Creed III is going the distance — from 2022 to 2023. The Michael B. Jordan-directed threequel, which again stars Jordan as the fighter son of boxing legend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) and the protégé of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), is being pushed back from November 23, 2022, to March 3, 2023. Jordan is directing the film in his feature debut, which also stars Tessa Thompson, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashad, and franchise newcomer Jonathan Majors as Creed challenger Anderson Dame. It was also reported Thursday that studio MGM is developing Creed spinoff Drago, the next expansion of the long-running Rocky franchise.
The follow-up to director Ryan Coogler's Creed, which revived the Rocky franchise in 2015, and Steven Caple Jr.'s 2018 sequel Creed II, the third film began production in January in Atlanta, Georgia. Zach Baylin (King Richard, the upcoming The Crow reboot) and Keenan Coogler (Space Jam: A New Legacy) wrote the screenplay.
Stallone, who announced he was retiring the Rocky role after a ringside bow in Creed II, is not expected to appear in the film but will serve as producer alongside Jordan, Coogler, and franchise producer Irwin Winkler.
"This is probably my last rodeo," Stallone said when wrapping on Creed II. "I thought Rocky was over [with Rocky Balboa] in 2006, and I was very happy with that. And then all of a sudden this young man [Jordan] presented himself and the whole story changed. It went on to a new generation, new problems, new adventures. And I couldn't be happier, because as I step back, because my story has been told, there's a whole new world that is going to be opening up for the audience, for this generation."
After entrusting Jordan to "carry the mantle," Stallone wrote in a 2018 Instagram post, "I just want to thank everyone around the whole wide world for taking the Rocky family into their hearts for over 40 years."
He continued: "It's been my ultimate privilege to have been able to create and play this meaningful character. Though it breaks my heart, sadly all things must pass… and end. I love you kind and generous people, and the most wonderful thing of all, is that ROCKY will never die because he lives on in you."
Last year, Jordan confirmed Creed was moving forward without Stallone's Rocky in his corner.
"I think that Sly let it be known that he wasn't coming back for this one but I think, you know, his essence and his spirit… there's always going to be a little bit of Rocky within Adonis," the first-time director told IGN. "But this is a Creed franchise, and we really want to build this story and this world around him moving forward. So, it's always respect and always a sh-t-ton of love for what he's built, but we really want to push and navigate Adonis forward and the family that he created."
Creed III is now scheduled to release in theaters on March 3, 2023.