In 2015, Ryan Coogler breathed new life into the Rocky franchise with Creed. With this only being his second film, Ryan Coogler resurrected a beloved series and forged a new path for it to continue on into the future. So naturally, many wanted Ryan Coogler to return to the director's chair for Creed 2. Instead, the directing reins initally went to Sylvester Stallone before ultimately being passed to Steven Caple Jr. However, even if it wasn't meant to be, Ryan Coogler was actually open to returning for Creed 2 as he explained:
I mean, of course it was possible. Creed was about me and my dad, so it's a movie that I find difficult to watch. It's difficult for me to even think about it, I've got so many emotional ties to it, not to mention you know how much I care about the people involved. I care deeply for Mike, obviously, deeply for Tessa, and I grew incredibly close with Sly in making that. These are people that I wanna see do well and win at all costs. There's timing, and that film for whatever reason it had to go when it's going. I think it's a blessing that it's going, man. I think it's amazing that they found an incredible filmmaker in Steven Caple Jr., who's a guy I actually went to film school with, who I have a lot of love and respect for. I can't wait to see what he does with it.
It sounds like Creed was a hugely emotional film for the young director, so it's understandable that he may have been hesitant to return or feels that he said all he has to say with the first film. If he finds it difficult to even think about Creed, then perhaps it is better for him to have put all that emotion into the film once and not have to go through that experience again. But Ryan Coogler's comments to Variety's Playback Podcast seem to indicate that scheduling was the determining factor in him not returning. If the studio decided that Creed 2 needed to hit a certain release date for financial reasons, and Ryan Coogler was still tied up with other things, there is not much he could have done to remain director. This is hardly a bad thing or cause for consternation, though. While no one would have objected to Ryan Coogler returning for Creed 2, he has already done his part in re-launching the franchise, and now he gets to turn it over to another new voice who just happens to be a friend of his.
Ryan Coogler is batting a thousand at the moment and is undoubtedly the hottest name in Hollywood at the moment thanks to his first blockbuster, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Black Panther. In the wake of that film's incredible box office performance, Ryan Coogler can pretty much write his own ticket, and all of Hollywood will be watching his future with great interest. And just because the director isn't returning for Creed 2 doesn't mean his days of working with Michael B. Jordan are over. The director and actor duo are expected to reunite for Wrong Answer, a film based on the true story of an Atlanta teacher who changed the answers on his student's standardized tests in order to secure funding for the school.
With any luck, Creed 2 will announce another exciting new storyteller to watch in Steven Caple Jr. when it hits theaters on November 21. Creed 2 will follow Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Johnson as he faces off with the son of Rocky IV's Ivan Drago, Viktor. For all of this years biggest films, check out our release guide.