Last month, Sylvester Stallone confirmed that one of his most famous cinematic rivals of all time will return to the big screen in the upcoming sequel to Creed. Much to the delight of old-school Rocky fans, '80s action icon Dolph Lundgren is set to reprise his famed role as Ivan Drago. While little is known about how the Siberian Bull's involvement, it's now been revealed that Lundgren has been working out tirelessly to get back into shape for the most popular character he's ever portrayed in film.
Lundgren Returns To The Ring
Without giving anything away, #DolphLundgren shared a short video of himself working out at the gym in preparation for his upcoming role in #Creed2. The Instagram video shows Lundgren getting back into shape through weight training and some good old fashioned Drago-styled punching.
Ivan Drago first appeared in Rocky IV, where he represented the Soviet Union in a boxing match against #RockyBalboa (Sylvester Stallone) of the United States of America. Known as "The Siberian Express," Drago had state of the art sports equipment on his side and was essentially a superhuman boxer.
Stallone couldn't contain his excitement upon announcing the return of his famed rival, and the actor has been hyping Drago's comeback through his social media accounts.
This is not the first time Stallone tried to bring back Drago. Originally, Drago had a cameo in Rocky Balboa, where the character was seen slowly dying of AIDS following years of steroid abuse. Rocky would have visited Drago in the hospital, and was said to have told Drago's nurse that "If he dies, he dies", reciting Drago's most famous line. The scene was written but unused in the final movie.
Due to the character's popularity, a Drago spin-off solo movie was also considered. Titled Red Glove, this would have followed Drago's fall-from-grace after his loss to Rocky. Drago would then have to fight his way back to the top from inside Soviet prisons and the Russian underworld. Red Glove was pitched, but was ultimately scrapped at an early stage.
Drago vs. Creed Jr.: The Post-Mortem Rematch Of The Century
In Rocky IV, Drago famously killed Adonis' father, heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), during an exhibition match. The central theme of #Creed is Adonis' struggle with his legacy as the illegitimate son of Apollo, and his forthcoming meeting with his father's killer is sure to set up a heated confrontation.
Drago's return is also bound to reopen old wounds in Rocky's past, since the "Italian Stallion" considered Apollo one of his best friends, even though the two started off as rivals. Most importantly, Creed 2 will finally reveal what happened to the Soviet champion after he lost to Rocky.
The film-companion Rocky: The Ultimate Guide states that Drago returned to Russia as a disgraced boxer, and was able to bounce back following the fall of the Soviet Union in the early '90s. Stallone, however, originally said that Drago committed suicide after the string of misfortunes that followed his loss. Of course, these ideas have since been rewritten to accommodate the story of Creed 2, so we'll just have to wait and see how Ivan Drago's new lore is established.
Ivan Drago only had one film appearance and spoke a total of nine lines in Rocky IV, but he remains one of the most popular and iconic characters in the franchise - and by extension, one of the most popular characters from the '80s. Given the potential for drama and resolution that comes with Drago's return, Lundgren's reprisal has given fans of Rocky and Creed a lot to look forward to.
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