Sopranos prequel: Many Saints of Newark trailer reveals Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano – USA TODAY

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  • Michael Gandolifini plays young Tony Soprano, the role made famous by his late father James Gandolfini.
  • “The Many Saints of Newark” trailer is the first view of “The Sopranos” prequel.
  • “The Many Saints of Newark” will open in theaters October 1 (and streams on HBO Max)

With the first “The Many Saints of Newark” trailer,  Michael Gandolifini steps in as young Tony Soprano, the role his late father James Gandolfini made famous in HBO’s seminal series “The Sopranos.”

The “Sopranos” prequel, produced and co-written by creator David Chase, focuses on Tony’s early years and his influential relationship with Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), the father of Michael Imperioli’s “Sopranos” character Christopher Moltisanti.

“Legends aren’t born, they’re made,” the trailer intones as Dickie steers the impressionable, college-aspiring Tony toward the underworld life. Dickie even explains how to take “hot speakers.”

“You take the speakers right, at the same time, you say to yourself, ‘This is the last time I’m ever going to steal something,’ ” Dickie says. “It’s that simple.”

‘Sopranos’ returning: The characters coming to mob prequel ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

Junior (Corey Stoll, left), Livia (Vera Farmiga), Johnny (Jon Bernthal) and Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini) gather with Joanne (Gabriella La Piazza) and Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) in the upcoming "The Many Saints of Newark."

It cements the mindset for Tony Soprano’s long, tortured criminal existence. Tony’s legendary temper is already on display in the first moments, dishing out punishment to a taunting kid as the elder Gandolfini is heard in “Sopranos” voice-over, “When I was a kid, guys like me were taught to follow codes.”

Tony’s emergence comes as rival gangsters challenge the powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city during one of Newark’s most tumultuous eras.

Among the cast, Vera Farmiga stands out immediately as younger Livia Soprano, the acid-tongued dysfunctional parent memorably played by Nancy Marchand in the original series.

Told by a guidance counselor her school-struggling son has a high IQ, Livia stiffens. “You can’t prove it by me, he’s got a D-plus average,” she says, before snorting about his leadership potential. 

Even as Ray Liottta’s “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti warns his son Dickie to “stay out” of Tony’s life, the violent protege’s future is clear. The trailer’s final moment bridges into “The Sopranos” theme song.

Directed by Alan Taylor (2013’s “Thor: The Dark World”), who won an Emmy directing “Sopranos,” “The Many Saints of Newark” will open in theaters October 1 (streaming on HBO Max for 31 days following theatrical release).

Leslie Odom Jr., (as Harold McBrayer), Jon Bernthal (as Johnny Soprano), Corey Stoll (as Junior Soprano), Billy Magnussen (as Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri), John Magaro (as Silvio Dante) and Italian actress Michela De Rossi round out the cast.

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