The ‘Creed’ franchise has grown far from its beginnings as a spin-off of the ‘Rocky’ franchise, which saw Sylvester Stallone’s titular pugilist helping to train Adonis “Donnie” Creed, the son of his old friend and rival, Apollo Creed (played in the original movies by Carl Weathers).
Through 2015’s ‘Creed’ (directed by Ryan Coogler) and 2018’s ‘Creed II’ (with Steven Caple Jr. in the director’s chair), Donnie has battled his demons, fought powerful opponents in the ring and tried to forge a family life with Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and their daughter, who has inherited her mother’s hearing difficulties.
‘Creed III’ moves the story forward a few years but also back several, as the story sees Donnie reconnecting with old friend and prodigy Damian Anderson (Jonathan Majors), who went to prison, and resents that Adonis did not (as he was involved in the incident).
Out of Jail and quietly burning with vengeance, Anderson threatens Donnie – and Adonis decides to face him in the place he knows best – the ring. And without Rocky in his life for this round, this time, the fight is truly personal.
And it’s even more personal for the man in front of the camera – who steps behind it for the first time. Michael B. Jordan, who has played Adonis since the first film, is also here the director.
“I think for me it was the perfect time,”Jordan said at a press conference for the trailer. “I finally got to this place in my career where I wanted to tell a story and not just be in front of the camera, not just execute somebody else’s vision. And having a character that I’ve played twice before, it’s been seven, eight years living with this guy. So to be able to tell a story of where I believe Adonis is at, and also at 35 years old, I had a lot to say as a young man, as a young Black man, just my life experiences and how I could actually share that, share a piece of myself with the world – through these characters and through this story. You just gotta jump in the deep end and go for it, you know?”
It was the right time, but that didn’t stop it being a giant endeavor for Jordan. “It was the most challenging thing that I’ve ever done so far by, by far, just daily pushing myself to new limits learning how to communicate and really get what’s in your head and have other people pick up on that passion, on that enthusiasm and want to execute your vision to the best of their ability.”
With Donnie’s past once more playing a big part in his present, Jordan was clear about the themes of this third movie. “I think thematically, you know, for us family is always the core, you know, family and heart. “You have to face your past and find out who you really are. You know, I think it is something that we address in this movie.”
‘Creed III’ will step into theaters on March 3rd next year.
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