‘Creed III’ – Can A ‘Rocky’ Film Work Without Rocky?

A ‘Rocky’ movie without Rocky Balboa? Is this not akin to a ‘Jaws” movie without the shark? This is what we will get next November when ‘Creed III’ opens. Okay, the ‘Creed’ films are not actually ‘Rocky’ films, they are spin-offs. But we all know that they are, for all intents and purposes, ‘Rocky’ movies.

No disrespect to Michael B. Jordan or his character, Adonis Creed, but we went to see ‘Creed’ and ‘Creed II’ so as to catch up with the most celebrated fighter of the silver screen. We paid to see the two spin-off movies in the hope of getting more inspirational ‘Rocky” magic. And the two films delivered. But will ‘Creed III’ work as a stand-alone film, with no appearance from Balboa?

It’s a gamble Jordan is taking, no doubt. There is a good story to tell, and to continue telling, regarding the son of the late Apollo Creed, but why did we care about him in the first place? Because of Rocky Balboa. If Rocky isn’t interested enough to keep in touch with Adonis then why should we do so? There’s no way Rocky will be killed off (if anyone does that, it will be Sylvester Stallone), so it’s going to be interesting seeing how the upcoming movie explains Rocky’s absence.

Jordan, who will direct ‘Creed III,’ spoke with IGN and he spoke about Stallone’s no show in the film:

“I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn’t coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit…..there’s always going to be a little bit of Rocky with Adonis,” Jordan said. “But this is a ‘Creed’ franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around (Adonis Creed) moving forward.”

Who will train Adonis for his next fight? Will Adonis even mention Rocky in the film? Will Adonis be a better of poorer fighter, and person, without Balboa in his life? Will we care?

A ‘Rocky’ film without Rocky? Isn’t that akin to a horror film without horror, a musical without music, a comedy without jokes?

Of the entire ‘Rocky’ franchise and saga – comprising of the six originals and the two spin-offs – the ninth installment might just be the biggest underdog of them all.

Photo: Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis