It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an episode of The Lone Ranger – my childhood, I believe – and I can scarcely even remember if I enjoyed it. There have been several iterations of the character, first in radio, then as film serials, then in television, and even as a two-hour TV movie on the CW – starring Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill).

For months, there have been rumors about Jerry Bruckheimer producing and Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3) directing a Lone Ranger film starring (or co-starring?) Johnny Depp as the Ranger’s “sidekick,” Tonto. Now, those rumors may have been confirmed.

Deadline is reporting that Disney and Bruckheimer have officially signed Verbinski on as director.

It’s unclear as to whether or not Johnny Depp is officially locked to play Tonto, but he did just finish voice-work for Verbinski’s first animated film, Rango, about a “goggle-eyed lizard.” Clearly, he enjoys working with Verbinski, so it’s not too much of a stretch to expect him to work with the director again on The Lone Ranger.

Will Depp join Verbinski for The Lone Ranger?

Additionally, there’s still no word on when production for the film will begin or who will play the titular masked character – names like Nicholas Cage and George Clooney have been tossed around at one point or another – though you can expect such news to come sooner rather than later. Obviously, Clooney would be a fantastic choice, but frankly, I’d say that about almost every character in every movie (with the exception of his portrayal of Batman). Then again, maybe the guy just needs a second chance? (The Dark Knight Returns, anyone?)

Previously, we reported that Justin Haythe (Revolutionary Road) was attached to write The Lone Ranger screenplay. One wonders what sort of Ranger screenplay was penned by the author of the most depressing, dramatic screenplay of 2009 – so depressing and dramatic that it killed at least one marriage, and possibly millions of unreported marriages, too.

For those unaware, The Green Hornet is actually a Lone Ranger spin-off, hence the reason both properties have the same basic premise: Masked good guy fighting bad guys with the assistance of a minority sidekick. In fact, in the original continuity, the Green Hornet is the great-nephew of the Lone Ranger. The NOW Comics Green Hornet series even referenced this relationship with a portrait of the Lone Ranger in the Green Hornet’s home. Knowledge is power!

The Lone Ranger spin-off The Green Hornet, directed by Michel Gondry and starring Seth Rogen and Jay Chou, hits theaters January 14th.

Stay tuned for more Lone Ranger news as it develops. When we know something, rest assured, so will you.

Source: Deadline

Image Source: John Cassaday