'Creed III': Why Sylvester Stallone and Rocky Balboa Are Missing From Latest Film

If you head out to see Michael B. Jordan's directorial debut with Creed III this weekend, you'll likely notice the absence of Rocky Balboa from the story. His connection to Adonis Creed should still be intact, Sylvester Stallone created the Rocky franchise, and the films had been well received to this point.

But as the folks over at Film School Rejects point out, Stallone is absent of his own accord while still remaining a producer on the film. While Creed III is reported to stand on its own away from Rocky, Stallone's absence has a deeper cause than these new turns.

Stallone would become a producer in the franchise for the first time with the original Creed, also earning a Golden Globe nomination for his take on Rocky Balboa as a mentor to the son of former friend Apollo Creed. But the big issue boiled to the surface, with Stallone talking to Variety in 2019.

"Every word, every syllable, every grammatical error was all my fault," Stallone told the outlet. "It was shocking that it never came to be, but I was told, 'Hey, you got paid, so what are you complaining about?' I was furious." As Stallone adds, you don't want to take the golden goose and knock it out.

It would be a few years until Stallone opened up again, this time highlighting his main issue: producer Irwin Winkler and the ownership of the Rocky franchise. "After Irwin controlling Rocky for over 47 years, and now Creed, I really would like to have at least a little [of] WHAT'S LEFT of my rights back, before passing it on to ONLY YOUR CHILDREN," Stallone wrote in 2022.

The next time this bubbles up is in July 2022, after a new spinoff was teased titled Drago. Producer Irwin Winkler became the main target of Stallone's ire, with him and his children taking the blame. "Another Heartbreaker... Just found this out... ONCE AGAIN , this PATHETIC 94 year old PRODUCER and HIS MORONIC USELESS VULTURE CHILDREN, Charles And David, are once again picking clean THE BONES of another wonderful character I created without even telling me," Stallone admitted. "I APOLOGIZE to the FANS, I never wanted ROCKY characters to be exploited by these parasites."

He also admitted back in November that he'll never watch Creed III despite his connection to the series. Speaking with Jessica Shaw on SiriusXM, Stallone said he had cut ties with the franchise and wouldn't be involved while Winkler was involved.

"You can't make peace with someone who's been so, so nefarious, in my opinion," Stallone told the radio show. So don't expect to see Stallone in the ring or back as Rocky anytime soon.