Instead of recording voice-overs in booths, with every actor isolated from everyone else, most of the voice-over work was recorded on a set, with the actors voicing their characters while performing with their fellow cast members. This enabled the performers to follow the rhythms of their co-stars while also giving them room for improvisation.
At the poker table in the saloon when Rango first enters, there is an owl in a top hat holding a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights. These were the cards held by notorious Wild West gunman "Wild" Bill Hickok, the moment he was shot dead in a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. Bill's hand is since known as "The Dead Man's Hand".
In the beginning of the film when Rango is dodging another car, he lands on the windshield of another car. The driver looks like Hunter S. Thompson who Jonny Depp played in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Clint Eastwood is the visual inspiration for Spirit of the West. In the back of his golf cart, the "Spirit" has five Oscar-like film awards (which Rango calls "golden guardians"). Eastwood has received exactly five Oscars, including his Irving J. Thalberg Award. The voice of the "Spirit," Timothy Olyphant, starred in the Western TV series, Deadwood (2004).
During the scene in which Rango describes the Spirit of the West to the townspeople by drawing images in the sky with a smoldering stick, it is possible to spot the logo of American rock band KISS, Imperial Tie Starfighters from Star Wars IV, a shark fin, a dinosaur and a "Kilroy was here" drawing for a brief moment.
The bottle in which Rango goes into to escape the bird in the desert is called "Jarrito", spanish for a small jar or container, pronounced "har EE toe". When he escapes the bird again in the town, Rango ducks into a latrine made from an empty Pepto-Bismol bottle (an anti-diarrhea medicine).
Among the movies/TV shows parodied are: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Early in the movie when Rango is flying from windshield to windshield. The Time Machine:When the townsfolk, who seem hypnotized, move in unison toward the water. Deadwood: A quick shot from the balcony overlooking the town of Dirt, exactly resembling Al Swearengen's in the town of Deadwood. The Good the Bad and the Ugly: The gunfight scene between Rango and Bad Bill. The Andy Griffith Show: Rango is modeled after actor Don Knotts' characterization of Deputy Barney Fife. Chinatown: The Mayor who is patterned after actor John Huston's performance. And as in Chinatown, he is stealing the water to get rich.
Words of Wisdom from the Spirit of the West: 1. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find what you're looking for. 2. Doesn't matter what they call you, it's the deeds that make the man. 3. Then be a hero! 4. It's not about you, it's about them. 5. No man can walk out of his own story.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The Mayor (voiced by Ned Beatty) is reminiscent of the character Noah Cross played by John Huston in Roman Polanski's 'Chinatown' (1974). He even wears suspenders (braces) like Huston's character. Also, lthe plot in 'Chinatown' also involves water and a shady scheme involving Cross as it does the Mayor in Rango