Steven Caple Jr. took over directing duties from Ryan Coogler for Creed II -- the sequel to the very successful Creed -- but it took some persuading for him to take the job. The first movie made a healthy $173.5 million worldwide, with rave reviews. So expectations for the sequel were high to begin with. On top of that, the sequel would have to be finished in just under a year, which initially made Caple hesitate before accepting the job.

I was excited, but at the same time, I'm like, 'Man, this is a franchise that's good. I don't want to hurt it. I don't want to risk it due to the short time window we had to shoot. And I don't know whether or not they're gonna allow me to be me. I really want my voice to come off.'

In an interview with Vulture, Steven Caple Jr. described how he began his journey directing Creed II, and how he was reluctant to take the job at first. Caple first learned that he was in the running for Creed II around Thanksgiving of last year. At the time, he had only directed one feature -- the indie skateboard drama The Land -- but he went to USC's School of Cinematic Arts with Ryan Coogler, who recommended him as director. If Caple accepted the gig, he would have to enter production almost immediately and deliver the movie in under a year.

That's high-turnover in the film world, so Steven Caple Jr. did have a concern over whether he had enough time to deliver a quality film. He was also nervous about taking over the franchise and not being able to put his stamp on it. However, Ryan Coogler and co-writer/co-star Sylvester Stallone assured him that he would have room to make the film his own.

Ryan understood that. He didn't want me to make Creed all over again. He said, 'You definitely have to do you in order for us to win.' That was the same attitude Sly had. He was like, 'Hey man, for this movie to do well, it has to have your stamp on it.' That made me feel comfortable. Before Thanksgiving last year, I had these meetings on a Tuesday and a Wednesday. Then the city shut down. And Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I was just with my family really contemplating whether or not I was gonna take this project or not.

Obviously, Steven Caple Jr. decided to join the film, and so far it seems to have worked out well for the director! Early reviews for the film have been positive, and the movie seems to appeal to fans of Creed and the older Rocky fans, due to the connection to Rocky IV.

Creed II arrives in theaters on November 21. For more movies to look forward to this holiday season, enjoy our holiday preview guide.

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