Why is Sylvester Stallone missing?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 14: Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan perform the 'Creed II' New York Premiere on November 14, 2018 at AMC Loews Lincoln Square in New York.  (Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan attend the 2018 Creed II New York Premiere. (Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

Sylvester Stallone is synonymous with Rocky Balboa. Even more so than Rambo and Stallone. The story of how Rocky molded onto a wing and a prayer and lifted Stallone out of poverty equals the underdog story the movie is proud of. It is miraculous that we are still watching the ongoing epic on the big screen, even after fifty years, and it is surprising that the quality has been preserved.

With the upcoming Creed III (in theaters and IMAX from March 3rd), the Rocky series will enter uncharted waters as the first movie in the series to not feature Stallone as Rocky.

Referring to his absence in the film, Stallone said, “What was Michael? [B Jordan] It tells a very personal story, but there is no room for me. In other words, about it [character Adonis Creed’s] about his family, his dilemma, and his journey that has nothing to do with boxing.

“I don’t want to give anything away, but that’s a completely different view from Rocky’s.”

Read more: From Rocky to Creed III: The story so far

Stallone’s relationship with the series is strained at best, and given that we left Rocky in Creed II, reconciled with his son Robert, and met his grandson Logan, it’s not hard to imagine that the narrative of the third movie would tell him that he had decided to stay. With Robert and make up for lost time.

In Creed III, Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed and Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson.  (Warner Bros./MGM)

In Creed III, Michael B. Jordan plays Adonis Creed and Jonathan Majors as Damian Anderson. (Warner Bros./MGM)

But behind the scenes, there is something different. Despite playing Rocky eight times, writing seven films and directing four, Stallone actually owns very little of the series.

When Stallone wrote the script and sold it to play the lead, he made just $75,000 for both acting and writing, and yet the movie was a huge success. However, the rights to the characters belong to producer Irwin Winkler.

49th ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS - Show Coverage - Release Date: March 28, 1977. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images) IRWIN WINKLER;SYLVESTER STALLONE;ROBERT CHARTOFF

Irwin Winkler, Sylvester Stallone and Robert Chartoff at the 1977 Academy Awards. (Getty Images)

Winkler has produced every film in the series and, at 91, is still producing. He, along with producer Robert Chartoff (who died in 2015), are the owners of the series and the names, a fact that Stallone is clearly uncomfortable with. Speaking to Variety in 2019, Stallone stated that he had nothing but homage to the late Chartoff, but was angry at Winkler and his sons for not giving him more of the show.

In a Variety interview, Stallone states that when he confronted Winkler at the time of Rocky IV’s release about not having an equity stake, he was told “Hey, you got your money, so why are you complaining” followed by “I was furious”.

Read more: Sylvester Stallone hits hard on ‘parasite’ Rocky producer

Stallone also said there were fewer films than expected, thanks to the producers’ tight control of the series. “There would be at least three more Rockies without Winkler,” wrote an Instagram post mocking Winkler’s son David (who is also one of the producers of the Creed films).

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  (C) Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in a scene from MGM/UA: Rocky IV (1985).  Synopsis: Rocky Balboa proudly holds the world heavyweight championship, but a new rival has emerged: Drago, a 1.80-metre, 261-pound fighter with the backing of the Soviet Union.  Ref: LMK110-J7060-260421 Provided by LMKMEDIA.  Editorial Only.  Landmark Media is not the copyright holder of these Film or TV photos, it only provides a service for well-known Media outlets.  pictures@lmkmedia.com

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in a scene from Rocky IV. (LMKMEDIA/Alamy)

Looking back, Creed director Ryan Coogler mentioned that he was initially turned down by Stallone when he offered Creed, perhaps because of Stallone’s reluctance to work with Winkler once again, but was won over by Coogler’s enthusiasm and story.

Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Creed; This is a rare success for a sequel and her first nomination since being nominated for the lead role in Rocky. This clearly encouraged him to write the sequel in 2018 and at some point also consider directing the film.

Read more: Stallone says Rocky has ‘zero ownership’

Since then, Stallone has talked about the idea for an epilogue film to see Rocky train a young Mexican immigrant in a story he describes as “very, very timely”. He also talked about his desire for a Rocky prequel television series.

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B Jordan in Creed II.  (MGM)

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B Jordan in Creed II. (MGM)

Things got worse when a spin-off focusing on Rocky IV’s villain Ivan Drago and Creed II’s son Viktor was announced without consulting Stallone, with both projects stalled due to Stallone’s deteriorating relationship with the Winklers. . It’s clear Stallone doesn’t want to work with the producer, who he thinks has prevented him from having anything to show during his time with the show.

Michael B. Jordan, both the director and star of Creed III, also decided to push the story forward and move Adonis out of Rocky’s shadow. That doesn’t mean Stallone has stepped down from the show, he’s still producing the film, and he read the script from Zach Baylin and Keenan Coogler and called it “really interesting”.

Read more: How did Rocky reflect the life of Sylvester Stallone?

Stallone has remained open to collaborating again should Winkler leave the picture, and considering the producer is in his 90s, that will likely happen sooner or later, but it’s not yet clear whether a deal will be made with Winkler’s. sons and Stallone and what will happen to the series after Creed III is released.

Creed III is in theaters and in IMAX from March 3, 2023. Watch the trailer below.

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