Michael B. Jordan says Sylvester Stallone won’t be in ‘Creed III’ because the franchise is ‘moving forward’

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Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in ‘Creed II.’ MGM
  • Jordan told IGN that “this is a Creed franchise” and that it’s time to “navigate Adonis forward.”
  • “It’s always respect and always a s— ton of love for what he’s built,” he added of Stallone.
  • “Creed III,” out next year, will mark Jordan’s directorial debut.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, won’t be returning for “Creed III,” and the star and director of the movie, Michael B. Jordan, has finally addressed the shocking news.

“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 told IGN this week.

“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 s— ton of love for what he’s built,” he added, “but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created.”

Since “Creed,” directed by Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”), came out in 2015, the “Rocky” spin-off franchise that focuses on Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis (played by Jordan), has found huge acclaim. Stallone even earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Rocky Balboa as Creed’s manager.

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Stallone and Jordan in ‘Creed.’ Warner Bros.

The duo reteamed for the 2018 sequel, directed by Steven Caple Jr. (Stallone cowrote the screenplay), in which Creed, with Balboa by his side, takes on the son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the villain in “Rocky IV.”

But it seems that with Stallone’s exit, the “Creed” franchise will connect to the “Rocky” movies differently.

For fans of the Balboa universe, it will be hard to see Stallone’s iconic character not be in the mix. However, Stallone may have hinted at this all along – at the end of “Creed II,” he celebrates Adonis’ win by saying to the fighter, “It’s your time now.”

Caple told Insider in 2018 that Stallone made up that line on the spot.

“That wasn’t even in the script,” Caple said. “I didn’t know what he was going to say.”

“Creed III” will have a different director: It will mark Jordan’s directorial debut.

“Hopefully you guys will love what I’m thinking … what we’re cooking up,” Jordan told IGN. “I think it’s going to be something special.”

“Creed III,” which will include the return of the boxer’s partner and his mother, played by Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad, comes out in November 2022. The film will be cowritten by Coogler’s brother Keenan.