MGM has released the official trailer for Rocky vs. Drago, Sylvester Stallone's upcomng director's cut of Rocky IV, which is set to be released in November. The film marked a turning point in the Rocky franchise in more ways that one, since it featured the death of Apollo Creed, and set the stage for Rocky V, which revealed that during his match with Ivan Drago, Rocky had suffered brain damage which would ultimately end his career. The character of Drago would reappear more than 30 years later, with his son serving as the antagonist as Creed II and Ivan himself coming face to face with Rocky one more time.
Rocky vs Drago was announced last August, with Stallone originally planning for the Director's Cut to hit movie screens in celebration of Rocky IV's 35th anniversary (the movie was originally released on November 27, 1985). The COVID-19 pandemic made that timetable impossible, but it seems as though the project got more ambitious as a result..
Rocky vs Drago will reportedly have several big changes to Rocky IV's theatrical cut. Carl Weathers' Apollo Creed, who died in th ering during an exhibition match against Drago, will supposedly get more attention. Rocky vs Drago will also supposedly add more to Drago's character, and do away with the robot Rocky bought for his brother-in-law Paulie (Burt Young).
You can see the trailer below.
"To even get one film made in Hollywood is close to impossible, to write, direct, produce, and star in a film that people all over the world still love 35 years later - that's what you call a supreme achievement," said Drago actor Dolph Lundgren when news of the director's cut emerged. "Sly, you're amazing. That's the truth."
Even with this new edit of the film Stallone does not appear done with the Rocky character, confirming that development on a prequel TV series continues, although his character won't be appearing in the upcoming Creed III, which is set to be directed by franchise star Michael B. Jordan.
In Rocky vs. Drago, heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Balboa accompanies his friend Apollo Creed, who will be in a match against Ivan Drago, a Russian boxer who has been scientifically trained, using high tech equipment. When Drago kills Apollo in the match, Rocky blames himself for Apollo's death, and promises to get revenge on Drago in the ring, in the name of Apollo and the United States. Against the wishes of his wife Adrian, Rocky is off to the USSR to take on Drago, and hires Apollo's former manager Duke to help him prepare for the fight. While Drago enhances his amazing punching power using high-tech equipment, Rocky toughens up under the guidance of Duke in a compound in the frozen Soviet countryside, with his mindset on destroying Drago.
You can catch the reinvented version of Rocky IV in theaters on November 11.