Michael B. Jordan echoes Stallone as he prepares to make directorial debut with Creed III

Thursday, March 11

By Ciarán Mather

Michael B. Jordan, arguably best known as Adonis Creed in the Rocky Balboa spin-off series Creed, will direct the third instalment in the franchise, it has been revealed.

The 34-year-old will follow in Sylvester Stallone's footsteps as he is set to take leading man and directing duties for the anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Creed II from Ryan Coogler, who directed the first two Creed films.

Coogler also directed Jordan as the villain Killmonger in Marvel's Black Panther.

Speaking on the news, Jordan, who is also known for his roles in drama films such as Fruitvale Station and Just Mercy, said: 'Directing has always been an aspiration [of mine], but the timing had to be right.' 

'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.' 

He added that all of these elements 'sets the table for this moment.'

'This franchise and in particular the themes of ‘Creed III’ are deeply personal to me. I look forward to sharing the next chapter of Adonis Creed’s story with the awesome responsibility of being its director and namesake,' he explained.

In the films, Jordan plays Adonis, the son of the late boxing champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).

Although Apollo initially got off to a bitter start with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) in the first two films, he later mentors Balboa and deep bonds are formed in Rocky III.

Sadly, Apollo was knocked out and sustained fatal injuries in a match with the Russian boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in 1985's Rocky IV, who was secretly taking performance enhancing drugs.

This motivated Rocky to train extensively and eventually succeed against the odds in beating Drago, who went back to his homeland in disgrace.

Creed II expands upon this plot point, where a vengeful Drago trains his son (Played by Romanian boxer Florian Munteanu) to fight Adonis Creed in an attempt to redeem his legacy.

Variety has since said that it is expected that Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarök) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show, Good Deeds) are expected to return for the third instalment.

It is currently unknown if Stallone will appear in the upcoming sequel.

Creed III will be written by Keenan Coogler, who is currently working on the long-awaited sequel to the Looney Tunes film Space Jam, and Zach Baylin (King Richard), with story ideas from Ryan Coogler.

The Rocky film franchise first hit the screens in 1976 and has spawned six films, along with Creed I and II in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

The first film was critically acclaimed and became the highest grossing film franchise and went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations; winning three, including Best Picture.

In related news, Coogler is reportedly working on a Disney+ television series set in Wakanda, which is the homeland of Black Panther.

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