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.
Need more inspiration from some of the greatest directors of all time? Peruse our spotlight on fearless directors. And get the straight dope on what it means to be a director in our interview with Susanna White of Woman Walks Ahead. Then learn from Taika Waititi in our video, Taika Waititi's Blueprints for Success, and look back with us on one of the greatest directors of the modern era, gone too soon, in our article, Remembering Abbas Kiarsotami