It may not seem like it now, but the first Creed film (released in 2015) was no sure thing. Sylvester Stallone had already signed off on the Rocky character with Rocky Balboa, the sixth installment of the long-running saga of a club fighter who makes it big and then goes through various trials and tribulations (deaths aplenty, saving the world from the Cold War, and so forth) to end up living quietly in a modest home while running a small restaurant to keep him busy. In fact, Stallone himself was so sure that he was done with the character that the final scene of Rocky Balboa shows Rocky waving at the audience as the camera loses focus.
On top of that, director Ryan Coogler’s reboot of the series didn’t focus on Stallone’s iconic character, but a new character – the lost son (Michael B. Jordan) of one-time friend and rival, Apollo Creed. Add in the fact that while Rocky was still going to be an important part of the story, the racial dynamics of the movie turned the world of Rocky on its head. Here was a film that had to balance history and nostalgia while also breathing fresh life into a storyline that many might have found far too long in the tooth to have any real bite.
To Coogler, Jordan, and Stallone’s great credit, not only did Creed lift off, it exploded – becoming one of the surprise successes of that movie year. Three years later, Jordan returned with Stallone and a new director (Steven Caple Jr.) to give us Creed II. While the second installment wasn’t met with the same rapturous acclaim the first film received, it did nearly as well at the box office, and was well-respected in its own right.
Today, MGM drops the trailer for Creed III, which may well be the final film in the Creed/Rocky series. The director at the helm for Creed III is none other than the film’s star, Michael B. Jordan. While Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, and Tony Bellew are back, notably absent from the trailer is Sylvester Stallone, who decided not to reprise his Rocky character one more time. That means Jordan now stands fully on his own, carrying the entire weight of the beloved Rocky/Creed history on his shoulders.
As you can see in the trailer, Jordan did bring in quite the casting ringer with rising star Jonathan Majors coming aboard as Creed’s one-time friend, and now rival. One of the easiest things in Hollywood to accomplish is a good looking trailer for a film with a lot of action and drama in it. That being said, if you are even a casual fan of the Creed/Rocky films, it’s hard not to get hyped up while watching the preview for the film.
Creed III will land in theaters on 3/3/23 (note the symmetry).