The Rocky Balboa film series is going strong, 40 years after its creation. Following a decade-long hiatus, the franchise returned stronger than ever as it handed the lead over to a new fighter in Ryan Coogler's Creed.
That film focused on Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed, as he's mentored by Rocky himself to become a new champion. Following an astounding critical and financial reception, Warner Bros. gave Creed 2 the green light.
Little is known about the film, however. Fortunately, the frustrating cloak of mystery is slowly lifting, because we just learned that a classic Rocky villain is making his triumphant return to the franchise through the highly-anticipated sequel: Ivan Drago.
Earlier in July, Rocky creator #SylvesterStallone began sharing images from #RockyIV, shining the spotlight on Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. One specific post showed Adonis Creed and Drago coming face-to-face:
The caption read:
At the time, I thought it was just a jokey tease to get fans' hype going for the sequel. But as it turns out, that wasn't the case, because Ivan Drago has seemingly been confirmed for Creed 2.
Stallone recently took to Instagram to share a picture of his finished notes for what will become the #Creed2 script:
The notes are difficult to read, but the actor made sure to tease fans with one specific detail in the description:
Holy cow. Ivan Drago is coming back to the franchise.
Could Drago Work As A Character In 'Creed 2'?
It's worth mentioning that Drago doesn't necessarily have to be #AdonisCreed's new sparring partner. He could have had children, who could technically act as the new baddies. However, I wanted to put the question of who'll be going up against Creed aside, and imagine for a second that Drago will indeed be the one taking up the boxing gloves once again. (If you have any doubts about that happening because of #DolpLundgren's age, please take a look at the man's biceps.)
Ignoring the excitement of the powerhouse returning to the big screen, would he work in the movie? There are both bad and good possible outcomes. The bad one is that Rocky IV was essentially a caricature, and Drago was a big part of that. He was the cliché representation of everything bad in the world. Also, I'm pretty sure it's implied he's a cyborg.
On the other side of the spectrum is #Creed. The film was a more mature exploration of the Rocky franchise, with a gritty look at the life of an up-and-coming boxer more like the original movie. That tone might not merge seamlessly with Drago.
With that said, there's also a way to avoid that tonal imbalance because #IvanDrago could work thanks to a single, pivotal aspect: He murdered Apollo Creed, Adonis's father. That makes for a powerful emotional connection to our protagonist.
Adonis grew up bitter and rebellious in part due to feeling like an outcast, and a large part of that was that he grew up without a father. Drago was responsible for taking his father away from him, so in a way, the baddie is responsible for his life-long bitterness and insecurities. In fact, Drago murdering Apollo was mentioned in Creed.
Taking that into consideration, if handled properly, that dynamic could shed the character's goofy nature, and open him up as the source for heavy drama, that could continue the tone set by Creed. Ultimately, the character has equal chances of not fitting, as he has to be a great addition to the film. I won't lie though, seeing what #RyanCoogler, Sylvester Stallone and #MichaelBJordan did with the first movie, I have complete faith in what they're planning to bring to the screen.
Creed 2 doesn't have a release date just yet, but with a plot already set, production could be starting real soon.
What do you think about Drago popping up in Creed 2, and do you think he'll mesh with the more realistic tone established by Creed? Let me know in the comments!