Sylvester Stallone is staying out of the ring. The actor, 74, will not be reprising his iconic role of Rocky Balboa in the upcoming Creed III, his rep told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. Stallone's representative didn't share any details about the actor's decision but confirmed he would not be appearing in the upcoming movie, scheduled to be released on Nov. 23, 2022.
Stallone previously revisited his Rocky role in the first two Creed films, where the character he made famous with the 1976 film acted as a mentor to the son of his former rival, Apollo Creed, Michael B. Jordan's character Adonis "Donnie" Johnson Creed. Fans suspected Stallone might have made his exit from the franchise when he told Collider in 2019 he was "done with Creed" because of something else he had planned.
"I have a thing that..it's politically, you would say, vital right now. It's that, too. It's right on the edge," Stallone told the outlet at the time. "Also, it deals also with a foreign country. Well, you've heard a little bit about it and they want it badly. Yeah and it's like 'Oh. Should I do this?' Because Rocky? Making a Rocky film. Like Michael [B. Jordan] goes 'I wanna direct Creed.' I go, 'Think very carefully about this," cause you will now have two years of no life and no guarantee it's gonna be a hit.'"
Jordan will make his directorial debut with Creed III, also starring in and producing the film. "Directing has always been an aspiration, but the timing had to be right," Jordan said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter after the announcement was made. "Creed III is that moment — a time in my life where I've grown more sure of who I am, holding agency in my own story, maturing personally, growing professionally, and learning from the greats like Ryan Coogler, most recently Denzel Washington, and other top tier directors I respect. All of which sets the table for this moment."
"This franchise and in particular the themes of Creed III are deeply personal to me," the PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive winner added. "I look forward to sharing the next chapter of Adonis Creed's story with the same responsibility of being its director and namesake." Also expected to appear in the movie are Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad, who starred in the first two films as Bianca Taylor and Mary Anne Creed, respectively.