Love it or loathe it, Sylvester Stallone birthed an enduring legacy with the Rocky franchise, moulding an underdog story like no other that quickly became part and parcel of its generation. And though a couple of middling sequels threatened to undermine that legendary status – Rocky Balboa, we’re looking at you – there’s no doubting that the boxing sub-genre in cinema will always be cognisant of the Itallion Stallion.
Case in point? Creed director Ryan Coogler. Growing up in the shadow of Stallone’s beloved series, the filmmaker was pining to pen his own chapter in the longstanding franchise, and as today’s featurette attests, the former Itallion Stallion was sold on his pitch alone, and it wasn’t long before the torch was passed.
That’s right, Creed will be the second entry into the Rocky universe where Stallone isn’t behind the camera. He will executive produce, though, for a story that largely centers on Michael B. Jordan’s volatile up-and-comer, Adonis Johnson. As the son to the former heavyweight champ Apollo Creed, the dynamic between the pair really underpin Coogler’s drama, with Stallone’s Rocky setting out to coach his newfound ally in the tricks of the trade.
Phylicia Rashad, Graham McTavish, and Tessa Thompson round out the cast, and Coogler’s Creed will float like a butterfly all the way into theaters on November 25. UK audiences, meanwhile, will have to hold out until early 2016.
Adonis Johnson (Jordan) never knew his famous father, world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, who died before he was born. Still, there’s no denying that boxing is in his blood, so Adonis heads to Philadelphia, the site of Apollo Creed’s legendary match with a tough upstart named Rocky Balboa. Once in the City of Brotherly Love, Adonis tracks Rocky (Stallone) down and asks him to be his trainer.
Despite his insistence that he is out of the fight game for good, Rocky sees in Adonis the strength and determination he had known in Apollo—the fierce rival who became his closest friend. Agreeing to take him on, Rocky trains the young fighter, even as the former champ is battling an opponent more deadly than any he faced in the ring.