Creed, which continues the Rocky franchise by following the son of the late Apollo Creed, has become both a critical and commercial success, thanks to the efforts of writer/director Ryan Coogler as well as stars Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. The latter's return to the Rocky Balboa role in particular continues to generate awards season buzz, while the odds are in favor of Creed 2 being made and then released in theaters sometime in the next couple of years.
There's a lot about the potential Creed sequel that remains up in the air right now, thanks in no small part to the burgeoning careers of both Coogler and Jordan alike. While it sounds as though the plan is for both Jordan and Stallone to return in the next Creed/Rocky installment, there is one franchise that Sly says he's now finally done with: Rambo.
Stallone, speaking during an interview with Variety, revealed a couple of story ideas for Creed 2 that he and Coogler have been batting around, as follows:
One option would be a linear story with Adonis that mirrors the plot of “Rocky IV.” “You’ll have him face a different opponent, which I would say is a more ferocious, big Russian,” Stallone says. But Stallone lights up when he reveals another idea they are considering: a “Godfather II”-like sequel set in the past, before Apollo’s death. “There’s a lot there,” Stallone says, adding that he recently bumped into [Carl] Weathers, who looked as imposing as ever. “I can’t believe I got in the ring with him,” Stallone says. “Even if it was play fighting.”
A Godfather Part II-style Creed sequel, like Stallone mentioned, would presumably follow two distinct plot threads: one revolving around the young Apollo Creed (previously portrayed by Carl Weathers) in his days before he fought Rocky in the ring, the other revolving around Adonis following the events of Coogler's previous installment. Jordan playfully responded "So it's going to be a CGI version of Sly?" when Variety asked him about that potential Creed 2 setup, but in all seriousness it sound like a young Rocky would not figure into the flashbacks to Apollo Creed's past. Thus, Stallone would only appear in Creed 2's present-day scenes, alongside Jordan as Adonis Creed and (one presumes) Tessa Thompson back as Adonis' girlfriend, Bianca.
That idea of juxtaposing Adonis' efforts to keep the momentum in his professional boxing career going with scenes of his late father doing (one assumes) the same does have promise, as far as premises for Creed 2 go. Nothing has been finalized yet, though, in part because Coogler is currently the first in line for the directing job on Marvel Studios' Black Panther (which is slated to arrive in early 2018). For that reason, Coogler may have to serve as an executive producer and/or writer on Creed 2 only - seeing as MGM is looking to move ahead on the sequel sooner than later and may not want to wait for Coogler's schedule to open up. That would be disappointing, seeing how much of Creed's creative success can be attributed to Coogler's direction on the film.
Things are somewhat up in the air when it comes to the future of the Creed franchise for these reasons, but the future (or lack thereof) is more clear where it concerns Stallone's time working on the Rambo property:
Stallone had previously said publicly that he was working on “Rambo V,” but he thinks the character is done. “The heart’s willing, but the body says, ‘Stay home!’” he says. “It’s like fighters that go back for one last round and get clobbered. Leave it to someone else.” He’s also not involved in the “Rambo” TV series, which focuses on the character’s son. “I don’t want to cast aspersions,” Stallone says, “but it’s delicate to try to replace a character with his son. I’ve seen the son of Flicka, the son of Tarzan, the son of King Kong. It’s a very difficult premise.”
2008's Rambo (which Stallone co-scripted and directed, in addition to headlining) appeared to serve as the concluding chapter in the frequently violent tale of Vietnam war veteran John Rambo, going by the finality of the last scene in that movie. Stallone has since back-tracked on that idea and made multiple attempts to get Rambo 5 (aka Rambo: Last Blood) off the ground, but to no avail. However, now that he's 69 years old and declined involvement with the developing Rambo: New Blood TV series (revolving around Rambo's son), it seems fair to say that Sly's days playing the Rambo character may, in fact, be behind him after all.
We'll bring you more information on the future of the Creed/Rocky and Rambo franchises as it becomes available.