The Rocky franchise was rebooted to much critical acclaim and box office success with Creed, and now Sylvester Stallone has come up with an idea for Creed 2 that will be music to the ears of anyone who loves the cheesiest of all Rocky movies – the Cold War-themed Rocky IV. Stallone shared his ideas on Instagram along with some nostalgic memories of shooting Rocky IV with Dolph Lundgren as the hulking, seemingly invincible Ivan Drago.
In Creed, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky became a supporting character while Michael B. Jordan took center-stage as Adonis Creed, the son of Rocky’s deceased opponent-turned-friend Apollo Creed (played in the Rocky movies by Carl Weathers). As Rocky fans remember, Apollo Creed met his demise in Rocky IV at the hands of the steely Russian Drago – and despite the danger to himself Rocky climbed back into the ring to fight Drago, in the name of both personal revenge and American exceptionalism.
In an Instagram post, Sylvester Stallone teased his idea for a Creed sequel that would see Adonis Creed, fresh off his triumph over Ricky Conlan in the first film, facing off against the man who killed his father. Rocky, now fully recovered from the cancer that almost took his life in Creed, is there to support his protege Adonis as he battles Drago (at one point Stallone indicated he would not be back for Creed 2, but maybe if they make his movie he will change his mind). Stallone has raised the idea of a Rocky IV-like Creed follow-up before, suggesting the film would see Creed squaring off against “a big Russian.”
When Rocky fought Drago in Rocky IV, America was still in a Cold War mode, and Hollywood was in the middle of releasing a whole string of largely-jingoistic films touting America’s strength in the face of the ever-present Soviet threat. Rocky IV emerged as something of a Reagan-era classic, a shameless pro-American rouser that unabashedly cast Rocky’s fight against Drago as a metaphoric battle between American values and a dehumanizing Communist ideology. Watched today, Rocky IV is best appreciated as a wildly silly artifact of the ’80s, filled with classic tropes of the decade including multiple musical training montages.
With Russia back in the news, and firmly back on the enemies list for a lot of people, having Creed fight Drago would take on a significance beyond the personal meaning arising from the son avenging the death of the father. Those political overtones would no doubt make Creed 2 at least mildly controversial – and if they were handled as bluntly as in Rocky IV, they would also make the film unintentionally comedic.
Given the kind of shape Dolph Lundgren is still in these days, as demonstrated by videos posted from the set of Aquaman, it seems he would be physically able to pull off playing an older but just as dangerous Drago. It would take a pretty good script to pull off a story that pitted Adonis Creed, a character who came off as totally real in Ryan Coogler’s Creed, against a character who was conceived as a cartoon figure meant to represent everything inhuman, robotic and anti-American in the now-defunct Communist system, as imagined by Stallone. Michael B. Jordan has said Creed 2 needs a real villain, and Ivan Drago would at least be that.