Michael B. Jordan has made his intentions to carve out a fresh path for the Creed franchise clear, and it looks like the upcoming third installment is set to take that to another level. The boxing saga is a spin-off of Sylvester Stallone‘s globally hailed Rocky franchise and follows the story of Adonis “Donnie” Creed, the son of Rocky’s best friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), who dies in a heartbreaking match during Rocky IV. The first two Creed films were a formal passing of the baton from Stallone to Jordan as Rocky tutors Donnie on his journey of exploration as he steps into his father’s legacy. In a new featurette for Creed III, Jordan hinted at a new chapter for his titular hero.
The behind-the-scenes video gave audiences a stunning insight into the makings of the upcoming film, which is set to be released in IMAX. “Creed 3 is not just your typical boxing movie,” Jordan explained. “We really wanted to take advantage of the emotional journey of the characters, and put that into the ring and have it pay off in a physical way.” The Hollywood actor’s vision for bringing the pain outside of the ring into the forefront is very much reflected in the plotline for the movie.
As per the recent trailer, Donnie is at the top of his game as both a boxer and family man when his peace is disrupted by an appearance from his childhood friend Damian Andersen (Jonathan Majors). In a brief shot both men are shown as young children surrendering to the police whilst present-day Damian explains that he’s back after spending 18 years in prison. In a clear sense of obligation – or perhaps guilt – Donnie welcomes Damian into his gym only to find out he harbors a deep-rooted bitterness that his childhood “brother” was growing whilst he was behind bars. Damian’s anger sparks fury in Donnie which bleeds into an enmity that brings them face-to-face in the ring.
The upcoming boxing epic sees Jordan taking the directorial reigns from Creed II‘s Steven Caple Jr. The featurette reveals a taste of the actor’s experience stepping behind the camera. This is highlighted during several shots that see Jordan going from shooting a fighting scene with his bloody eye to jumping behind the camera and critically reviewing footage. “I’ve been living with this character for eight years,” he explained. “We laughed, cheered, cried together. A core pillar of this franchise is figuring out you really are and what’s worth fighting for. In Creed 3, I wanted to know what Adonis’ limits were. So, to be able to finally step behind the camera and continue to elevate and evolve this story, is something I’m eternally greatful for.” Jordan went on to explain that as a storyteller he really pulled from his own “personal desires and goals to shortcomings, failures, mistakes” as part of the process.
As part of the teaser, audiences were given a few extra pieces of footage that hint at the intensity packed into the storyline. The first of which sees Damian go from shadowboxing in his prison cell to overflowing with anger as he stands over the body of an opponent during a match in a goose-bump-inducing sequence. The second is a shot of Donnie’s daughter standing to her feet in fear as she appears to hesitantly watch her father fight an opponent. The scene feels like a very nostalgic nod to the same anxiety seen spawn across Rocky’s wife’s face hundreds of times. In a powerful closing statement, Jordan revealed what he is optimistic audiences will be able to take away from the movie. “I hope audiences walk away feeling inspired and have the courage to do something that you normally wouldn’t do,” he said.
Donnie and Damian go toe-to-toe in Creed III in stunning IMAX in March 2023. You can watch the featurette below.