Sylvester Stallone is the reigning champion of dramatic franchises that also bring the pain. Between the Rambo and Expendables franchises alone, the body count could populate a small country. Arguably, the Rocky franchise is the best of the bunch. A series that was built on a foundation of a never-give-up mentality, Rocky has made generations of fans cheer in their seats (and maybe shed a tear or two) for their favorite underdog boxer. 2006’s Rocky Balboa was a perfect farewell to the character that made Sylvester Stallone a household name. However, if the rumor is to be believed, it may not be the last time we see The Italian Stallion near the ring.
For almost a year now, rumors have circled that Michael B. Jordon (Chronicle, Fantastic Four) would be joining the Rocky franchise in a spin-off that focuses on the grandson of Rocky nemesis-turned-best-friend, Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers). Well, in a recent interview with The Source, Jordon confirmed that audiences would soon be able to see him in the spin-off, Creed, likely as the central role of Creed’s grandson.
Creed’s another one. … That’s definitely happening, for sure. Yeah I’m not going to let you guys down. I know that there’s a lot of Rocky fans out there and I’m one of them. So from one fan to another I’m gonna make sure we do a good job with this. Sly’s not gonna let anything happen to his baby.
There are a couple things that we can take from this comment. First, Jordon not only seems to be on board but he seems to be very excited to play in such an iconic playground. Honestly, who can blame him? At its best, the Rocky franchise has delivered award worthy (and award winning) performances, writing and direction. The first movie still holds up after over 30 years and the fight between Ivan Drago and Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV remains one of the most famous fights in boxing history, and it was a fictional fight!
The next point that fans can take from this is the fact that Stallone is still very much part of the franchise. The rumors that have swirled place Balboa in the coach’s chair in the movie, much like Mickey mentored Rocky back in the day. Is this a great idea, considering Rocky suffered from brain damage in Rocky V, then STILL fought Mason Dixon in Rocky Balboa? I mean, you would think that Dixon fight would have worsened his condition, right? Well, it turns out that Rocky never actually had brain damage. In a 2006 interview with AICN, Stallone explained:
When Rocky was diagnosed with brain damage, it must be noted that many athletes have a form of brain damage including football players, soccer players, and other individuals in contact sports such as rugby, etc. Rocky never went for a second opinion and yielded to his wife’s wishes to stop. So with the advent of new research techniques into brain damage, Rocky’s was found to be normal among fighters and he was suffering the results of a severe concussion.
So, while Balboa is definitely a bit slower to the draw than the character audiences met on screen in 1976, he is still capable of creating a winner in the grandson of Apollo Creed.
Audiences should be excited to see how this relationship plays out, especially considering Balboa was pretty much responsible for letting Creed die in Rocky IV. Will there be a tear jerking scene in which Balboa apologizes profusely to Creed’s family? Will we learn that the hatchet was buried long ago? Only time will tell! In the meanwhile, if you need a bit of Stallone in your life, The Expendables 3 is in theaters this weekend and should give you enough testosterone to keep you happy.