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Creed II will follow Adonis Creed's quest for closure following the events of Rocky IV, but he's not the only one dealing with the repercussions of that movie. Dolph Lundgren reveals that the events of the 1985 film had a pretty devastating impact on Ivan Drago, as the new movie will see him as a man who has never overcome the loss to Rocky Balboa and has been suffering ever since. According to Lundgren...
Basically, my character has been in a living hell since '85 and lost everything. The script reintroduces him as a pretty damaged character, emotionally, and somebody who's suffered a lot physically from a hard life. I can identify with that quite easily. The physical part [and] the emotional part.
If you've somehow been living under a rock and have never seen Rocky IV, the film sees Russian pro boxer Ivan Drago "accidentally" kill Apollo Creed in the ring during a bout, leading to Rocky Balboa taking on the dangerous individual and beat him in his home country. Creed picked up this story with Michael B. Jordan's Adonis Creed following in his father's footsteps by becoming a boxer, with Rocky as his trainer. The sequel, Creed II will take a more direct approach to the Rocky IV story with Adonis going one-on-one with the son of Ivan Drago.
Adonis Creed's quest for redemption and retribution is clear, but how many of us think about things from the perspective of the "bad guy?" The younger Drago is apparently looking for some retribution of his own. His father has apparently been suffering ever since his loss to Rocky, and so the son wants to defeat the protege of the man who defeated his father.
Dolph Lundgren tells Empire that while he hadn't previously been interested in revisiting the character of Ivan Drago, as he's gotten older his perspective has changed and so the idea of playing an older Drago that he can relate to is much more interesting.
It will certainly be intriguing to see what an emotionally damaged Ivan Drago looks like. In Rocky IV Drago was barely portrayed as human. The character was instead a nearly emotionless machine focused only on beating his opponent in the ring. He wasn't supposed to be relatable, he was just a villain. Rocky IV is essentially a superhero movie where Sylvester Stallone gets to play Captain America in trunks.
However, in the much more realistic world of Creed II, we'll see what happens when a boxer who finds his entire self-worth in winning in the ring gets beaten.
It will be interesting to see just how the Drago side of the story is handled. If Ivan is a really sympathetic character we could end up with some in the audience actually hoping to see Drago get his redemption against Creed, which might be a first for the entire boxing movie series. We'll find out in a couple weeks when Creed II arrives in theaters.