Making a sequel to a hit movie is damn hard at the best of times - you've got to justify its existence creatively while also trying to match or exceed the original's quality. No easy feat.
As such it's little surprise that so many hugely anticipated sequels get caught up in the weeds and deliver a sub-par, disappointing end result.
While many dud sequels ultimately just fail to recapture the original charm, often a film makes a mistake that's considerably more specific on a storytelling level.
And so, it's always a relief when a heavily hyped movie arrives with the clear potential to make a fatal, fandom-infuriating mistake, only to tap-dance past it instead.
These 10 sequels all had audiences bracing for a major creative gaffe, only for the filmmakers to shame your lack of faith by avoiding them entirely.
From eschewing the most obvious sequel tropes to ignoring the narrative path everyone expected the story to take, these movies all surpassed expectations by taking the bolder, braver road that didn't feel like a studio mandated it.
The lesson here? It often pays to trust skilled filmmakers...
10. CGI Paul Walker - Every Fast Film After Furious 7
The fact that Furious 7 turned out as well as it did is nothing short of a miracle, considering the unfortunate passing of Paul Walker mid-production, forcing his role in the film to be completed with digital doubles and his brothers, Cody and Caleb, acting as stand-ins.
The end result is impressively seamless for the most part, and more importantly gave Walker's character, Brian O'Conner, a fitting and affecting retirement.
Ever since Furious 7 did such an outstanding job keeping Brian in the movie, though, fans have suggested it's just a matter of time before CGI Brian reappears in a future film.
Yet the three mainline Fast movies since, for all of their faults, have shown surprising restraint in keeping Brian completely off-screen.
There are some undeniably awkward moments where the films have had to clunkily write around Brian's absence - especially with his partner Mia (Jordana Brewster) still being in the mix - but it's certainly preferable to ghoulishly inserting Brian into the films.
While it's certainly possible, even likely, that Vin Diesel and co. won't be able to resist bringing CGI Brian back for the series' final dinner scene, it's at least a relief that the last three movies have respectfully avoided exploiting Walker's image in a way which many fans would surely find tacky.