Nearly 50 years after the original “Rocky” hit theaters, the classic boxing franchise keeps getting up off the mat. Ryan Coogler breathed new life into the series with 2015’s “Creed,” which followed Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa as he trained a young boxer named Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the son of his late rival Apollo Creed. The film earned strong reviews for taking the franchise in a modern direction while maintaining what people loved about the original films, and sequels were quickly planned.
When “Creed II” was released in 2018, it cemented Michael B. Jordan’s status as the face of the “Rocky” franchise moving forward. Now, the “Black Panther” star is stepping back into the ring for “Creed 3,” which is slated to hit theaters later this year. He’s also directing the film, which will mark his directorial debut.
“Lovecraft Country” star Jonathan Majors joined the franchise as Creed’s latest opponent, and it sounds like he pushed his body to the limit for the film. Majors recently spoke to Variety about the “Creed III” shoot, noting that he spent over a year working out in preparation for the role. By the end, his muscles were so large that he could not even fit into wristbands for Oscar parties. “Over time, they just got bigger and bigger,” Majors said.
But Oscar night discomfort was not the only physical sacrifice he made. Majors also revealed that he took quite a few hits on set. “I got punched in the face about 100 times,” he said. “But it’s all OK!”
Majors’ star power will be a welcome addition to “Creed 3,” considering it will be the first entry in the franchise not to feature Sylvester Stallone. In a 2021 interview, Jordan revealed that he feels it’s time for the series to truly focus on his character of Adonis Creed. “I feel like this is the ‘Creed’ franchise,” he said. “We really want fans to be interested in Adonis and what that story has to say.”
That doesn’t mean that Sylvester Stallone is done with Rocky Balboa, though. In recent years he has expressed his interest in making another sequel that features Rocky training a new fighter, and has also been pitching a “Rocky” prequel series to streaming services.
“Creed III” will be released in theaters on November 23, 2022.