Just when fans of the boxing film franchise “Rocky” have accepted that the story of Sylvester Stallone’s iron-chinned underdog fighter ended in 2006’s “Rocky Balboa,” they were pleasantly surprised in 2015 by “Creed,” which featured the actor’s iconic character return as the aged mentor of a new boxer portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. “Creed II” followed in 2018, showing a new story narrative wherein Rocky and his champion Adonis Creed (Jordan) faced the former’s Russian rival who was coaching his son and successor. This sequel seemed to make a good pattern for further plots about Rocky, only for “Creed III” to reveal that the character and actor will not return.
Comic Book Resources has it that there is a good reason for Sylvester Stallone to bow out of the upcoming third installment of the “Creed” films. Last week the veteran actor surprised the public with the announcement that Rocky will not be around for “Creed III.” And six days later Adonis Creed, Michael B. Jordan himself, shed light on the decision for the film franchise to move forward without the wise coach and former hero. Stallone/Rocky being in the first two “Creed” films was just to set up that Adonis was ready to fly solo.
Jordan confirmed that he knew of Stallone’s decision to bow out of the role but explains, “I think, you know, his essence and his spirit… There’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis.” Now that the character of Adonis Creed is well established, it was time the franchise centered on him. While Jordan and the production love and respect Stallone for providing the foundation for the “Creed” universe in the first place, in the actor’s opinion “We really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created.”
That can be taken on the highest authority where “Creed III” is concerned, since Michael B. Jordan is also directing the movie, marking his debut on the big chair. At least the rest of principal cast are still there, with Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad as Adonis Creed’s wife and adoptive mother, respectively. There has been no word however on how the story will explain Rocky’s absence in the latest sequel, whether simply being way or passing on like his generation of characters before him.
As for Sylvester Stallone, his own latest project is with James Gunn’s DC Extended Universe movie “The Suicide Squad,” where he will provide the voice for King Shark, a fish-human super-villain who was incarcerated and drafted into the titular black-ops team of convicts on a new cinematic black-comedy action extravaganza. This will release August 6 while “Creed III” is shooting for a November 2022 premiere.
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