The House that Mickey built was so eager to get repeat their trip to Wonderland with Burton's particular brand of visual fetishism – and perhaps his standard leading man Johnny Depp – that they hired Alice in Wonderland screenwriter Linda Woolverton to write the screenplay. Putting Woolverton, who also co-wrote The Lion King, on writing duty was a solid move to get Burton on board, but alas, the Sleepy Hollow helmsman will not be directing Jolie on this one.
With the international star still committed and a proven screenwriter on the well-known fairy tale, Disney is not going to let Burton's absence derail the project. Other directorial candidates are being lined up at the moment, with Harry Potters 5-8 director David Yates mentioned as a possibility.
That does not, mean however, that Burton and Disney's relationship is in any danger. He's still directing the stop-motion feature Frankenweenie, which is adapted from his 1984 short film and written by John August, who also scripted Burton's take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That's due on October 5, 2012. Right now, Burton's in pre-production on Dark Shadows, his big screen update of the 1960's soap opera set to star Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Jackie Earle Haley. That one's set for May 11, 2012.
So no Maleficent, but there's plenty of Tim Burton to go around in 2012.