“Creed III,” starring Michael B. Jordan, is currently in cinemas, but many viewers are wondering where the hell Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa is.
Stallone co-starred with Jordan in “Creed” and “Creed II,” getting an Oscar nod for supporting actor for his work in the first movie in 2015. Yet, Stallone is completely missing from “Creed III.” While Rocky’s name is mentioned a few times in the screenplay, his whereabouts are never revealed.
Stallone’s absence in “Creed III” marks the first time in the “Rocky” film franchise’s nine films and 47 years that a film does not feature Rocky Balboa. The reasons for Stallone’s departure are twofold: he wasn’t a fan of “Creed III’s” creative direction, and his spat with longstanding franchise producer Irwin Winkler continues.
“Creed III,” scripted by Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin from a story they cooked up with original “Creed” director Ryan Coogler, is a far darker take on the uplifting “Rocky” franchise. As Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman observed in his review, “Creed III” is a sports drama that feels more like a “Cape Fear”-inspired thriller than a traditional “Rocky” movie.
“That’s a regretful situation because I know what it could have been,” Stallone told THR about disagreeing with the sequel’s tone. “It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it. It’s a different philosophy — Irwin Winkler’s and Michael B. Jordan’s. I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.”
Check out the excellent video the popular Youtube channel “Looper” did on this fascinating subject below: