The ninth installment in the Rocky franchise is arriving in November of next year when Creed III hits theaters, with star Michael B. Jordan following in the footsteps of his onscreen mentor by stepping behind the camera to direct the third entry in the spinoff series. However, the project has one very notable absentee, after Sylvester Stallone recently confirmed he wouldn’t be part of the movie.
The thought of a story set in the Rocky universe without the Italian Stallion himself is going to take a bit of getting used to, especially when Stallone scored an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Creed, and he played a major part in both films without ever overshadowing the leading man despite being the creator of the property.
Creed and Creed II combined to earn almost $400 million at the box office, and they’re the first and third highest-rated movies in the franchise on Rotten Tomatoes, with the classic 1976 original sandwiched in between. The threequel doesn’t necessarily need Stallone to succeed, but it’s still going to be strange watching something that’s technically a Rocky sequel without him.
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In a new interview, Jordan addressed Sly’s lack of involvement, with the actor and impending first-time director confident that Creed III will be able to deliver the goods, even without its main legacy player.
“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. 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 sh*t-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.”
The boxing drama has always been a subgenre known for wringing out the maximum amount of dramatic tension as we’ve seen countless times in the likes of The Fighter, The Hurricane, Ali, Southpaw, Million Dollar Baby and many more, so Creed III is certainly capable of delivering another knockout movie, even without Stallone’s Rocky Balboa making an appearance.