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Disney’s Big Day: <i>Cars 2, Pirates 4, Lone Ranger</i> and Plenty of Depp!

At Wednesday's Walt Disney Studios Showcase, the Mouse announced a ton of new projects, most of them starring Johnny Depp. Not only will the actor definitely be playing the Mad Hatter in director Tim Burton's motion-capture CGI Alice in Wonderland (as rumored back in July), he'll also be returning as Jack Sparrow for yet another Pirates of the Caribbean movie (that's four now, for those of you not counting at home). What are they going to call this one, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Successful and Still Mildly Enjoyable Franchise?

Rounding out Johnny Depp's triple threat, according to Variety is the news that he'll be playing Tonto, the Native American tracker, in Jerry Bruckheimer's new Lone Ranger movie. (Pirate, hatter and tracker? The boy's got range!) No word on who will play the Lone Ranger yet, but look for that movie (and Alice) to hit in 2010, and Pirates 4 to come out just as soon as they figure out in what state they left all of the franchise's complicated interpersonal relationships at the end of the last one, and whether any of it matters.

In non-Depp-related news, Disney also announced that they were moving Cars 2 up a year, form 2012 to 2011, to coincide with the opening of Cars Land, a 12-acre section of the Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim. Corporate synergy! Disney also announced a third National Treasure movie, to coincide with America ceasing to be in love with Nicolas Cage. ...Whoops, too late.

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