10 Bizarre ‘The Sopranos’ Fan Theories

Cats, cannibals, and cults are just a few of the wild subjects that have found their way into fan theories about ‘The Sopranos.’

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 about what happens in the finale. But not all Sopranos fan theories concern that notorious cut to black. There’s plenty of wild speculation about 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 Soprano crime family is full of cannibals.


According to this wild 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 Soprano was part of the cult featured in Wild Wild Country.

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 (at least to some): 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, a.k.a. the dad from Home Alone.

Remember that detective on Tony’s payroll from Season 1? 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 that gorgeous Chicago-area home?

4. Meadow is not Tony’s daughter—but her best friend, Hunter, 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 her relative lack of mental health problems, which seem to plague the rest of her family.

5. That orange cat is the ghost of Adriana.

Toward the end of The Sopranos, we meet an orange tabby cat who is transfixed by a photo 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 4, 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 wild 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 that a stroke—rather than a bullet—took him out.

9. Tony was already dead.

Will Hart, HBO

Another finale theory? Tony doesn’t die ... because he’s already dead. This The Sixth Sense-ish Reddit thread suggests Tony croaked in the season 5 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 finale’s fade to black was just the jukebox being 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.)

A version of this story ran in 2018; it has been updated for 2024.