I’ve suspected it for a while, but Terry Gilliam has now officially confirmed that Johnny Depp won’t be returning for a second go at The Man Who Killed Don Quixote when the long-gestating production finally begins filming again next year.

“I can now honestly say that I’m not working with Johnny on Don Quixote,” Gilliam told The Independent.¬† “He’s booked himself up on a lot of other films.”

Depp’s slate does have a roadblocked look to it, with Pirates Of The Caribbean 4, The Lone Rangerand Dark Shadows all scheduled to begin filming in 2010, or soon after, although Gilliam had hoped he’d find a way to reprise his role as a marketing executive transported back to the 17th century. Sadly that hasn’t proved possible.

“I want to shoot Don Quixote next year,” said GIlliam. “He [Depp] said he’s not available and we have both agreed that I’m going to die soon, so it would be nice to get this film under my belt.”

As the director told us at Comic-Con, he’s full steam ahead with his second attempt to film Cervantes’ classic tale: “We’ve written it and we’re out there hunting actors and money as we speak.”