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Creed II is a story that returns to the past of the Rocky franchise and looks at how the events of Rocky IV shaped the modern day of the series. It brings back Dolph Lundgren to the franchise as Ivan Drago, but it also brings back Brigitte Nielsen, who played Ivan's wife Ludmilla. However, quite a lot had changed in the intervening years, as the last time Nielsen worked with Sylvester Stallone on a Rocky movie, the two were married, which isn't the case anymore. This obviously made the actress a bit nervous when she came on the set for the first time. According to Nielsen...
My heart was beating very fast. We are two professionals and we kept it that way. He stayed in the American corner and I stayed in the Russian corner. We were on opposite sides but it was pleasant.
So it seems that, while the pair found themselves together for the first time in years, they had little interaction, as the two spent their time in their respective corners of the boxing ring. We shouldn't read anything combative into that, however, as the actress tells People that the experience was "pleasant."
Sylvester Stallone and Brigitte Nielsen were married in 1985, the same year that Rocky IV was released. The marriage only lasted two years, so one can certainly guess that the relationship was probably pretty, well, rocky, when it ended, and the pair probably did not expect to see much of each other again.
And if they had appeared an any other Rocky movie together, that may have been the case. However, Rocky IV is both a fan favorite entry in the series and one that is important to the spinoff series Creed in a big way. The shadow of Rocky IV hangs over everything that happens in the first Creed, and it becomes a major part of the plot in the brand new sequel.
From a storytelling standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world for both of the parents of the new Drago generation to make an appearance in the film. While most of the focus has been given to Dolph Lundgren's character, who, of course, has the more important role in Rocky IV and therefore the sequel as well, Ludmilla Drago was a force to be reckoned with herself in the previous film, she's not the sort of woman to just disappear.
Fans of the Rocky franchise will likely love Creed II and the way that it brings the old Rocky movie forward and even causes you to look back on it with an entirely new perspective. Revisiting the Drago family and seeing what has become of them is as big as seeing Rocky Balboa again was the last time around.
Creed II is in theaters now.