One of the most successful films of 2015 was Ryan Coogler's Creed, a spinoff of the popular Rocky franchise. It features an older Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) training Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Rocky's rival-turned-friend Apollo. To date, the sports drama has grossed $105.6 million at the domestic box office and earned widespread critical acclaim, including a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for Stallone.
The film has reinvigorated interest in the property, and many moviegoers are interested to see the career of Adonis continue. Stallone has even teased a possible storyline taking inspiration from The Godfather II, with a narrative that in part takes place in the past before Apollo's death at the hands of Ivan Drago. Whether that idea comes into fruition remains to be seen, but MGM certainly agrees with Stallone that Creed 2 should happen one day.
According to Variety, MGM CEO Gary Barber revealed he's eyeing a Fall 2017 release for a sequel to the studio's big hit, adding that a date has not been finalized at this point. It's no surprise that the studio is looking to fast track the project. Adonis was one of the past year's most memorable movie characters, and Jordan is a rising star in high demand. MGM wants to strike when the iron's hot and lock in all the principal players before the talent moves on to something else.
Should Creed 2 come together this quickly, one crucial part of the first film's success may not be able to return. Coogler was recently hired by Marvel Studios to helm the solo Black Panther vehicle, which is slated for a February 2018 release. Stallone told Variety there's a good chance Coogler only serves as an executive producer for the followup, saying, "Ryan is going to be gone for a couple of years." The prospect of someone else directing Creed 2 is a disappointing one, since the Coogler's handling of the material was one of the movie's greatest strengths.
While there's no shortage of talented filmmakers capable of delivering a compelling boxing drama, there's a debate to be had about whether or not MGM should wait for Coogler's schedule to free up before moving forward with the sequel. Creed was the brainchild of Coogler, who brought the idea to Stallone and waited years to get it off the ground. Simply put, it would be hard to replicate the personal touch Coogler gave Creed with a different director in tow. Coogler has illustrated a love and admiration for the Rocky universe and has a great understanding of the characters he created with his film.
On the other hand, there's no rule that says every installment in a film franchise has to come from the same director. Often times, a series will rotate filmmakers in order to keep things fresh (i.e. Mission: Impossible, Star Wars), so the argument can be made that giving someone else an opportunity to play in this sandbox would yield great results. It all depends on who MGM selects to call the shots, and that's a decision the studio probably won't make lightly. After Creed impressed many who saw it, the expectations will be high for the sequel and the studio will want to keep this train rolling.
Creed is now playing in theaters. We'll bring you additional information on Creed 2 as it becomes available.