Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is one of the most beloved novels & films grounded within international cinematic history. Although films based on La Costa Nostra or standalone gangsters predated the 1972 film, it wasn’t until Puzo cracked open the floodgates with his 1969 novel The Godfather that the mafia became a permanent fixture.
The Paramount + biographical drama series The Offer put The Godfather in the spotlight once again. The series followed Albert S. Ruddy, Francis Coppola, Mario Puzo & Paramount Pictures’ push to get The Godfather to the big screen. The series starred Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Giovanni Ribisi, Colin Hanks, Dan Fogler, Juno Temple, & Burn Gorman. The release of The Offer coincided with the 50th anniversary of The Godfather. Still, it could also be Paramount + testing the water to see if audiences would respond well to the series & gain or regain interest in The Godfather films or a possible adaption of one of the sequel books, especially since they still own the rights.
The first film in The Godfather trilogy was directed by Francis Coppola & starred stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, & Diane Keaton. The sequel, The Godfather II, hit the big screen in 1974 & The Godfather III hit the big screen in 1990. The first two films did great at the box office & with moviegoers, but it’s the third film that didn’t bring the gusto.
The Godfather is still popping up on big screens here in the states via Alamo & is streaming on platforms like Amazon Prime Video; however, I feel that more can be squeezed from the novels that followed the original.
Puzo did write a sequel novel for The Godfather, which was called The Sicilian & featured Michael Corleone & the family heavily throughout the book but didn’t center on Michael & chronicled the life of “Giuliano” (Salvatore Giuliano). In 2004, Random House published a sequel to Puzo’s The Godfather called The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner & in 2006, The Godfather’s Revenge hit bookshelves. The two books mirror specific paths of the second & third films but feature new characters.
A series about Ed Falco’s 2012 novel The Family Corleone would be perfect. The novel is a prequel that centers on Vito Corleone’s rise to power & also centers on characters like Santino Corleone (Sonny), Tom Hagen & Luca Brasi. The series should expand on Vito’s family & criminal life & center on Vito’s early crew like Genco Abbandando, Frank Pentangeli, Peter Clemenza, Salvatore Tessio & Luca Brasi.
In The Godfather 2, we saw a young Vito, Peter & Tesio pulling off their first crime together & we got to see Vito take out Don Fanucci (The Black Hand), which grounded Vito as the new boss of the fifth crime family. The series could also go more in-depth about the Olive Oil War that had Vito going up against real-life crime boss Salvatore Maranzano & shine some light on Vito’s relationships with the heads of the other families, especially Emilio Barzini.
The Family Corleone takes place in 1933 when Sonny is 17, trying to prove to his father that he belongs in the family business & Tom is climbing up the ladder to become consigliere (advisor) of the Corleone Crime Family. Having a series that shows us the young quick-tempered Sonny & his bond with Tom would be a great way to pull us closer to these characters. As for Vito, we know from The Godfather novel, the first film & the sequel that Vito’s past is covered in blood & betrayal, which fans of the novels & movies would love to see more of, especially within a long-running series.
The Family Corleone, if done correctly, could be a great follow-up to HBO’s The Sopranos. The series should focus mainly on Vito but should also dive into the lives of his sons, especially Michael Corleone, who would become the boss of the Corleone family after Vito’s passing. We know in the books, during the scene where Michael offers to kill Captain McCluskey & Sollozzo, that Sonny mentions Michael wasn’t just the quiet & reserved son, but he was also a fighter & always fought with Sonny & Fredo. Seeing Michael growing & learning from his father from the outside of the family business would be great as he fits perfectly into both worlds. It would also be a great way to flesh out Connie Corleone & show her relationship with her family, especially with Michael. Another character who I think always got the short end of the stick & whose past would be great to explore is Fredo. Fredo wasn’t the strongest or most intelligent amongst the Corleone brothers, but he somehow made it into the family business. What was Fredo like as a teenager? Did he ever get his hands dirty? These are questions that could be explored throughout the series.
There have been no talks about any adaption of the sequel books heading to the big or small screen, but we can only hope that Paramount has something up their sleeves & somehow comes to an agreement with the Puzo estate to bring some untouched stories from the books to the small or big screen.