Among the many high-profile Hollywood franchises getting a revival in 2015 is the iconic Rocky series, by way of the spinoff Creed. Reuniting Fruitvale Station star and director Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler, the film centers around Adonis Creed, son of Rocky Balboa’s (Sylvester Stallone) rival-turned-friend Apollo. As he works his way up the ranks, Andonis enlists the help of Rocky as a trainer.
The two trailers for Creed have made it quite clear that this is Adonis’ story, and Rocky is a supporting player in the narrative (much like Mickey was in the early Rocky installments). That point is hammered home in a new featurette (watch it above) that explores the generational aspect of Creed and how the film came into fruition.
Following 2006’s Rocky Balboa, moviegoers had thought they had seen the last of the Italian Stallion – and Stallone had even intended that film to cap off the saga. It was Coogler who brought the idea for Creed to Stallone, and the actor was intrigued by the concept. Stallone admits that it’s an angle he never even considered; continuing the franchise by following a new character that honors the Rocky legacy in its own unique way.
It’s comforting for longtime fans to hear that Creed was inspired not by a studio’s desire to sell tickets, but by a director’s vision for a new film. In the clip, Coogler talks about his passion for the Rocky series and how it inspired him as an athlete in his youth. Being a die-hard fan of a franchise is not a prerequisite for directing an installment in it, but knowing that Creed comes from the heart is a positive sign for its potential quality. The creative team was clearly committed to making the best movie they could, since they understand what Rocky means to so many people.
A big part of the Creed promotional materials has been underlining Adonis’ arc of boxing in the shadow of his late father, which is an aspect touched on in the featurette. One can see a meta angle between Adonis and the film itself, as Coogler’s project will have to prove that it’s worthy of carrying on the Rocky tradition. Rocky Balboa was a well-received end game that wrapped up the franchise nicely. It’s a bit of a risk to bring it back for another go-around, but Coogler and Stallone both seem confident in the story and its ability to connect with an audience.
Luckily for them, Creed seems to be on the right track to recapturing the old Rocky magic. It’s quickly become one of the most anticipated films of the fall, and should be a big box office hit when it opens in November. And with Coogler taking the series back to its gritty dramatic roots (as opposed to the ’80s camp of some of the Rocky sequels), there’s a chance it can become a critical darling, too. Previews have teased a hard-hitting film that takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster; fingers crossed, the actual movie delivers on that promise.
Creed will open in U.S. theaters on November 25th, 2015.
Source: Warner Bros. UK