In The Sopranos: The Complete Book (in bookstores on 10.30), interviewer Brett Martin asks producer David Chase about that final cut-to-black scene in the diner and if there’s a puzzle to be solved.

“There are no esoteric clues in there,” Chase answers. “No Da Vinci Code. Everything that pertains to that episode was in that episode. And it was in the episode before that and the one before that and seasons before this one and so on.

The seed of the finale, says Chase, was “just that Tony and his family would be in a diner having dinner and a guy would come in. Pretty much what you saw.” The way it plays out, he feels, delivers “a definite sense of what Tony and Carmela’s future looks like. Whether it happened that night or some other night doesn’t really matter.

“There had been indications of what the end is like,” he explains. “Remember when Jerry Torciano was killed? Silvio was not aware that the gun had been fired until after Jerry was on his way down to the floor. That’s the way things happen: It’s already going on by the time you even notice it.”

This gets Martin’s attention. He says to Chase, “Are you saying…?” And Chase waves it right off. “I’m not saying anything. And I’m not trying to be coy. It’s just that I think that to explain it would diminish it.”