After what seems an eternity of speculation and pre-production chit chat, Disney have finally announced a release date for it’s much vaunted re-boot of The Lone Ranger.

The avenging masked hero of the west rides again on 21st December 2012 (although this has not been confirmed as the actual UK date).

At the helm is Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and no doubt Disney will be pushing hard to repeat the financial success of that series.

Originally conceived as a radio serial, The Lone Ranger made his debut in 1933 with an eventual transition to television (1949 to 1957) that saw Clayton Moore portraying perhaps the best remembered incarnation of the hero. Subsequent decades have seem the character remain active via the medium of film, animation and comic book.

The narrative follows the exploits of an avenging US Marshall who is rescued from death by a Comanche named Tonto, and with the aid of his new found comrade sets about bringing the outlaws who ambushed him to justice whilst generally protecting the law abiding folk of the old west.

Hopefully Verbinski will manage to repeat the success that Martin Campbell achieved with The Mask of Zorro (1998) and if some feel that a western based comic book movie may sound quaint then remember that this year is already set to bring us Cowboys and Aliens.

The big draw will be the casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto, now firmly established as a character actor with an ability to sell any blockbuster, it will interesting to see his take on the honourable Tonto (Depp is himself part Native American).

And whilst many will be left disappointed that the rumours of George Clooney saddling up did not come true, we do have the very clean cut and square jawed Armie Hammer (The Social Network – 2010) donning the mask in the leading role.

The script is apparently written by Pirates’ scribes Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio along with Justin Haythe (best known for Revolutionary Road – 2008), and whilst the cameras are presumably set to role later this year, no further details are currently known as to the supporting cast.

But here’s hoping that Disney and Co will do the characters justice. Dare I say, Hi Ho Silver……

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