I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but I know I’ve thought about it a lot, and the phrase itself bothers me for a few reasons, one of which is personal.
When people say that the sequel sucks, often times they mean movies. At least, that’s been the most I’ve heard it with. The reason that is, I think, is because those movies are driven more by a need for money, ratings, profit, than a desire to be a storyteller in their own way, to create. It’s especially seen in situations where the sequel had never been pre-determined when creating the first; they just saw the ratings go through the roof and went, “ooh! We should try that again.”
When it’s a cohesive story, say, Hunger Games or Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, to name a few favorites, it’s a different situation. It’s about telling a story, then, to the best of their ability, and if the sequel sucks in that series/trilogy, it’s blamed more on the story not being as great or capturing as the first movie/book.
The personal side comes from writing a trilogy on my own and thinking, “Oh crap. I really hope I don’t screw this up.” Then again, movie making and writing are two very different avenues, with many different audiences. Though, the phrase about sequels doesn’t come between books and movies, it comes more between whether it’s an extension to the story, or if it was already part of the story from the beginning. So maybe I’m safe after all.