When Creed first landed in 2015 it sounded like it would be just another attempt by Sylvester Stallone to extend his franchises, but what came out of it was easily one of the best sports films made and a return to the Oscars for Rocky Balboa. Since then, much like the original Rocky films, the series has gotten bigger, with Creed II going full-blown Rocky IV. And now, the first Creed III trailer shows that the series is looking to possibly calm down a bit and brings things back to the family and characters that made the first film work so well.
This time around Michael B. Jordan is stepping into the director’s chair for the film, having to direct himself as Adonis Creed alongside returning cast members like Tessa Thompson as Adonis’ girlfriend (probably now wife) Bianca Taylor, Phylicia Rashad as Adonis’ mother Mary Anne Creed, and Florian Munteanu returning as Viktor Drago in order to kind of pull an Apollo Creed move and help support his former boxing rival. Of course, the big new casting (and holy crap does he look swole) is Jonathan Majors playing the role of Anderson Dame, Creed’s new rival, who happens to have some connections to his past.
Creed III obviously jumps quite a bit forward in the Adonis Creed timeline as we see his daughter being much older. However, Jordan said at a presser yesterday a lot of the film is about going back to your roots and confronting the past, so it seems we’ll be unpacking some more of the Creed legacy while delving into actually being a good father.
“I think thematically … for us, family is always the core, you know, family and heart,” said Jordan. “You have to face your past and find out who you really are … Remembering where you come from I think is really important in this one as well. And sometimes settling debts, you know, I think settling debts and being accountable for your actions is something that we wanted to look at as well.”
Boxing movies are a tricky business to nail, and it’s not clear from the Creed III trailer if Jordan has pulled it off. The magic of the first film came not just from its quality screenplay but from Ryan Coogler‘s incredible direction that rooted the movie in the neighborhood and people before delivering some of the tensest boxing matches since the first film. A trailer can’t really show us if Jordan can do the same, but this one does get the blood pumping pretty easily. We’ll have to see if the pieces can fit back together or if this “return to roots” film lands like Rocky V did and ends up as a joke.
Of course, the major thing missing from the Creed III trailer, and from the film as a whole, is Rocky Balboa himself. Stallone has confirmed that he did not return for this movie, though there doesn’t seem to be any ill will around it. The actor has said that he willingly bowed out of the film as he didn’t think there was any place for him in it as the movies head in a different direction and Creed becomes the central focus.
Creed III will release on March 3, 2023.