Creed II cowriter Cheo Hodari Coker has offered some insight on the sequel's plot and themes. The first Creed was a Rocky spinoff centered around Apollo Creed's son, Adonis (Michael B. Jordan). Sylvester Stallone reprised his role as Rocky Balboa in the film, with Ryan Coogler directing from a script and story that he wrote, inspired by his own father's love of the Rocky movies. Jordan and Stallone both came back for Creed II, but Coogler had to pass due to his commitment to Marvel's Black Panther.
Stallone got the ball rolling on the Creed II script and planned to direct the film at one point. He later vacated the director's chair on the sequel, allowing up and comer Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) to call the shots instead. Around the same time that Stallone stepped down, it came to light that Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker was collaborating with Sly on the Creed II screenplay. Coker is currently making the rounds promoting Luke Cage season 2's release next week, giving the press a chance to pick his brain about the Creed sequel.
During a phone interview with /Film, Coker revealed some plot details for the Creed sequel. Creed II picks up with Adonis as he gets ready for a boxing match with Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Ivan, of course, was the Russian fighter who killed Apollo in the ring in a boxing match in Rocky IV. Coker told /Film that Ivan's legacy hangs over Viktor's head as much as Apollo's does over Adonis' in the film:
“It’s about the legacies of sons haunted by their fathers. Even though Drago is alive, his son is haunted by him because Drago is a broken man who’s trying to rebuild himself through the son. Apollo Creed isn’t broken but because Apollo died, Adonis Creed is still haunted by his father’s death and how it defined him, what it is it means now to be a champion. He’s aspiring to be a champion but also at the same time trying to figure out who it is he is. Particularly with Bianca, particularly also because he’s got Rocky who at this point becomes the new Mickey.”
The idea of sons dealing with their fathers' legacies not only lies at the core of the first Creed, it's also part of what inspired Coogler to make the film to begin with (as mentioned earlier). As Coker explained to /Film, the idea resonated deeply with him when he saw the movie and was a big part of what inspired him to agree to cowrite Creed II, after being offered the chance:
“The first Creed is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. I cried like a baby when they got to that scene when he’s like, ‘Why are you doing this, kid?’ and he’s like, ‘I just want to prove that I wasn’t a mistake.’ I’m sitting there, oh my God, I was verklempt, man. A lot of black men that have issues with their fathers, when they saw that scene, it became our Brian’s Song. It became our Remember the Titans. It became one of those movies that it is acceptable for ‘macho’ men to cry during. So the opportunity to work on Creed II was definitely something that I fought for, something that I couldn’t pass up. Later on, when I got to work with Stallone on the draft, that was a dream come true.”
Coker added that he feels Caple Jr. was a good choice to pick up the torch on Creed II in Coogler's absence, telling /Film he thinks the director shall prove to be "a great addition to the Rocky director pantheon." The first Creed certainly set the bar high for the sequel, but it sounds like Coker is determined to meet expectations and deliver a worthy continuation of Adonis' story. At the very least, he has a firm understanding of the thematic essence of Coogler's spinoff - and why it resonated on such an emotional level with the many people who loved and related to it.
Stay tuned for more Creed II-related news, including the first trailer for the sequel (which is expected to arrive in the near future).
- Creed 2 (2018) release date: Nov 21, 2018