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Sylvester Stallone Calls ‘Creed III’ a ‘Regretful Situation’ for ‘Rocky’ Franchise

"I know what it could have been. It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it," the "Rocky" Oscar winner said.

"Creed"

“Creed” (2015)

Barry Wetcher/©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

Sylvester Stallone is throwing a punch toward the plot of “Creed III.”

The “Rocky” icon revealed in a Hollywood Reporter cover story that he views Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut as taking the franchise into a “dark space” due to a “different philosophy” on the characters. “Creed III,” which will arrive in theaters in March 2023, is the first “Rocky”-related film not to include Stallone onscreen or as a producer.

“This is a classic case of them going around and trying to continually cherry-pick aspects of ‘Rocky’ without even asking me if I want to join in,” Stallone said, citing the other “Drago” spinoff rumored to be in the works. “I’m not an executive producer on the ‘Creed’ movies. Ryan Coogler is. Michael B. Jordan is. [Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff’s] children are. Not mine. I’m the only one left out.”

“Creed III” centers on Adonis Creed (Jordan) going head-to-head with boxing newcomer Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors).

“That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been,” Stallone said of the upcoming franchise installment. “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.”

Michael B. Jordan previously said in April 2021 that, even without Stallone on the production, “Creed III” was an homage to the “Rocky” films before it. Stallone also co-wrote “Creed II.”

“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 said. “But this is a ‘Creed’ franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around [Adonis Creed] moving forward.”

Jordan continued, “So, it’s always respect and always a shit-ton of love for what [Sylvester Stallone has] 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.”

Stallone told Metro UK in June 2022 that he “bowed out” of the third film, saying, “I just didn’t know if there was any part for me.”

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