Michael B. Jordan explains why Rocky isn't in Creed 3

Tessa Thompson and Michael B. Jordan in Creed III
(Image credit: Eli Ade/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Warner Bros)

Creed 3 star and director Michael B. Jordan has revealed why Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa isn't in the movie, the character's first absence from the franchise since its inception in 1976. 

"First of all, Sly and Rocky's DNA is through this entire franchise," Jordan told HOT97. "You can't have these movies [without that]. That underdog spirit, I think, connects the underdog in all of us. I think what we love about these movies so much is that we see somebody that's going through hardships, that's able to rise from the ashes and reach the mountaintop, and we connect with that. For us, we connect with characters that can do the same, and that's what we want to do with Adonis Creed."

Whereas the first Creed movie had a lot of focus on Rocky and Apollo's relationship and Creed 2 was about Adonis forming his own legacy away from his father's shadow, Jordan emphasized that he wanted the third installment in the trilogy to be all Adonis.

"I want Adonis to stand on his own two feet," he continued. "In order to do that, we had to go into the past. What were those transformative years, those childhood traumas that shaped [Adonis] today? I think the room for this story was really about Adonis Creed moving forward with his family, and having him move forward. That's kind of how we rolled out the story for this one."

The childhood trauma in question concerns Damian Anderson, who's played by franchise newcomer Jonathan Majors. Damian and Adonis met while living in a group home in Los Angeles as teenagers, but their lives went in very different directions after one fateful night in 2002. Reunited in the present day, Adonis quickly learns that you cannot outrun the past.

Creed 3 is in cinemas now. For more viewing inspiration, fill out your watch list with our picks of the best upcoming movies on the way in 2023 and beyond. 

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.