I love Sylvester Stallone! I think he's an actual talent and I believe he has done work that will live for hundreds of years. Seriously. But I also think he is a self-saboteur, often following up tremendous successes with things that can only be described as truly terrible ideas. Which brings us to Creed II.
Having made $100 million domestic on a $30 million budget, Creed is a success. And it's clearly meant to launch a franchise, just as Rocky did. We can continue the story of Adonis Creed for a whole bunch of movies going forward, and I look forward to that. But only if it's done right. And Sylvester Stallone is saying things about the sequel - which appears to be a go project - that makes me worried that it could be done wrong.
The riskiest version of Creed II is the one that Stallone says Ryan Coogler, co-writer and director of the first film, has in mind. “Ryan has some ideas of going forward and backward and actually seeing Rocky and Apollo together,” Stallone revealed. “Think of ‘The Godfather 2.’ That’s what he was thinking of, which was kind of ambitious.”
That is really ambitious. Digital de-aging is getting better - see Ant-Man - but Creed II isn't going to be a blockbuster sized movie. The cost of de-aging Carl Weather and Stallone for big chunks of the movie would be very high, moving Creed II well outside of the mid-budget range that made it successful. And we are definitely talking about having Stallone and Weathers return to the roles - not only would it be weird to recast those familiar parts, Stallone says he's talked to Weathers about it.
This risky move is one that I would accept if Coogler directed Creed II, but nobody is sure that's happening. “I know Ryan is probably going to be gone for a couple years,” Stallone says, talking about Black Panther, which is likely Coogler's next film. “So there will be a quandary on: Do we work with another director and have Ryan produce, or do we wait? There’s a diminishing time acceptance of a sequel. Now they are cranking them out in a year.”
Stallone has another idea, this one actually worse: have Creed fight a big Russian. “You’ll have him face a different opponent, which I would say is a more ferocious, big Russian,” Stallone says. “You can start to meld my experiences and then you start to bring different cultures into it. And you can see what’s happening with the Russians today in America."
No, no, no. Don't remake Rocky IV. This is a bad idea. BUT! But Sly does have a good idea in there: "The complication will come with the girl’s ambition, because she’s not Adrian. She has places to go, things to see, the clock is running on her hearing.” I like the idea of Tessa Thompson's Bianca having a strong role to play, and having her be a dynamic character whose life goals are story movers. I actually would like to see a reversal of Rocky II, where Bianca's career takes off and they come into a lot of money from that while Adonis finds that his famous name and going the distance only matters so much in an era where attention spans are short as hell. Here's another shadow from which Adonis must emerge! Make it kind of the boxing version of Beyond the Lights.
What do you think? Is Creed II a good idea? Do you want to go back in time and revisit young Rocky and Apollo?