Creed II director Steven Caple Jr. once considered including Rocky III antagonist Clubber Lang (Mr. T) in his follow-up to Ryan Coogler’s Creed.
“I’m not going to lie. There was a moment where I got pretty stingy and was thinking about Clubber Lang. I was like, ‘Dang, wouldn’t it be cool if we brought in Clubber Lang?’ And I think there was a version of this where [Michael B. Jordan] was also talking about it too. Like him having a daughter or something like that out in the West or New Mexico,” Caple told UPROXX.
“We were playing with a lot of different ideas. But no, I don’t know if Clubber Lang will come back.”
The sequel finds Adonis ‘Donny’ Johnson Creed (Jordan) once again under the tutelage of retired veteran fighter Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), who squared off against the belligerent and dangerous Lang in 1982’s Rocky III. There an unprepared and overconfident Rocky was rattled by the up-and-coming Lang before turning to legendary champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Donny’s father, for help.
In Creed II, Donny is pit against his own Clubber Lang: Viktor Drago (Florian ‘Big Nasty’ Munteanu), son of Rocky’s old opponent Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who killed Apollo in the ring in a 1985 boxing match. Rocky takes the outmatched Donny out west to train at a modest boxing camp, which would have revealed an evolved Clubber Lang — a character Caple says has comeback power.
“He’s an interesting character. And just to see where he’d be at now, where they try make him grounded and seeing where Mr. T is at. Again, nostalgia and just finding a way to bring back characters, but in 2018 and 2019 they have a more modern day level and will always be interesting,” he said.
“I love challenges like that. Trying to make Drago human. How to make Clubber Lang human. Like, where is he at today? Those are the interesting routes to go in developing characters. That’s my favorite part of character development.”
Stallone, who co-wrote Creed II with Juel Taylor, originally scripted a Lang cameo appearance into 2006’s Rocky Balboa — the then-end of the franchise — which would have seen Mr. T’s former heavyweight champion return as a ringside commentator for an aged Balboa’s bout with Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon (Antonio Tarver).
Creed II is now playing.