Sylvester Stallone wanted Apollo Creed to appear as a ghost in ‘Creed 2’ — here’s why it didn’t happen

Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed in ‘Rocky IV.’ MGM
  • Sylvester Stallone wanted to show the ghost of Apollo Creed in one scene of “Creed II.”
  • But director Steven Caple Jr. didn’t know how to pull it off in a way that would work with the tone of the movie.
  • Caple also wondered, would actor Carl Weathers reprise the role as the way he looks today, or would he have to be de-aged to look like he did in the “Rocky” movies?
  • Instead, Caple tried to include the voice of Creed talking to his son at a dramatic point in the movie.
  • Caple told Business Insider why he ended up scrapping the whole idea.

Warning: Minor “Creed II” spoilers ahead.

“Creed II” does an excellent job of paying homage to the original “Rocky” movies, but there’s one aspect of the franchise both Sylvester Stallone and “Creed II” director Steven Caple Jr. wanted in the movie that sadly could not pull off in a way that satisfied them.

When Caple signed on to direct the movie a year ago, Stallone, who plays Rocky Balboa in the movie and is also a co-screenwriter on it, told Caple about an idea to get Apollo Creed in the movie.

“Sly had a ghost version at one point,” Caple told Business Insider.

The idea Stallone had was that while Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is recovering in the hospital from his first fight with Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), for a brief moment while in and out of consciousness he would see his father, Apollo, standing in the corner of the room.

“In regards to tone, it wasn’t on my level of where I was going with the film,” Caple said. “Sly had it in just as an idea we could use, but I thought it might throw people off. And then I was thinking what does Apollo wear? Is it [actor] Carl Weathers today or from back in ‘Rocky IV’?”

Creed II MGM Apollo1
Adonis Creed almost got up off the mat thanks to the voice of his father, Apollo, but ‘Creed II’ director Steven Caple Jr. decided otherwise. MGM

So Caple came up with another idea: Why not have Apollo’s voice come up at an important moment in the movie?

Caple felt at a key point in the final fight, while Creed is trying to get up off the canvas, he would hear his father’s voice say, “Get up, son.”

“I felt that was going to be the moment,” Caple said. He was going to have Weathers come in to deliver the dramatic line. But when he edited the scene and included the line (which at that point was recorded by someone else as temporary dialogue) it didn’t work.

Read more:

The director of “Creed II” describes the conversation with Sylvester Stallone that convinced him he’d have the freedom to make his mark on the franchise

“It just felt like it came out of nowhere,” Caple said. “At that point it’s his own family that’s making him get up, not his father anymore.”

During “Creed II,” Adonis and his now fiancée Bianca (Tessa Thompson) have a baby.

As a fan of the franchise, Caple was disappointed he couldn’t get Weathers in the movie. He admitted that he even wondered if there was a clever way to get Mr. T (who was in “Rocky III”) in “Creed II.” But when it was time to lock picture, the best way to celebrate the myth of Apollo Creed was through pictures and old “Rocky IV” footage.

But you can’t say Caple didn’t try.

“Creed II” opens in theatres on Wednesday.