As much as Warner Bros. would love for Christopher Nolan to begin working on a follow-up to The Dark Knight, like, yesterday, new reports reveal that his plans for a Bat-sequel are being put off.

According to Variety, Nolan is determined to make a non-Bat film his next project, though at least WB has kept him in the family:

Warner Bros. is tying up a big deal with its "Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan for a big-scale spec script titled "Inception" that Nolan wrote and will direct as his likely next film.

WB is aiming for a summer 2010 release; production begins this summer.

Given the reported size of Inception, it's likely that post-production and a worldwide press tour could tie Nolan up until the fall of 2010; even if his brother Jonathan has a script for the Dark Knight sequel ready to go at that point, a winter 2011 feels like the earliest release possible (though summer 2012 seems like a far better bet). It's possible that WB could move ahead quickly with a different helmer, but Nolan would have to sign off on the decision since WB seems intent on retaining its cozy relationship with him. Will Batmania ebb over the next several years? Perhaps, but at least it'll give Christian Bale time to work out his lifetime supply of expletives on someone else's set.