Last week came surprising news: Sylvester Stallone wouldn’t be returning for Creed III, the spin-off series sprung from Rocky, the franchise that first made his name. Why? No reason was given. But in a new interview with IGN, the threequel’s star — and also its director — Michael B. Jordan opened up about Sly’s exit. And one reason is that the series is going to be more specifically about his pugilistic hero, Adonis, not Rocky Balboa.
“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,” Jordan told the publication. “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. So, hopefully you guys will love what I’m thinking… what we’re cooking up. I think it’s going to be something special.”
Actually, Stallone’s move isn’t that surprising. Creed II, which the legendary actor also co-wrote, gave Rocky a nice ending — not a death, but a peace his character hasn’t felt in the over four decades he’s been a beloved part of cinema. Stallone even suggested he was retiring Rocky. But he’s said that kind of stuff before. Back in 1996 he swore Daylight would be his farewell to action movies, and that didn’t last long. So maybe we’ll hear from Rocky again one day, and we don’t mean a postcard.