After 'The Lone Ranger' opened to poor reviews and disappointing box office, Johnny Depp was criticized for his recent acting choices. From 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' to 'Dark Shadows,' many accused Depp of going through the motions, all-too-happy to cash his paycheck to star in whatever Disney or Tim Burton was asking him to star in, regardless of the quality.

In a related story, Johnny Depp is in final negotiations to return as The Mad Hatter in Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland 2.'

Though it was not a film many remember as being, well, good, Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland' was a huge success for the studio, bringing in over $1 billion. With those kinds of numbers, a sequel is almost a guarantee and Disney quickly mobilized plans for an 'Alice in Wonderland 2,' despite the fact that Tim Burton had no interest in returning ('The Muppets' director, James Bobin, was brought in as a replacement).

But Deadline is reporting that Depp does have an interest in returning and is close to sealing a deal to come back for the sequel. This would come after Depp stars in 'Pirates of the Caribbean 5' for Disney.

Depp's return for 'Alice in Wonderland 2' is a surprising one, mostly because many assumed that Depp wouldn't return without Burton. But, possibly looking to get back into franchise mode after the failure of 'The Lone Ranger,' Depp will indeed return to anchor yet another 'Alice' film. It's unclear how much Depp will be paid for the film but considering he was paid north of $20 million for 'Lone Ranger,' we'll assume he's getting a pretty penny for 'Alice in Wonderland 2.'

We certainly don't begrudge Depp the opportunity to make a few bucks and star in the occasionally crappy movie but most actors have a "one for them and one for me" mentality that will bring them back to an intimate, prestige-y type project after their big blockbuster. The problem is, Depp hasn't had one of those films in quite a while. The closest he's come lately was 2011's 'The Rum Diary' (the only problem there was that, too, wasn't a very good movie).

Our next hope is 'Transcendence,' the Christopher Nolan-produced sci-fi action film set for theaters next spring. It's not exactly an indie movie but hey, at least it's not sequel or a remake.

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