Filming on Creed II is officially underway, and now the story and cast for the sequel have been confirmed. Sylvester Stallone tried to call it a day for the Rocky series with Rocky V in 1990, a sequel that was famously met with derision upon release. It took 16 years for Stallone to redeem the character with Rocky Balboa, where a long-retired Rocky is tempted back into ring to prove to himself he still has what it takes. The movie drew strong reviews and helped revive the actor's career after years of box-office disappointments.
While that entry was supposed to end the series again, Stallone was once again tempted back to the role for Creed, which followed the son of Rocky's late rival/friend Apollo Creed as he tried to make his own name in boxing. Rocky stepped into a mentor role for the story, with Michael B. Jordan taking on the lead. Thanks to an emotional story, great performances and stellar direction from Ryan Coogler, Creed proved there was still a lot of life left in the franchise; Stallone also received a much deserved Oscar nomination for his touching performance.
Filming for Creed II is currently underway in Philadelphia, and now MGM and Warner Bros. have released an official synopsis and cast list. The sequel will see Adonis Creed squaring off in the ring against the son of Ivan Drago, the hulking Russian fighter who killed Apollo Creed in the ring; Dolph Lungren returns to the role for the first time since 1985's Rocky IV, while Florian Munteanu plays his son Viktor. Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad also return from Creed. Here is the synopsis in full:
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
Stallone has also posted a video to his Instagram account from the set, where he takes some time to reflect on the now 40-year old Rocky series.
You know the old cliché that it “seems like yesterday and “but it does and it’s a very exciting moment to be here getting ready to Watch Creed 2 to commence filming. A very exciting day !!! The actors and production team has been waiting a long Time for this film to start , so ladies and gentlemen get ready to watch the fists startFLYING! #MGM #rockybalboa #CREED2
Steven Caple Jr takes over the director's chair from Coogler. The setup for the sequel is an intriguing one, with both Adonis and Rocky coming face to face with a painful part of their past. Rocky was left racked by guilt for his role in Apollo's death, and allowing the fight to continue even once it was clear Apollo was losing to Drago. Creed II will also find Drago in a mentor role to his boxer son, so it will be interesting to see if the famously stoic fighter has mellowed over the years or if he feels any regret over Apollo's death.
There's some concern over the decision to bring Drago back for Creed II. While Rocky IV is a very entertaining sequel, it was famously cartoony compared to the rest of the series. Creed, on the other hand, was a grounded drama, so fans aren't sure how the tone of the two movies will mesh. That said, given that most of the creative team involved with the last movie are returning, there seems little reason to be worried.
Source: MGM/Warner Bros.
- Creed 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018