Four years after the $245.7M hit Rango, Johnny Depp is heading back to Paramount Animation for Sherlock Gnomesa sequel to the Elton John-run Rocket Pictures feature toon hit Gnomeo And Juliet ($194M global B.O.). MGM is co-producing and Depp will star as the title character.

Returning stars James McAvoy as Gnomeo and Emily Blunt as Juliet are joining Depp in a script penned by Ben Zazove (Rex Libris, Captain Planet). In Sherlock Gnomes, a string of garden gnome disappearances occur in London, when Gnomeo and Juliet look to legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve the case. Feature toon is directed by Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson and the pic will be released on January 12, 2018, which is the MLK holiday weekend.

The producing team behind Sherock Gnomes includes Elton John, David Furnish (Gnomeo & Juliet), Steve Hamilton-Shaw (Gnomeo & Juliet), and Carolyn Soper, who was the Disney production executive on such titles as Tangled and Princess And The Frog.

Depp, receiving rave reviews as Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Warner Bros.’ Black Mass, is repped by UTA.

Gnomeo And Juliet is an example of one of those animated films that was a little engine that could. The film was a passion project of John’s for 11 years and was greenlit by former studio chief Dick Cook under the Disney-owned Miramax. The film wasn’t included in the Miramax sale to Filmyard Holdings, and Disney sat on it but wouldn’t release it under its animation banner since the film was made by Toronto-based Starz Animation.

They finally released the film under their Touchstone label to solid B.O. results.