Sylvester Stallone Got Real on ‘Bowing Out’ of Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III, Reveals His Plan for Creed 4: “Rocky needs to be one”

Sylvester Stallone Got Real on 'Bowing Out' of Michael B. Jordan's Creed III, Reveals His Plan for Creed 4
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Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky is a film franchise that has exceeded in entertaining movie-goers for decades. We’ve seen the series grow and evolve with time. While the release of Creed III and the plausibility of Creed IV promise a future where the comprehensive, interconnected narrative could continue to thrive, whether or not the world will get to witness Stallone take part in what’s next has been somewhat debatable.

Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise
The acclaimed Rocky franchise

Read also: Sylvester Stallone’s Co-Star Signals Exit From Rocky Franchise After Sly’s Ownership Rights Dispute: “Just so all the fans can relax”

The reason behind this is primarily because of the persistent feud between the producer of the franchise, Irwin Winkler, and Stallone, who happens to be the creator of the uber-iconic titular character, and the original premise that follows him. The latter simply claims to have “zero ownership” over his self-made chef-d’œuvre. This dispute has culminated in the shaky, dubious involvement of the Hollywood star in the franchise’s future, with many fans speculating and wondering what will happen next.


When it specifically comes to Sylvester Stallone’s absence from Creed III, there have been other factors at play that obstructed the actor from feeling like he could be a part of the endeavor. He discussed such aspects in numerous interviewers, in hopes of quelling the disappointment many long-time fans have experienced over his non-appearance.

Sylvester Stallone Was Unsure About His Part In Creed III

Creed II
Creed II

Out of the nine films in the over-arching Rocky franchise, the 2023 Michael B. Jordan-directed venture became the first to not feature Rocky Balboa. To say the fans were shocked would be an understatement. However, the reasoning that was provided to justify this non-appearance was logical and understandable.

When Stallone was questioned about his character’s absence from Creed III, he simply commented that he decided to bow out of the film willingly. “I just didn’t know if there was any part for me.” emphasized the star in an interview with Metro at the UK launch of Paramount Plus. Nonetheless, he expressed his good wishes for the endeavor and stated that the Michael B. Jordan film would be taken in a drastically different direction in comparison to its earlier precursors.


On another occasion, the actor who has been credited for being one of the producers of the third installment of the Creed series blamed creative differences as a reason for his withdrawal. Talking to THR, the Rambo alum remarked the following:

“I know what it [Creed III] could have been. It was taken in a direction that is quite different than I would’ve taken it. It’s a different philosophy — Irwin Winkler’s and Michael B. Jordan’s. I wish them well, but I’m much more of a sentimentalist. I like my heroes getting beat up, but I just don’t want them going into that dark space. I just feel people have enough darkness.”

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone

Read also: “Who is that guy with a crooked mouth, he looks like a heavybag”: Sylvester Stallone Was a “Terrible Choice” to Lead $1.7 Billion ‘Rocky’ Franchise

In this 2022 interview, Sylvester Stallone offered additional insight into the behind-the-scene battle over the franchise’s rights. Despite having requested producer Irwin Winkler to provide him some of the rights to the character he developed, Stallone alleged that in reality, very little was done about it. “It’s never gonna happen … I don’t own any of it. The people who have done literally nothing, control it,” concluded the long-time icon of the Hollywood action genre.


Such revelations pushed fans into putting on their thinking caps. Many started wondering whether or not they would potentially be offered a glimpse of their beloved hero in Creed IV. Even if there are some questions regarding Sylvester Stallone’s probable return to the Creed films, the actor has not yet explicitly rejected the possibilities surrounding it.

Sylvester Stallone’s Future In The Acclaimed Franchise

Sylvester Stallone Rocky
Sylvester Stallone during the filming of Rocky

Stallone has not outright shut down future undertakings and his potential involvement in them. If there’s one thing about the actor, it is that he’s dedicated to his creation and has wanted only the good to come out of it. Entertaining and appeasing the audience has been the talent’s primary goal for decades. However, he does have a specific criterion that needs to be met before he could come on board for Creed IV. 

Talking to Associated Press, the actor reiterated his sentiments on how the 2023 Creed release was not relatable to him. This is what signaled his withdrawal from the premise. He stated:


“The producer (Irwin Winkler) and I think Michael B. Jordan; they decided to go in a direction that is quite radically different than Rocky films. It deals on something else. I don’t know. I just find it not relatable. That’s why I bowed out.”

He furthermore felt that within the movie’s narrative, his character would have no actual purpose. The actor would end up becoming a “spear holder”, essentially a part of the background. A treatment like this for a character as iconic as the one created by the star would be a disservice to what Rocky Balboa represents.

Sylvester Stallone also emphasized that Rocky needed to be “one on one with Adonis Creed for his character to work.” However, Creed III‘s focus was rather family-oriented, with Donnie dealing with more peripheral characters.

Sylvester Stallone with Michael B. Jordan in Creed (2015)
Sylvester Stallone with Michael B. Jordan in Creed (2015)

Read more: Sylvester Stallone To Return in Creed 4 With Michael B. Jordan, Jonathan Majors if He Gets Back $2.7B Rocky Franchise Rights: “As long as the other fella’s not involved”


To conclude, the actor then stated, “If there’s a four, I’m there.” It must however be noted that Stallone’s promise of returning currently hangs on a thread. The star has set a condition for his potential return in Creed IV. And that being Irwin Winkler’s non-involvement in the pursuit. Following is what the action star stated in an interview with SiriusXM:

“Michael B. Jordan, nice guy, the studio’s wonderful. But it’s just the… it’s been such a real, rough emotional ride … Now, if Michael B. Jordan, we come up with a story, I’ll do Creed 4 with him as long as the other fella’s not involved.”

Therefore, Sylvester Stallone’s future in the 46-year-old highly-venerated franchise remains unpredictable. With an ownership feud that has only escalated without much resolve, fans can only resort to hoping and praying for the return of the legendary titular hero.

Creed III is available for streaming on Prime Video.


Source: Associated Press


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.