Sylvester Stallone Reveals Why He Didn’t Return as Rocky Balboa for ‘Creed 3’

by Alex Falls

Sylvester Stallone built an immense career playing iconic characters. Perhaps none of them are as well-known as Rocky Balboa from the long-running Rocky franchise.

Stallone originated the famed boxer by writing and starring in the 1976 film. The original Rocky introduced the world to the hard-nosed club fighter from Philidelphia who gets a once-in-a-lifetime shot at the champ. Rocky was produced for a minimal $1 million budget, but went on to become a massive hit at the box office and spawned the boxing franchise that still carries on to this day.

The beloved movie series received the Hollywood reboot treatment in 2015 with Creed, a modern take on the boxing drama revolving around the son of original champion Apollo Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan. Stallone reprised his role as Rocky acting as the mentor for the new generation of boxers.

Creed became a huge hit with fans calling it a worthy follow-up to the original film franchise. It was so successful, it launched a series of its own. Creed III is about to enter production. However, Stallone will be sitting this one out for the first time in the history of the franchise.

Creed III is scheduled to release in American theaters on Nov. 23, 2022. It will be the ninth film overall in the Rocky franchise and the third to revolve around Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s former rival, Apollo Creed. Michael B. Jordan will make his directorial debut in addition to playing the titular role.

Stallone Decides to Step Away From Rocky

Stallone announced last year he would not be returning for another round as Rocky in Creed III. He recently spoke to Metro UK to reveal why he made the choice to step away from his most well-known role.

“Well it’s different because actually, I bowed out of that one, I just didn’t know if there was any part for me,” Stallone said. “It takes it in a different direction. I wish them well and keep punching.”

Stallone remains involved with the franchise even though he won’t be appearing as Rocky in the upcoming sequel. He still serves as a producer on Creed III and was involved in the writing process with screenwriters Zach Baylon and Keenan Coogler. Stallone said the story is “really interesting” and features a significant departure for the franchise. Plot details remain hard to come by ahead of release.

The Rocky actor is still a busy man even at the age of 75. He is currently wrapping up his first starring role on TV in the upcoming series Tulsa King. See Stallone drop a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s production. Tulsa King will premiere on Paramount+ on Nov. 13, just a short time before Creed III steps into the ring and opens in theaters.