Adonis Creed hasn’t even healed from his epic championship boxing match with Viktor Drago, but he and coach Rocky Balboa are getting ready for their next title bout as both Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone will be reprising their roles in Creed III. This will mark what will be the ninth chapter in the Rocky saga that began in 1976 with the original, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year.
A large part of the power of Creed II comes from the fact that it is a sequel to both Rocky IV and the first Creed, as Adonis steps into the ring with the son of the Russian boxer Ivan Drago, who killed his father during what was supposed to be an exhibition bout. As such, it has a built-in appeal for fans of Stallone, Jordan, and, of course, both of them as a team.
In an interview with Deadline, MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman discussed the success of the film, commenting, “Sly is brilliant and he wrote this film and produced it and had a lot to say about making sure there were two generations of heroes here. Not just Michael, but also Viktor Drago’s character. Ultimately you wanted to make sure there was something new and younger, so it didn’t exclusively feel like a legacy franchise. We don’t have the ability unlike other franchises to have a helicopter falling over Paris, some stunt that you haven’t seen before. But what we do have is undoubtedly the No. 1 rising actor in Hollywood in Michael B. Jordan, in a vehicle that culturally matters to the youth of America, and next the world.
“The greatest thing was its two strongest audience groups,” he adds, referring to exit polls of the people who went to see Creed II. “Those were under 25 year olds, and over 40 year olds. You had the generation that grew up with the Rocky films and saw them in theaters when they were growing up, but there is an entire generation that did not grow up with the films, and this is a totally unique franchise for them. They grew up with Creed I. It’s an incredible thing to see we were able to take this 40-year-old franchise and turn it into this forward-thinking enterprise, and shift the balance. The quality of the movie is critical as was Ryan Coogler’s first film. This franchise has showed that it has incredible playability to all the audience’s demographic groups, crossing age and gender. There were Sly-intensive TV spots that played to the audience that was very familiar with the franchise, but with others, we wanted the youth of America to feel like, ‘this isn’t your parents’ franchise.’… We want to continue making Creed films with Michael and Sly.”
And they will be. Stallone is wrapping up production on Rambo V: Last Blood, and has a few other projects in the pipeline, while Jordan is expected to star in what will be the third version of The Thomas Crown Affair. In it, he will play the title character, a millionaire businessman-sportsman who, out of sheer boredom, decides to commit a major heist. The first version was released in 1968 and starred Steve McQueen, while the second was produced in 1999 with Pierce Brosnan in the lead role.
“We’d like to get that done before the next Creed movie, and Michael does too,” Glickman says. “It shows a different side than Michael has been able to so far. He’s a spectacular actor, but he’s got that sexy matinee idol thing, he’s a one of the very few movie stars in his age range. The audience is dying to see him in that role.”