Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman Revealed
The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
Guardians Of The Galaxy Review
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: 6 Issues For £15!
Subscribe today and save 37% off the cover price!
Feature
A History Of The Lone Ranger
Ahead of Verbinski and Depp’s Disney epic, we review the story so far...

submit to reddit

If all you know about The Lone Ranger comes from that Far Side cartoon or the rhyme “On to Toronto, pronto, Tonto!”, fear not! Ahead of the new film outing for the veteran character, with Armie Hammer as the titular Texas Ranger and Johnny Depp as his sidekick Tonto, we bring you the facts you need to know about the character’s history to date.

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
1
  1 of 1  

1. The Lone Ranger was created for a radio show on a station in Detroit, and was first broadcast on January 30, 1933. Nearly 3,000 episodes followed (there's some confusion about the exact number) until September 3, 1954. The character also sparked a 1930s movie serial, a TV show from 1949-1957, four films prior to this effort, comic books, novels, records, three animated series and a video game.
2. The premise of the show was that six Texas Rangers, led by Captain Dan Reid, set out to hunt the notorious Butch Cavendish gang. They were led into an ambush and killed – but for one lone survivor, Dan's brother John Reid, who was badly wounded but still alive when he was found by a Potawatomi called Tonto. Since John has previously saved Tonto's life,
Tonto returned the favour.
3. Here's where it gets clever: Tonto dug six graves at the site so that everyone would think John was dead too, and together the pair set about hunting down Cavendish, his gang and other ne'er-do-wells of similar stripe.
4. The Ranger has a creed, which you can read in full here. What's interesting is that the showrunners also had extra guidelines to follow. So The Lone Ranger never takes off
his mask; always uses proper, slang-free speech; never kills his victims (Batman stole this gimmick!), always shooting to disarm; generally fights American baddies to avoid criticisms from minority groups; and doesn't smoke or drink.
5. A 2003 attempt to relaunch a TV series floundered because it was, well... here's a few facts. Chad Michael Murray played the Lone Ranger, who was renamed "Luke Hartman". There was a love triangle with Tonto's sister, Luke and another Apache (not Potawatomi). There was an environmental thread involving railways, and a peyote-fuelled vision quest. And EVERYONE was very chiselled. Inexplicably, the show was not picked up.

6. The Green Hornet began life as a spin-off of The Lone Ranger – Britt Reid, the hero of that show, is supposed to be the grand-nephew of The Lone Ranger's John Reid. He even wears a similar mask!
7. This new film version has been in development since March 2002, when producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher teamed up with Columbia Pictures to make a Mask Of Zorro-tinged version. In 2003, David and Janet Peoples (Twelve Monkeys) were hired to write the script – only to be replaced by Laeta Kalogridis (Alexander) in 2005, when Jonathan Mostow was set to direct.
8. In May 2007, with the project still no further through development, Jerry Bruckheimer brought it in for Disney, adding his Pirates Of The Caribbean writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio in March 2008. That September, Johnny Depp signed on as Tonto. Mike Newell was in negotiations to direct in May 2009, but it wasn't until September 2010 that a director officially signed on – and now it was Gore Verbinski. Depp remained attached, but had to finish work on Dark Shadows before shooting, while Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) rewrote the Elliott-Rossio supernaturally-themed script. Armie Hammer was cast as the Ranger himself in April 2011.
9. Budget concerns temporarily shelved the film between August and October 2011, but the rewritten script presented a story that, we are assured, is no less epic but perhaps slightly lighter on werewolves (apparently suggested by the tradition that the Ranger fires silver bullets). Hammer's lawman now finds himself squaring off against Tom Wilkinson's devilish Latham Cole.
10. As well as using silver bullets – because he inherited the rights to a silver mine, you know – the Lone Ranger's trusty steed also goes by Silver, as in his classic catchphrase "Hi-yo Silver, away!" We are assured that that will appear in the new film.
For more on The Lone Ranger (out in August 2013 in the UK, and on July 3, 2013 in the US) pick up the new copy of Empire, on sale now.
1
 
1 of 1
 

Have Your Say
Register or login now to let us know what you think.

Your Comments

1 no mention of 1981s The Legend of the Lone Ranger?
i had all the action figures! More

Posted by jackcarter on Tuesday October 30, 2012, 17:22

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Explore The Massive Avengers: Age Of Ultron Comic-Con Banner
Use our interactive gadget to zoom in on Hulk, Iron Man, The Vision and co. in action

The 10 Biggest Stories Of Comic-Con 2014
The shocks to emerge from this year's geek-fest. Avengers! Max! Mann!

Models Inc.: The Inside Story Of Sideshow Collectibles
How the likes of Batman, Superman and Luke Skywalker become collectible figures

Classic Feature: Jack Nicholson - Gods Among Us
Charisma, consistency and cunning summed up in a single word: Jack.

The Empire Podcast #121: Brett Ratner Talks Hercules On This Week's Show
Plus The Purge: Anarchy producer Jason Blum pops in to talk horror

Frank Grillo's Ten Toughest Hollywood Tough Guys
The Purge: Anarchy star picks his favourite badasses

'I Have The Club But I Didn't Get The Lion's Head'
Dwayne Johnson (and pals) talks Hercules props, action and ancient superheroes

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time Subscribers' Cover

Subscribe today and get the cover and 3 issues for only £10!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)