Making his first appearance in the 1985 Rocky IV, Dolph Lundgren who played the role of a Russian pro-boxer, Ivan Drago, in the franchise, has cleared the air of misunderstanding that plagued the community after the announcement of a potential Drago spin-off. For people who live under a cave, Sylvester Stallone — the man, the myth, the legend — has been having a tough time as of late.
Producer Irwin Winkler and his children, Charles and David Winkler are apparently exploiting the Rocky franchise, behind the back of the actor and the creator of the franchise and some of its most memorable characters, Stallone. Long time friend, Dolph Lundgren, clears misconceptions.
So, What Exactly Happened?
Previously, upon the teasing of a Drago spin-off, Sylvester Stallone made a clear distinction on where he stands on the matter. Unfortunately, it has been mainly negative. Back in 1976, plans for the first Rocky movie were in-progress. John G. Avildsen was the film’s director and a struggling, yet ambitious Sylvester Stallone who wrote the script.
Following its success, the franchise kept growing and growing — with seemingly no stop, as is evident lately. Decades ago — the one mistake that might keep Stallone up at night was made. He sold the rights of his creation to producer Irwin Winkler, for whom milking the franchise to date seems to never end. Robert Chartoff was also involved as one of the producers. However, for him, Stallone only expressed respect. On Instagram, Stallone took to calling Irwin Winkler “pathetic” and his children “moronic, useless vultures.” He also said that Dolph Lundgren did not inform him about the potential spin-off, and what was going on with the character he “created for” Lundgren.
Dolph Lundgren Responds To Misunderstandings
It must be noted that Stallone’s dejection can be justified, considering how the character of Ivan Drago was created for Dolph Lundgren. The role of Drago was so impactful that it shot the then-struggling actor Lundgren straight to stardom. Not being informed about where the characters he created and the franchise he worked so hard for are being taken towards is sure to disappoint any person, not just Stallone. Upon seeing Stallone’s disappointment and distaste for the spin-off project, Dolph Lundgren took to Instagram to clear any misconception regarding a strained friendship between the two. This is what Lundgren responded:
“Just to set the record straight regarding a possible Drago spinoff. There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director and I was personally under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor.”
The martial artist, hence, reaffirmed that he had no idea that the creator himself was not informed about the plan.
From the actor’s statement, it becomes obvious that a Drago spin-off is simply in the ideation plane, not a concrete, well-established project. While Irwin Winkler’s exploitation of Stallone’s creation and characters remains a matter of stringent contention, it is most likely that the two actors, Lundgren and Stallone, have reconciled and come to terms with their misunderstandings. We can also deduce from Lundgren’s stance that he would not proceed with something until and unless it has Stallone’s approval, or at the very least, his consultation.
To see what this feud leads to will only be revealed in the future. However, the constant exploitation of Stallone’s handwork seems to have caused a rift within the community of Rocky fans, who have voiced their wholehearted support for the actor, writer, and director, while making their disapproval of Winkler evident. Much like Stallone, the fans too are begging the producer to stop his exploitative rampage and return the rights of the franchise to the rightful owner.
While the matter seems inconclusive as of now, Creed III, which marks the 9th installment in the Rocky franchise, and Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut, is set for a 23rd November 2022 release.