|“||Water, Mr. Rango, water. Without it, there's nothing but dust and decay. But with water, there's life...That's the immutable law of the desert. You control the water, and you control everything. But I don't have to tell you that, being a true man of the West as you are.||„|
|~ Tortoise John to Rango|
|“||That's what the future holds. You can either be part of it or you can be left behind.||„|
|~ Tortoise John|
Tortoise John (real name: Marlon Carlton Lynch) is the hidden main antagonist of Rango. He was the wheelchair-bound tortoise mayor of Dirt, where there was a major water shortage. He has Rattlesnake Jake as his enforcer, and Bad Bill as his servant.
From the very start, Tortoise John is made out to be very untrustworthy, greedy, and corrupt (such as keeping a large personal supply of water for himself), although he appeared to be like a grandfatherly figure towards Rango.
When he first appears after Rango kills a hawk and defeats Bad Bill, he appoints Rango as the new sheriff and mentions that "whoever controls the water controls everything". He believes that Rango is not a problem, but a solution.
Later in the movie, it is shown that Tortoise John is building a modern city over the desert surrounding Dirt, and that he's been intentionally cutting off the town's water supply by using an emergency valve, which is actually connected to Las Vegas, and making citizens believe that there's actually a drought, intending to let the town die out to make way for his new plans.
Tortoise John murdered the town bank-keeper, Johannes Merrimack III, by drowning him and when Rango starts to deduce his schemes, he hires the bounty hunter, Rattlesnake Jake, to drive Rango out of town, but he comes back to stop them after fully discovering the mayor's plan. He captures Rango and Beans and starts to drown them in the town's water supply bottle. He then later betrays Rattlesnake Jake by pointing Rango's gun at him, telling him that he's also part of the obsolete Western era that he intends to destroy; but when he pulls the trigger, he finds that the last bullet was taken by Rango, who uses it to break open the water bottle, flooding the town hall and sending them all outside. There, Rango finally manages to subdue Tortoise John and he turns him over to Rattlesnake Jake, who then acknowledges Rango as another great desert legend worthy to save his life.
With Tortoise John at his mercy, the infuriated Rattlesnake Jake paraphrases the mayor's previous words to him that "No one will believe you even existed", and he takes Tortoise John away into the desert to severely punish him for his treachery, possibly killing him.
At first, it was thought that Tortoise John was a nice mayor when he gave Rango his sheriff badge as a reward for killing the hawk. But later on, it turned out that he was actually to be a corrupt, greedy, and ruthless mayor.
- "People have to believe in something, and now, they believe in you. Pick it up, Mr. Rango. Your destiny awaits."
- "He's not a problem, William. He's a solution."
- "The future, Mr. Rango. The future. One day soon all of this is going to fade into myth. The frontier town, the lawman, the gunslinger. There's just no place for them anymore. We're civilized now."
- "You and the sheriff are more alike than you think. Ain't nothing but legends. Pretty soon, no one will believe you even existed. One last bullet to kill one last outlaw. (chuckling evilly) How fitting."
- "Now sheriff, I'm sure if we work together, we can reach a mutually beneficial solution to our current situation."
- "No, Jake! NO, NOOO!!!!" (last words)
- Tortoise John's voice actor Ned Beatty also voiced Lotso in Toy Story 3 released a year before Rango. The two characters are actually very similar: They are both liars who rule their territory with an iron fist, only care about themselves and use faux kindness to blind others to their horrible ways. Both are crippled and they are both betrayed by their top henchmen moments after demonstrating treachery themselves. But the fact that they're both voiced by the very same person makes this truly noteworthy.
- He is inspired by Noah Cross, the villain from Chinatown.