The Agony and Ecstasy of Directing Sequels
What happens when a new director takes over a franchise?
Imagine having to direct the sequel to a great film, or the next installment in a franchise. Maybe you’re taking over for Ridley Scott after Alien, or perhaps you’re tasked with making the next Star Wars movie. A great film is often the result of a director’s singular vision, and these days, if a film is a big commercial success, there’s a good chance there will be at least one follow-up, if not more. So, what happens to that singular vision when a new director takes on the next installment? How does one fill the shoes of the first filmmaker? Perhaps one can imitate the original style, but playing it safe runs the risk of appearing unimaginative. Maybe the new director can take the story in a totally novel and fresh direction, but that, too, can backfire (just ask Joel Schumacher how things went with his sequel to Batman Returns). Imitation has succeeded and failed, and new ideas are both applauded and booed. As a new director taking the reins, what can you possibly do? Well, filmmakers need not fret. From the work of Steven Spielberg and James Cameron, to the Iron Man movies and Ryan Coogler’s Creed, lessons in success and failure abound. The answer may be simpler than you think.WATCH NOW: For more on how the best make great films, watch Great Directors.