‘Creed III’ is a go, with Michael B. Jordan directing

The script is based on an outline by Ryan Coogler

As reboots of classic movies go, 2015’s Creed was one of the best. The film, which updated the Rocky mythology for the 21st century, was one of the best-reviewed movies of 2015 and is by far the most highly regarded Philadelphia movie of the new century. 

Directed by Ryan Coogler, the first Creed film starred Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, the son of the late Rocky antagonist Apollo, who pursues a boxing career while befriending Rocky Balboa and coming to terms with the legacy of the father he never knew. 

The Rocky franchise is about nothing so much as continuous sequels, so Creed was followed in 2018 with Creed II. The film, in which Coogler stepped out of the director’s chair and was replaced by Steven Caple, Jr., was an indirect sequel to Rocky IV, with Creed doing battle in the ring against the son of Ivan Drago. The second film had its moments but seemed more concerned with fan service and callbacks than with storytelling.

Now, with the pandemic (hopefully) nearing an end, there’s the official word of a Creed III, which will be the ninth overall film in the Rocky series, arriving 46 years after the original Rocky in 1976. 

The Hollywood trade press reported this week that the deal is done for Creed III, and that Michael B. Jordan will make his directorial debut. Keenan Coogler and Zach Baylin are writing the film, based on an outline by Ryan Coogler, the Hollywood Reporter said.

“Directing has always been an aspiration, but the timing had to be right,” Jordan said in a statement. “Creed III is that moment — a time in my life where I’ve grown more sure of who I am, holding agency in my own story, maturing personally, growing professionally, and learning from the Greats like Ryan Coogler, most recently Denzel Washington, and other top tier directors I respect. All of which sets the table for this moment.”

Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad will be back, but there’s a name missing from the Reporter story — Sylvester Stallone, who is not mentioned as an actor or in any behind-the-scenes role. Stallone was the sole writer of the first six Rocky movies and directed Rocky III, III, IV, and Rocky Balboa. He also co-wrote Creed II and was credited as a producer of the first two Creed movies. 

The movie already has a release date, November 23, 2022. 

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