Sylvester Stallone recently confirmed for Rocky fans what he already mentioned at the end of production on Creed II: The journey of Rocky Balboa is over. Creed III will not bring back the iconic actor to reprise the role, and the franchise will continue without the champion boxer turned ringside mentor. Instead, Michael B. Jordan will now venture out on his own, not just as the star of the franchise, but as the sequel’s director, and he recently explained why now is the time for Rocky to disappear.
Speaking with IGN, Michael B. Jordan was asked why Sylvester Stallone wasn’t returning as Rocky for another round of the Creed franchise. It’s not because of those recent rumblings about Stallone becoming a member at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club (which the actor has completely denied). Instead, Jordan says it’s time for the franchise to hone in on the story of Adonis Johnson. The actor/director said:
“I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn’t coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit… there’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis. But this is a ‘Creed’ franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around him moving forward. So, it’s always respect and always a shit-ton of love for what he’s built, but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created.”
Creed II closed the book on Rocky Balboa in a meaningful way. He finally reconnected with his estranged son, played by Milo Ventimiglia, and it seemed like he was ready to finally live a life away from the ring with the only family he has left. Though Creed will likely remain an important part of Rocky’s life, it’s time for the young boxer to chart his own path.
Will audiences be as invested in Creed III without Rocky Balboa involved? That remains to be seen. But I think the idea of letting Adonis Johnson fly without the strength of Rocky Balboa by his side will be an important test for the character. However, the previous two Creed movies borrowed certain elements from the Rocky franchise, including the return of a certain villain in Creed II. So will there be another tie to the past in Creed III that young Adonis has to face without Rocky? Or will this purely be a story that belongs to Adonis? We’ll find out when Creed III arrives in theaters on November 23, 2022.
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