Creed 2, the sequel to the smash hit Rocky franchise revival Creed, is set to go before cameras in Philadelphia beginning in February. Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan are expected to return for the second installment, which is being written by Stallone himself.
The Rocky franchise had been dormant for years when writer/director Ryan Coogler brought it back to life in 2015 with Creed, a drama focusing on the relationship between an aging, cancer-ridden Rocky Balboa (Stallone) and up-and-coming boxer Adonis Creed (Jordan), the son of Rocky's late nemesis-turned-friend Apollo Creed. Creed reinvigorated the Rocky series while giving a significant shot in the arm to Stallone's career, earning the veteran star an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Stallone has been hard at work writing a script for the inevitable Creed sequel, and now the film is reportedly set to go before cameras in Philadelphia beginning on February 8th, 2018 according to My Entertainment World (via Omega Underground). No director has yet been named for the project, which is aiming for a late 2018 release date.
After a number of teases from Stallone, we know that Creed 2 will see the return of Ivan Drago, the cartoonishly villainous Russian boxer who in Rocky IV killed Apollo Creed in the ring and was later defeated by Rocky in a match that symbolically affirmed American superiority over the Soviet Union (it was the Reagan era after all). Lundgren is set to return as Drago, but how exactly the character will fit into the Creed sequel is not yet known. It would seem natural that Adonis Creed would want a shot at revenge against the man who killed his father (even though Rocky presumably already achieved that revenge himself by humiliating Drago in front of the world), but actually placing an aged Drago in the ring against Adonis might be too silly for belief. Given the age-gap between Adonis and Drago, it might make more sense to give Drago a son who would then battle Adonis in the ring, carrying on the Creed theme of mentors handing the reins to their protégées.
The thought of Rocky, who nearly died of cancer in Creed and by the movie's end barely had the strength to run up the iconic steps to his own statue, fighting Drago himself seems completely out of the question. As much as nostalgia buffs might enjoy watching Stallone and Lundgren fight one last time, for the sake of plausibility, Stallone probably should stick to being Adonis' mentor and let the younger man do all the actual boxing.
With Creed 2 now settling on a start date, the next question is who will step behind the camera and direct the movie. Ryan Coogler will be deep into doing publicity for Black Panther at the time Creed 2 is set to begin production, so it seems unlikely that he will be coming back. Given that he directed every Rocky sequel before Creed, Stallone himself would seem a logical candidate to take over the reins.