‘The Lone Ranger’ Burning Questions

Credit: Disney Enterprises

Even with a movie that doesn’t seem to have too much more to it than a few shoot-outs, some goofy gags, and an impressive climactic train chase sequence, we’re still left with questions. After seeing The Lone Ranger this weekend, we wonder a few things: What’s with all the cannibalism? What do all of these actors have in common? Is there any real world historical grounding for this story? Luckily (and we use that term loosely), we have some answers to a few of the biggest burning questions to follow your viewing of the Armie Hammer/Johnny Depp adventure:

First thing’s first. How much did this crazy thing cost, anyhow?
About $215 million dollars, which went into funding the nonstop special effects — train chases ain’t cheap.

Aside from the title, are there any similarities between the new movie and its source material?
Yes: the names. “John Reid,” the lawman-turned-renegade hero played by Armie Hammer, has actually been used (albeit on rare occasions) to identify the Lone Ranger character in the past. Additionally, the film’s baddie Butch Cavendish derives his name from the original Lone Ranger’s arch enemy. And, of course, Tonto. Other than that, the only characteristics shared are the fact that they’re both about cowboys who uphold justice. All of those fantastical elements were invented for the movie.

So no one came back from the dead or ate hearts or talked to horses in the original? Where did all that stuff come from?
Believe it or not, this was the toned down version of the Lone Ranger adaptation. Originally, the bad guys were werewolves. Although director Gore Verbinski denies these rumors, it does explain all the heart-eating, and makes the whole silver bullet thing a hell of a lot more comprehensible.

They seem to have replaced “werewolf” with “wendingo.” What, pray tell, is a “wendingo”?
The word comes from Algonquin lore, denoting a cannibalistic spirit that possesses human bodies and turns them into vicious monsters.

Speaking of which, does Johnny Depp actually play an American Indian in this movie?
Yes. A member of the Comanche tribe. The Comanche are a people whose history largely involved residence in New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Couldn’t they get an actual American Indian to play the American Indian character?
I don’t think they really tried. However, some of the other speaking parts for Comanche characters are played by Native American Indian actors — most prominently, Saginaw Grant: a longtime actor and motivational speaker, and member of the Sac-n-Fox, Iowa, and Otoe-Missouria nations.

Speaking of the supporting characters, how many of the actors in this movie have been in Justified? I counted a few.
At least three: Damon Herriman, Stephen Root, and W. Earl Brown.

Hey, Stephen Root! He plays a railroad president named Habberman here. Was there ever a prominent railroad figure named “Habberman”?
Not to the best of our knowledge, but there was a railroad station named “Haberman,” located on the Montauk branch of the Long Island Railroad until 1998. So… there’s that.

Ooh, Montauk! My friend went there over the 4th of July, but I’ve never been. Is it nice?
Yes, very! It gets a bit crowded in the summer, and traffic to get out there is murder, but there are beautiful beaches and a ton of great shopping and places to eat.

Shucks, I spent my holiday weekend seeing The Lone Ranger. Did anybody else?
It only made $48 million. So no, not really. Just you.

Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter | Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com

‘The Lone Ranger’ Review
The Best and Worst Movie Reboots
Behind the Scenes of ‘The Lone Ranger’

From Our Partners
Stars Pose Naked for ‘Allure’ (Celebuzz)
20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)