How Michael B. Jordan Feels About Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Not Being In Creed III

Rocky Balboa is undoubtedly one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. The Sylvester Stallone creation spawned six movies in its main franchise (and CinemaBlend ranked of all the Balboa movies) as well as three spinoffs in the Creed series. So it was a shock to longtime Sly fans when it was announced that the aging boxer and Adonis’ mentor would not appear in the upcoming Creed III. Well, now franchise star-turned-director Michael B. Jordan is sharing his thoughts regarding the decision not to bring Rocky back for his third outing in the beloved sports franchise.  

In an exclusive interview with our sister site, Total Film, the Creed III star talked about his directorial debut. He also discusses the thought process behind moving away from, while still respecting, the Rocky series -- which included the difficult decision not to bring back Sylvester Stallone. The filmmakers decided to do a time jump in the third movie (which Jordan has previously spoken about) and effectively placed the lead character in a pivotal time in his professional career. With that in mind, Jordan sees this as a new phase for his character. He explained:

We wouldn’t have Donnie without Rocky, and he will always be a pillar in Donnie’s life, but Creed III is really the dawn of a new era for the franchise and the character. It was really important from a storytelling perspective to get to a pivotal point in Donnie’s career a few years down the line where he has really established himself with his professional career and his family.

While Sylvester Stallone’s departure from the series might disappoint some fans (and the actor himself spoke about the “regretful” decision), it is a somewhat exciting turn for the series. The past two films, while Donnie’s stories, relied heavily on Rocky lore and established characters. The first film saw Michael B. Jordan’s character grappling with the legacy of his father, the former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed while being trained under the tutelage of Balboa. And the second movie saw him squaring off with the son of Rocky’s old opponent, Ivan Drago. It will be a thrilling change of pace for the series to see a story singularly focused on Adonis and setting the franchise up to stand on its own in the future. 

The action-packed Creed III trailer has me super excited. It gives us glimpses of the successful life Adonis is living, which pretty much establishes that he has a lot to lose at this point. We also got our first look at the totally jacked Jonathan Majors in the role of Damian Anderson, an old childhood friend (and newly minted foe) for Adonis. The tension between the two characters is palpable, and I cannot wait to witness all the potential drama in and out of the ring. 

While I’m sad that Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa won’t factor into the threequel, I understand Michael B. Jordan and his team’s decision to distance the series a bit from its predecessors. I’m also beyond excited to finally get a chance to see Creed III and Jordan’s first time in the director’s chair. There are still a few months before the highly-anticipated 2023 new movie release hits theaters, but there is still a few upcoming movies in 2022 to hold us over while we wait for Adonis to enter the ring once again. 

Ryan LaBee

Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing. An expert in all things horror, Ryan enjoys covering a wide variety of topics. He's also a lifelong comic book fan and an avid watcher of Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon.