The Lone Ranger 04
Credit: Peter Mountain

There has been a lot of talk about the grief-stricken set of The Lone Ranger, but soon we’ll begin judging the Johnny Depp/Armie Hammer western on its own terms as a movie.

The trailer is set to go online tomorrow morning, and in advance of that, Walt Disney Pictures has released the film’s teaser poster, along with a handful of new photos.

Unfortunately, The Lone Ranger has endured some hardships that can’t be overlooked.

Budget wrangling nearly derailed it, some Native Americans have criticized Depp’s portrayal of Tonto (while others have embraced his fictionalized representation), and most tragically, the crew suffered the recent death of a diver who was working on one of the film’s water tanks. The cause of that death, which may ultimately prove to be natural, remains under investigation.

The Lone Ranger certainly isn’t the first movie to have its share of production woes, but sometimes excellent films emerge from deeply troubled sets, and of course perfectly smooth shooting doesn’t always make for a perfect film.

Teaser posters are often a good indicator of the tone a film is trying to achieve, so in that regard we have this new one-sheet to consider:

It’s not entirely clear whose eyes we’re seeing, though that may be the point. Hammer is the title character, but Depp is undeniably the bigger star, although his face is hidden behind a crust of black and white make-up.

In that regard, the whole poster could be seen as a representation of Depp’s face with its seeping lines running down crumbling gray paint, beneath the gunshot blast of black in the shape of the crow from Tonto’s headdress.

As Depp has said over and over again, this version of the relationship will not be “Tonto as The Lone Ranger’s assistant,” but instead give the native warrior more of a mentor role over the young gunslinger. The poster fuses the two characters in one — Tonto’s tribal markings, and The Lone Ranger’s black mask. No matter whose eyes we’re actually seeing, this is Tonto’s point of view.

The movie, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, is set for release July 3, 2013 but the poster doesn’t get that specific, listing only the year at the bottom. Will we see its debut shift again?

Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

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The Lone Ranger
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  • 149 minutes