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Michael B. Jordan Explains Why the ‘Creed’ Series Is ‘Moving Forward’ Without Rocky

“There’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis,” the actor says

“Creed III” will be missing one very iconic character in Rocky Balboa, but its star Michael B. Jordan says that’s because the upcoming film will be about Adonis Creed “moving forward” into the future.

After Rocky quietly disappeared into the crowd at the end of “Creed II,” Sylvester Stallone confirmed that the champion boxer would not be returning for the third film in the franchise, but his “essence and his spirit” lives on.

“I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn’t coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit… there’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis,” Jordan said in an interview with IGN. “But this is a Creed franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around him moving forward. So, it’s always respect and always a shit-ton of love for what he’s built, but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created. So, hopefully, you guys will love what I’m thinking… what we’re cooking up. I think it’s going to be something special.”

“Creed II” saw Adonis finally put the demons of his past to rest as he defeated Viktor Drago, the son of the man who killed Adonis’ father Apollo in the ring in “Rocky IV.” With the help of Rocky, Adonis fought with discipline instead of rage, forcing Drago’s father Ivan to throw in the towel to save him from taking more damage. The film ended with Rocky leaving to reunite with his long-lost son, while Adonis visited his father’s grave with his wife, Bianca, and his newborn daughter, Amara.

Jordan won’t only be starring as Adonis in “Creed III,” he’ll also be making his directorial debut. What he has planned next for the champion boxer is unclear, though it’s safe to assume that the film will continue to show the growing relationship between Adonis and Bianca outside the ring. In the first “Creed,” Bianca, played by Tessa Thompson, was introduced as a musician who continues with her career despite being diagnosed with a progressive hearing disorder. Adonis quickly bonds with her over their shared experience of following their dreams despite the physical cost to their bodies.

In “Creed II,” the couple faces new challenges as they discover that Amara has inherited Bianca’s disorder, making her deaf from birth. How far into the future “Creed III” will take the Creed family remains to be seen. The film is set for a Thanksgiving release in 2022.