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Ed Falco will write prequel 'Godfather' novel

Mario Puzo's bestselling mafia novel, "The Godfather," will get a prequel, it was announced Wednesday. Publisher Grand Central says "The Family Corleone" will come to shelves in June 2012.

"The Family Corleone," an "all-new prequel," will be based on an unproduced screenplay written by Puzo. The 78-year-old Puzo died of a heart attack in 1999.

Assigned to bring Puzo's original characters to early life was Ed Falco, a novelist, short-story writer and playwright who runs the creative writing program at Virginia Tech. Falco is an interesting choice for a number of reasons: He grew up Catholic in Brooklyn; his writing has dealt with violence; the Virginia Tech shooter, who killed 32 people in 2007, was one of his students. And on the more frivolous side, he is the uncle of actress Edie Falco, who starred in the modern-day mafia hit "The Sopranos."

In a 2009 interview with Popmatters, Falco talked about his past:

"I grew up in the Catholic Church. I was an altar boy at the age of 10, and the mythology of Christianity is just written in my bones. I don’t consider myself conventionally religious, I’m not like a churchgoing Catholic, but the mythology of Christianity is always interrogated and thought about in my writing. I think of myself as a spiritual person, but not a religious person....

[The Virginia Tech shootings] happened in the midst of the novel ["Saint John of the Five Boroughs," 2009], so I was already writing about this when it happened. And people have asked me, because I write about violence regularly in my fiction, what is it to have one of your students do something like that. I’ve never been able to really come up with any sort of coherent response to it. It seems to me like another example of the kind of horrific cultural violence endemic in America. And it just hit home this time.

Before selecting Falco to write "The Family Corleone," the Puzo family authorized two sequels to "The Godfather" -- "The Godfather Returns" in 2004 and "The Godfather's Revenge" in 2006. Both novels were written by Mark Winegardner, director of the creative writing program at Florida State University.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Marlon Brando in the 1972 film "The Godfather." Credit: Paramount Pictures

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Will it feature the powerful few entities with large media control as the successor to the Corleone empire, with power unprecedented in world history?

I'm interested in the war experiences that Michael had that contributed to turning him from preppy to the hardened Don that he later became. I hope this is explored in Mr. Falco's novel

can no one already this is a BAD idea? you know it's going to suck.

and DON STEELE? It's a PREquel not a SEquel

Wasn't this subject already addressed in "The Godfather, Part II?" What could he possibly write that could outdo the family history portrayed in that film? What more information of relevance could he provide that we don't already have? Bad idea...

I rank myself as a devoted fan of Puzo's novel and the Godfather trilogy.

The novels by Winegardner were tawdry attempts - they almost ruined my appreciation of the saga. It did not help that his treatment of Michael's pre-war and WW2 experience was hallow.

I can only hope Falco writes his prequel as if Winegardner's work never existed.

I wish Falco well even though he is connected with the Hokies of VA Tech. A Spider would have been a better choice.

I don't know why this is being done. "Godfather II" won the Academy Award for telling the early story of the Corleones. No story or group of actors could possibly achieve what that film did. This is a ridiculously obvious attempt to re-capitalize on the success of that 36-year-old franchise.

JohnRJo8 & BigP1914, I am with you, the prequel IS Godfather II, it goes back to the Godfather's childhood, what more can be added? Go into Don Corleone's mother's womb? Don't see it . . .

Well, I guess in Godfather II we only saw the backstory up to Vito Corleone taking over his neighborhood, going to Sicily and getting his revenge on Don Ciccio, then fast-forward to the flashback in 1941 as Michael announces that he's signed up to go to war. So there's about a 15-year period we haven't seen, where Vito builds his family into a major Mafia power, that could yield some good stories. I personally wouldn't mind watching Clemenza and Tessio kick some ass while in their prime, and maybe bring in characters like Hyman Roth in their younger years.

I figure, what the heck. Godfather III already crapped all over the franchise anyway, so it's not like another film presents much more of a threat to Coppola's legacy.


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