When the Creed III trailer hit, sending social media into a frenzy over the bombastic showdown between Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors, there was one notable absence that stuck out like a sore thumb: Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky Balboa. Despite the Creed films being a direct spinoff from Stallone’s iconic boxing franchise, Stallone passed on appearing in the third movie despite having a prominent role in Creed and Creed II.
At the center of Stallone’s absence is his heightened and now public battle with Rocky producer Irwin Winkler. In a fiery Instagram post over the summer, Stallone took Winkler to task for not giving him an equity stake in the Rocky franchise. Instead, Winkler’s children own a piece of the growing film universe, and that no longer sits well with Stallone. Especially when there’s been talk of bringing him back for anther solo Rocky film.
However, the ownership battle is not the only reason that Stallone bowed out of Creed III. In a sprawling new interview, he candidly reveals that he wasn’t a fan of where the story was heading. Via The Hollywood Reporter:
That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been. It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it. It’s a different philosophy — Irwin Winkler’s and Michael B. Jordan’s. I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.
Stallone also admitted that he’s still miffed about Rocky producers trying to launch a Drago spinoff without telling him, so don’t expect to see The Champ promoting Creed III or putting on his old boxing shorts unless there’s movement on his ownership rights. Sly wants his cut.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)