In an era where any film even remotely resembling a “franchise” is remade, redone or just completely rebooted, it’s not surprising that Hollywood has decided that it’s time for Rocky to get another bite at the apple. What is surprising, however, is just how bizarre and not soul-wrenchingly awful it sounds.
According to Deadline, Ryan Coogler, the wunderkind behind Fruitvale Station, this year’s little indie movie that could, is in talks with MGM to relaunch the Rocky franchise with a film called Creed. Creed would follow Station star Michael B. Jordan as the grandson of Apollo Creed. Sylvester Stallone would naturally return as Rocky Balboa to train his rival-turned-beach-running-montage-partner’s grandson in the ways of boxing.
If we accept the increasingly likely reality that it’s just impossible to get an original idea filmed in the movie industry, concepts like Creed may offer an interesting compromise. It’s not necessarily a straight sequel or a complete reboot but to the studio it makes little difference because Rocky Balboa will at some point be onscreen and mumbling incoherently. And as evidenced by Coogler’s vision for the plot, there may be a fresh angle to this franchise yet:
Raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather, [Creed's grandson] doesn’t have to box and his family doesn’t want him to. Yet, he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979’s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return.
Coogler basically has his pick of the litter, project-wise and if this is what he’s decided to go all in on, then he must be confident he can pull something interesting off. Plus if appearing in The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Chronicle and now Fruitvale Station hasn’t earned Michael B. Jordan a blank check to do whatever he wants then I don’t know what does.
Still, someone is going to have to gently break the news to Scott Stapp that a movie called Creed isn’t about what he thinks it is.