Creed is one of the very best modern sports movies, managing to take the universe of Rocky Balboa and bring it into the present day in a surprisingly grounded, realistic, and fun way. It helps when you have an actor as charismatic as Michael B. Jordan in the lead role, but the film was also served by Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-nominated turn as Rocky, a performance aided by the smart decisions made by writer and director Ryan Coogler.
Coogler, though, has a busy card, his star having risen in the wake of Creed; he directed Black Panther for Marvel, and has a high-profile film in the works on the Atlanta middle school cheating scandal detailed in the New Yorker a few years ago. Coogler directing the sequel, if there was going to be a sequel, was always a long shot prospect, and now we officially know he isn’t.
That’s because Stallone himself announced via Instagram that he’ll be taking the director’s chair:
Stallone is obviously the franchise, but what made Creed work like it did was the fact that it was more of a modern black romance than it was strictly a boxing movie. Stallone’s direction likely means a heavy swing back towards the original films, and that would be a big swing in tone from what Creed managed to accomplish. Stallone hasn’t directed since the original Expendables film in 2010, and hasn’t directed a Rocky movie since 2006’s Rocky Balboa.
And when you consider Stallone has been pushing hard for a “Son of Drago” sequel storyline, it’s safe to assume that’s the direction the Creed franchise is heading. That’s appealing, nostalgia-wise, but it’s also a marked departure from the boxing world established in Creed.
But, hey, we’ll always have Creed itself, and anytime Stallone gets to play Rocky we’re treated to a very fun character and performance, so there’s not much downside here.