As we edge closer to the release of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky IV Director’s Cut on November 11, the actor and filmmaker has found himself in a reflective mood as he examines the legacy of the Italian Stallion.
The first installment was released 45 years ago, and yet the franchise is still going strong, with Michael B. Jordan set to call action on his directorial debut Creed III next month. That being said, Rocky Balboa won’t be involved for the first time ever, so it’s got to be bittersweet for Stallone.
Looking at the trajectory of the franchise, the Creed spinoffs would never have existed had Rocky IV not seen Carl Weather’s Apollo killed during his exhibition bout with Ivan Drago, which also drove the entire conflict at the heart of the fourth installment’s narrative.
Despite this, Stallone admitted in a recently-shared behind the scenes video that he often regrets his decision to write Apollo out of the story.
“It was foolish. Rocky V would’ve never happened and Rocky VI maybe never would’ve happened that way.”
A lot of fans would be much happier had Rocky V turned out much different than it did, but Rocky Balboa was a solid return to form before Creed rocketed the property back into the limelight. Stallone even gained an Academy Award nomination for his performance, so Apollo’s death didn’t end up setting the franchise back at all in the grand scheme of things.