A couple months back, it looked like Creed 2 had locked in its director. Sylvester Stallone took to social media personally to announce that he would be taking the helm of the feature, making it the fifth title in the franchise that he would direct. Since then it seems that Stallone has had a change of heart, however, and now it's been revealed that the reins of the growing series will be handed to Steven Caple Jr.
This news comes to us from a Variety report, which also cites why the change was made. According to the trade, Sylvester Stallone backed away from the director's chair following a conversation with star Michael B. Jordan and the executives on the project, leaving the door open for an extensive search for the right filmmaker. Stallone and Jordan reportedly picked Steven Caple Jr. together after considering many different candidates. Ryan Coogler, who directed the first Creed, is expected to stay involved with the movie as an Executive Producer, though he has not yet signed a deal (he is a tad busy right now finishing up work on Marvel Studios' Black Panther, which will be out in about two months).
Much like Ryan Coogler, who also only had one feature under his belt before making Creed, Steven Caple Jr. doesn't have an extensive resume just yet in Hollywood. Most of his work has been on shorts and an internet TV series called Class, but in 2016 he directed his first movie, The Land. The indie film, which Caple wrote himself, never found its way into more than 13 theaters at a time, but it got a healthy response following a world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and apparently caught the attention of Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.
Creed 2 is currently scheduled to go into production in just a few months and Steven Caple Jr. will be directing from a screenplay written by Sylvester Stallone and Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker. In addition to Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, who will be reprising their roles as Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed, respectively, the film is expected to also feature the return of Tessa Thompson as Bianca and Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago - the Russian boxer who killed Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. There aren't a ton of concrete details about the plot currently available, but we expect more to emerge in the coming months.
The folks at MGM and Warner Bros. seem to be very confident about the project, and apparently aren't giving it a great deal of time to move through both production and post (though its not exactly a visual effects-filled blockbuster). After starting the shoot in the spring, the movie is planning to be cut and finished by the fall, set for release on November 21, 2018 - almost exactly three years after the release of Creed. We will surely be hearing a lot more about the film in the coming weeks and months, particularly as more casting announcements are made, so be sure to stay tuned for more updates.