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Back in 2015, future Black Panther director Ryan Coogler brought the Rocky franchise out of retirement for another fight in Creed. That film was a critical hit, and while honoring the past, it forged a path forward for the franchise. Later this year, Michael B. Jordan's Adonis will be returning to the ring in Creed 2. We've known for some time that this sequel film will see Adonis Creed facing off with the son of Rocky IV's Ivan Drago, but with production now officially underway, we have a much better idea of what Creed 2 will be about. The sequel film will find Adonis struggling to balance his personal and professional obligations as he and Rocky confront the past and evaluate what really matters.
The more personal nature of the battle in Creed 2 will make things interesting. Adonis will have to face the son of the man who killed his father in the ring. That has to stir up some complex emotions for the man who was the child of an affair. His stepmother and the woman who took him in is Apollo Creed's widow, so this fight will likely bring up a great deal of pain that puts strain on that relationship. And for Rocky, his victory over Ivan Drago may have ended the Cold War, but the fight against Viktor Drago may have Rocky fearful that he could lose Adonis the same way he lost Apollo. Apollo is like a son to Rocky now, and this film will continue to expound upon the importance of family; not just the one you're born with, but the one you choose and that chooses you.
The best thing about Creed, and really all the best sports films, is that they're not just about sports. Sports provide a lens through which we can come to learn about a character, not just through how they play the game or fight, but how victory sometimes has costs that must be paid off in the field and outside the ring. It sounds like Creed 2 will continue to explore these ideas. The first film excelled on the emotional front, especially with Sylvester Stallone's Oscar-nominated performance, so expectations are high that this sequel can tell an equally affecting story.
Creed director Ryan Coogler is not returning to direct the film, although he will stay on as an executive producer. In his stead is his USC classmate Steven Caple Jr., who directed 2016's The Land. Also new to this fresh chapter in the Rocky franchise is Ivan Drago himself, Dolph Lundgren, reprising his 1985 role. Professional Romanian boxer Florian Munteanu will play his son, Viktor Drago, in the film. In addition to Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan, reprising their roles from Creed are Tessa Thompson as Bianca, Phylicia Rashad as Adonis' stepmother Mary Anne, Wood Harris as Tony Burton and former real boxer Andre Ward as Danny Wheeler.