First Footage of Johnny Depp's Tonto Shown at San Diego Comic-Con


Yesterday, at the massive San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), Disney gave about 6,000 attendees a surprise early look at one of today's most anticipated film projects—both within and outside of Indian country—The Lone Ranger, in which Johnny Depp plays the familiar Native sidekick Tonto to Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger.

For American Indians, the fact that Depp is portraying a Native American in such a major movie has been a topic of fascination and much debate. From the reports out of SDCC, it seems, the footage will likely add fuel to the fire for those who aren't happy with the situation. Depp reportedly had one line in the clip:

“There come a time, Kemosabe … when good man must wear mask.”

There has been much talk of a more sensitive and complex portrayal of Tonto; apparently, though, Tonto will speak in the same, well, Tonto-speak of all his previous incarnations.

For an on-the-scene reaction, there may be none better than that of's Jordan Hoffman, who tweeted: "I dunno, Johnny Depp's kinda Uncle Tomahawking it up with LONE RANGER"

Here are some more comments from the press on hand.

Entertainment Weekly: "Those looking for a darker take on The Lone Ranger will be pleased by the intense tone and focus on action over humor. Critics of Depp portraying a Native American may not like him dropping articles out of his speech, but others may have complained about if he didn’t. So that’s a break-even; there didn’t appear to be anything disrespectful about the voice that might provoke more complaints than the ones already out there."

Associated Press: "The brief clip hinted at [Tonto's] craftiness, with one scene showing him riding beneath a speeding train." "Depp's look as Tonto is just as strange as you think, and in one line of voiceover dialogue ... he's speaking in a kind of broken English that I'm sure has already made Native American groups furious (I'm willing to withhold judgment to see how it works out, though it still seems dicey)."

MovieTalk (Yahoo): "atop the plains we spy a beefy man in a black suit, black mask, and white hat. Our hero, Armie Hammer. Next to Armie's Ranger stands his kemosabe Tonto, played with pageantry and poise by a shirtless Johnny Depp with a crow on his head. The dynamic duo getty-up after the train (sorry, no "Heigh Ho, Silver"). ... Then we flash to Tonto somehow appearing underneath the train, looking like he's ready to pounce. And boy do the fans in Hall H seem ready for Johnny to pounce."

The Hollywood Reporter and have further insightful (though not Tonto-focused) information about the clip, which according to rumor may be posted online today.

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apacheinga's picture
Submitted by apacheinga on
When did Mr.Depp join the band "KISS" ?

husbandofmoonlight's picture
Submitted by husbandofmoonlight on
When I was a kid in the fifties and sixties we used to laugh at the "Lone Ranger"---and we used to mockingly ask, "why would Tonto ride around with some white guy who wears a mask? He don't need no white guy". Since we were "ranch hands and cowboys ourselves" we all thought it was a big joke, until one time at a Rodeo one of our friends told us that "Kemosabe" "really means";"spreds his cheeks". LOL By the way, that Raven on Depps head?--Does it stay in palce while they "chase bad guys" at a dead run on those Horses---or does he need to stop first and dismount to "tuck the bird"----after "Kemosabe spreads the cheeks"?-----------------ah---life's many questions. "If the USA were any other criminal nation the 'Americans' would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justifited". Only in America would they be able to dig up some old remnant from their dysfunctional past---brush it off---and sell it again.

soundstep's picture
Submitted by soundstep on
Want to hear a Lone Ranger joke? "Why did the Lone Ranger always wear a mask? Because he didn't want everyone to know he was Tonto’s pet."