The Hollywood image of Tonto once had the Lone Ranger’s sidekick wearing a thin headband and lots of dangling fringes. The latest Disney version has a shirtless Johnny Depp adorned with feathers, a painted face and a stuffed crow on his head.
The character still speaks broken English and chants prayers. But Depp has said he’s less subservient and honors the proud American Indian warrior.
The production even had a Comanche adviser and the blessing of other tribes.
Yet Disney has caught flak for what some say is the perpetuation of stereotypes through a character that lacks any real cultural traits. Moviegoers will find out Wednesday if all this plays out. For now, they’re getting a glimpse through movie trailers that have left some wondering if the new Tonto is any better.