Sylvester Stallone has been playing Rocky Balboa for more than four decades. The character has evolved from an underdog to a champion to a mentor of another young fighter, and Stallone seems to feel that with Creed II it might be time for Rocky to finally step out of the ring. The actor, writer, and director has posted a statement to Instagram which seems to indicate that he's done playing Rocky. According to Stallone...

I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide World for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years. It's been my Ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, Sadly all things must pass... and end. Keep punching, I love you Kind and generous people, and Rocky loves you too.

While Sylvester Stallone doesn't come out and state that Creed II will be the last appearance of Rocky, a video which accompanies the statement above on Instagram has Stallone saying this is probably his "last rodeo." While it's sad that an era has come to an end, at the same time, as Stallone says, that day was going to come eventually, and Creed II isn't a bad way for it to end.

Rocky would debut in 1976 and the film would go on to garner Oscar nominations for Sylvester Stallone as both the writer and lead actor for the film. The movie would win three Oscars including Best Director and Best Picture. Five sequels would follow and it seemed that following Rocky Balboa in 2006 the story of Rocky was finally over, but then Creed would come along and bring both Stallone and his character out of retirement.

This isn't the first time that Sylvester Stallone has claimed that he was done with Rocky, so it's always possible that something could come along to entice him back, but, at the same time, the Creed films aren't about Rocky Balboa and at some point the character should probably step aside so that the story of Adonis Creed can be told without any unnecessary shadows being cast over the movies.

While Rocky may finally be retired, Stallone isn't quite done with all of his classic characters. Production is currently underway on Rambo: Last Blood, which will follow the former soldier John Rambo one more time. Of course, based on the title, one assumes the plan is for this to be the swan song for Rambo as well. Once that happens then Stallone will be done with both his major franchise names. The time is right, both have served his career, and the fans quite well.

If you haven't seen Creed II yet, you can now do it knowing that you're saying goodbye to an old friend. When you last see Rocky Balboa on the screen there, you may never see him again.

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