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Johnny Depp to star in more Disney projects, including "Pirates 4" LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Superstar actor Johnny Depp has signed on to three new Disney projects, including the fourth installment of the blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, the entertainment industry newspaper Variety confirmed Thursday.


Along with the reprisal of off-beat pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp will star as the long-suffering Native American sidekick Tonto in a new version of the iconic "Lone Ranger," produced by hit producer Jerry Bruckheimer.


If this wasn't enough for the 45-year-old actor, Depp will also play the Mad Hatter in director Tim Burton's adaptation of the classic "Alice in Wonderland," using a mix of 3D animation and performance capture technology similar to that used for 2007's "Beowulf."


The announcements for "Ranger," "Wonderland" and "an additional role" were made before a crowd of roaring fans in Hollywood Wednesday when Depp appeared at the Walt Disney Showcase, a preview of the studio's productions over the next few years.


The "Pirates 4" confirmation arrived early Thursday through the actor's representatives in Variety.


The franchise has been a worldwide phenomenon since the first installment in 2003, earning more than 2.6 billion dollars at the box office.


Fans are rejoicing the actor's reunion with director Burton, who has created the milestone projects of Depp's career, including his breakout role in the 1990 blockbuster "Edward Scissorhands," and 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."


Like many of Depp's roles, the new Disney projects seek to attract as many adult viewers as they do younger fans.


No premiere dates for any of the projects have been announced.

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