Sylvester Stallone Talks The 'Regretful Situation' Of Not Re-Teaming With Michael B. Jordan On Creed III

When Sylvester Stallone first announced, following Creed II that after eight films, he was officially done playing Rocky Balboa, it sounded like he had simply made the decision that it was time to hang up the gloves and move on to other things. However, what’s come out since then is that Stallone’s decision had a lot more to do with behind-the-scenes battles over the rights to the Rocky franchise. In fact, Stallone calls not being in Creed III a “regretful situation.”

Over the last few years Stallone has spoken fairly publicly about his frustration with the fact that, after 45 years with the franchise, and despite writing and directing the original Rocky, he doesn’t own any of the rights to the character. Speaking with THR, it sounds like Stallone would have been willing to return in next year’s Creed III if things had gone differently, though it also sounds like a Creed III with Rocky in it would be a different film. Stallone says… 

That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been. 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.

Stallone says that his decision to leave came because he was asked to make another movie in the franchise. Stallone calls it another Rocky movie. It’s possible he’s talking about Creed III, although there was talk a few years back about another actual Rocky film that would have seen Stallone's character in the lead. Stallone asked to get back some of the rights to the character as part of the deal to reprise the role. This was apparently a non-starter, and so Stallone chose instead to simply walk away. 

On the one hand, it’s nice that the Creed franchise now has the ability to step out on its own and has an opportunity to be its own thing. At the same time, if Sylvester Stallone wasn’t able to walk away on his own terms, it's a frustrating way to say goodbye to the franchise that he helped start. 

Michael B. Jordan, who, like Stallone once upon a time, will be directing as well as starring in Creed III, has said that while Rocky Balboa won’t be in the new Creed movie, the spirit of Rocky won’t be entirely gone. It will certainly mark a new era in the boxing movie series. Creed III is set for release in March 2023.  

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.