Lilyhammer is Silvio’s crazy coma dream, since it also concerns a mob type played by Steven Van Zandt.
8. TONY WASN’T SHOT; HE HAD A STROKE.
Many fans believe Tony was shot in the final scene of the series, when the music abruptly stops and the camera cuts to black. But what if he died under less violent circumstances? As Vulture points out, Tony wasn’t the healthiest guy. (All that pasta and cigars add up.) So it’s very possible a stroke—rather than a bullet—took him out.
9. TONY WAS DEAD ALREADY.
Another finale theory? Tony doesn’t die ... because he’s already dead. This Reddit thread suggests Tony croaked in the season five episode “The Test Dream,” which features a lengthy dream sequence. According to the fan theory, that sequence is actually Tony passing into the afterlife, and the following season is Tony processing his last memories.
10. THE JUKEBOX JUST GOT UNPLUGGED.
Why did the music cut out in the series finale? Maybe the Journey tune stopped because someone tripped over the jukebox plug. Watch your step the next time you’re in a New Jersey diner. (Especially Holsten's in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where The Sopranos's divisive final scene was filmed.)