Sylvester Stallone hints at the return of Ivan Drago in ‘Creed’ sequel

creed 2

Director Ryan Coogler successfully relaunched the Rocky franchise with 2015’s Creed, earning original franchise star Sylvester Stallone an Academy Award nomination for his return to the role of former heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Balboa and effectively rebooting the series with new star Michael B. Jordan.

Judging by some recent social-media activity from Stallone, Rocky might not be the only boxer to return in a sequel to Creed.

There has been little word on the Creed sequel over the last year or so, and the initial November 2017 release date planned for the sequel will likely pass without a film in production. However, Stallone recently began posting some hints on Instagram — via a series of photos from past installments of the franchise — about the narrative direction the Creed sequel might take Jordan’s young boxer, Adonis Creed.

The hints began with a June 25 photo from the set of 1985’s Rocky IV featuring Stallone and co-star Dolph Lundgren, who played the intimidating Russian boxer, Ivan Drago.

Really like this RARE picture… ROCKY making DRAGO'S life difficult between takes!!! #CREED 2 #MGM @dolphlundgren

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Stallone captioned the photo with the hashtag “#CREED2” — a decision that ignited speculation that Lundgren’s Ivan Drago could play a role in the sequel to Creed.

Given that Ivan Drago killed Adonis Creed’s father, former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (famously played by Carl Weathers) during a boxing match in Rocky IV, it stands to reason that the specter of the Russian pugilist looms large over Adonis’ life. Whether this means a future film could pit Adonis against an aging Ivan Drago or — in keeping with the generational theme of Creed — against Ivan’s own son has become the subject of much debate among fans of the franchise.

And a subsequent photo posted by Stallone only added more fuel to that speculative fire.

Directing APOLLO AND DRAGO , The two best "cinema "boxers that ever lived!… Maybe it's time to try to again?

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“Directing APOLLO AND DRAGO, The two best “cinema “boxers that ever lived!… Maybe it’s time to try to again?” read Stallone’s caption for a photo posted a few days later.

Stallone followed that up by making his intentions even more clear in a photo posted July 3 featuring a photoshopped image of Ivan and Adonis facing off in the ring, with Rocky looking on from the other side of the ropes.

“Here’s a chance to stretch your imagination,” wrote Stallone in the photo’s caption. “HISTORY WILL ALWAYS REPEAT ITSELF IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, JUST GOT TO BE READY! … Sins of the Father…. #creed2 # agentnickyc #rockybalboa.”

While Stallone made it clear that such a matchup remained exclusively in the realm of imagination at this point, the franchise star and producer did not shy away from suggesting that the notion of “sins of the father” might play heavily into the story for the Creed sequel. And with Stallone’s boxer already having returned to the ring late in life in 2006’s Rocky Balboa to take on a much younger opponent, there is already a precedent for such a generation-spanning fight.

At this point, there is no official confirmation that a Creed sequel is being developed, but Stallone’s updates certainly suggest that the franchise might be far from over.