Over the weekend it had seemed as though the on-screen feud between Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren‘s characters in the Rocky universe was extending to real life. Stallone had taken to social media to criticize the development of Drago, a spin-off to be centered on Lundgren‘s character Ivan Drago, and his son – Victor. While most of the criticism was directed at Rocky producer Irwin Winkle, the actor also expressed displeasure at Lundgren accepting a role in the spin-off behind his back. Lundgren has now come out to “set the record straight” clarifying that he was unaware of Stallone‘s non-involvement with the spin-off.
Stallone‘s earlier message posted to Instagram had implied that Lundgren had betrayed him by going behind his back to make the Drago spin-off. In response, Lundgren would later take to his Instagram to post a photo of himself and Stallone in a playful fist fight and used the caption section to reveal that production for the spin-off was still in its beginning phases and that concrete plans were not yet in place. “There’s no approved script, no deals in place, no director,” Lundgren wrote. Lundgren also added that he was “under the impression that my friend Sly Stallone was involved as a producer or even as an actor.” Lundgren said that the press leak of the spin-off which happened last week was an unfortunate occurrence, additionally, he called on fans, some of whom were aggrieved by Stallone‘s allegations, to relax as he was “in touch with Mr. Balboa (Stallone)” to address the issue.
Sylvester Stallone has long been at loggerheads with Rocky producer, Winkler, over rights to the Rocky franchise which he created in 1976. The actor has on several occasions addressed his lack of rights to his intellectual property, accusing Winkler and his family for constantly denying him ownership of his creation and instead making the Rocky franchise his personal family business by involving his children. Stallone previously called out Winker, asking for his rights back, stating he “really would like [to] have at least a little WHAT’s LEFT of my RIGHTS back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN – I believe That would be a FAIR gesture.” While the social media post has since been deleted, Stallone seems to remain adamant in his off-ring fight to own a percentage of his creation.
The Rocky franchise has been one of the most successful movie franchises originating from the 1970s. Stallone had sold the rights to the film producer duo of Winkler and Robert Chartoff after failed attempts at selling to studios. Stallone agreed to a deal that he would get to play the lead in the film, and in what he now deems as a naive decision, he failed to negotiate a deal to co-own rights to the movie. Rocky ultimately became his breakthrough and would spawn into a successful franchise.
A spin-off, Creed (2015) targeted at the younger generation with Michael B. Jordan in the lead has been a tremendous box office success and the producers seem to have their hopes set on replicating Creed‘s success with Drago. Stallone has been involved with the first-two Creed movies, but will not be part of the third installment due to creative differences in the plot.
Creed III is set to hit theaters on March 3, 2023.
Check out Dolph Lundgren‘s Instagram post below: