Rocky Balboa may be on his way back to the big screen, but he won’t be stepping into the ring. According to Deadline, Ryan Coogler, director of this year’s independent film “Fruitvale Station,” is set to direct the upcoming “Creed,” a quasi-sequel to the original “Rocky” films.
Coogler is reportedly in talks with “Fruitvale Station” star Michael B. Jordan to star in “Creed,” which follows the grandson of Rocky’s archnemesis-turned-best-friend Apollo Creed as he enters the world of boxing. The film will reportedly revolve around Jordan’s character's rebellion against his family by becoming a boxer. In many ways, the film’s plot sounds like a mirror image of the first “Rocky” movie, which featured Stallone as a small-time boxer working as a loan shark enforcer to make ends meet.
Raised in a wealthy family thanks to the fortune Apollo Creed earned before he was killed fighting Ivan Drago in “Rocky 4,” Jordan’s character is discouraged from boxing even though he shows a natural talent for the sport. In defiance of his family’s wishes, he decides to start training as a boxer and (of course) enlists the help of Rocky Balboa as he begins fighting. Initially, Balboa is apprehensive about returning to the world of boxing after briefly coming out of retirement in “Rocky Balboa,” but Jordan’s character will of course convince him that they have to work together.
Adding Rocky as a trainer is a smart way to explicitly tie “Creed” back to the original films, but it might be too reminiscent of the critical and commercial flop “Rocky 5,” which also featured Rocky training a young upstart boxer. Audiences were disappointed that Rocky stepped out of the ring for much of the film, but hopefully by titling the new installment “Creed,” Coogler will make it clear to audiences that Rocky is only a supporting character this time around.
Jordan hasn’t officially signed onto the role yet, but Deadline seems confident that he will star in the film. At the same time, Sylvester Stallone reportedly loved the idea and has already signed on to the project. Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, who served as producers on the original “Rocky” are attached to “Creed” as well.
Currently, there’s no release date set for “Creed,” but Coogler plans to make it his next film, so it’s likely heading for a 2015 or 2016 release.